Truth & Rumors: Low Income Housing

RUMOR: “The City of College Station is subsidizing low-income housing through federal grants.”

FALSE : The city is not subsidizing low-income housing using federal funds.

FACTS: The City of College Station supports non-profit partners constructing new housing for income eligible applicants. That means this program is not funded through federal stimulus bills or grants. The City of College Station previously used the federal HOME Investment Partnership Grant (HOME) grant to directly fund new home construction through the New Construction Program, but that program has been retired.

The city has five homes for sale, four of which were constructed in the past year. These houses are available only at the appraised value, and the asking price has never been lowered. To purchase one of these homes, the applicant must acquire a private mortgage that meets the applicable underwriting requirements. The city’s community development programs do not offer free rides; the city offers down payments for these homes in the form of a zero percent, deferred loan of $14,999.

Applicants at the upper range of the income limits can afford these homes. For example, a family of four can make no more than $45,600. City staff and a professional realtor have been aggressively marketing these homes, but unfortunately, the current housing market makes the sale of any home a difficult task.

Homes constructed through the New Construction Program have no detrimental effect on nearby property values because they were constructed under all applicable building regulations, including neighborhood and HOA standards. Homeownership is a way for families to build wealth and have pride in ownership, which ultimately enhances neighborhoods and the entire community. It is much preferred over rental in anyone’s neighborhood.

Along with other cities with more than 50,000 people, College Station receives federal grant funds including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the HOME Investment Partnership Grant (HOME). These grants are used to encourage the expansion and accessibility of human services, expand and improve public facilities and infrastructure, and to expand economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents. Additional goals include providing for an adequate supply of safe and affordable housing and expanding homeownership opportunities.

SOURCE: City of College Station Economic and Community Development.

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