This GIS mapping tool will be capable of locating CDBG, HOME, LIHTC and disaster recovery projects and provide information on the state’s housing needs over a 10-year period. Advocates believe the database will be useful in tracking which communities have historically been most served by federal resources and how that correlates with existing housing needs. “Local decisions about the allocation of federal funds are difficult to trace and we are concerned that funds are not going to the right place: to the most vulnerable and communities of greatest need,” says John Henneberger, Co-Director of TxLIHIS.
Maps of resource allocation within the past 10 years will also provide planners with valuable information to devise city and regional plans that promote long-term sustainability in communities with the greatest housing needs. “Quality data is vital to the work of community developers and affordable housing advocates. It is our hope that the Texas system will lay the groundwork for other states as well as the U.S. government to provide multiple datasets, such as needs-based data and resource allocation data over extended periods of time, placed on one system,” says Mr. Henneberger. Despite recent plans to consolidate TDHCA and TDRA operations and, eventually, eliminate TDHCA within a year (see Memo, 2/25), both agencies expect to have the online GIS mapping system available to the public mid-2012.
In the meantime, TxLIHIS is taking this opportunity to engage its supporters and users of this data system to find out how they feel it should be used, designed, and implemented as they monitor the state’s progress. “Citizen participation is incredibly important when local governments fail to execute programs properly or misappropriate federal funding. It’s about accountability, and we are hopeful that this tool will improve local government decision-making on how federal resources will be spent and who will have access to them,” says Mr. Henneberger.
For more information, contact John Henneberger, Co-Director of the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service at email@example.com. Please visit their websites at www.texashousing.org or www.texashousers.net.