Housing: The Newest Utility?

Governor’s office released their budget yesterday.   Their proposed solution to the growing family homeless population in Texas?  Flatline not only the “Homeless and Housing Services” budget, but eliminate the entire Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

The exact proposal:

“Consolidate the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and its functions to the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation, Public Utility Commission, and Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Additionally, the state should transfer $4 million for veterans housing programs under the Veteran’s Land Board. This would save $12.2 million in general revenue in addition to the reductions proposed by the Legislature.”

Here, let me just say this:  I’ve been trying to write a blog post for last hour that takes this proposal seriously, and I can’t.  Putting the State’s housing functions at the regulator of Electricity markets and a private housing non-profit with a staff of 14 makes no sense.

Eliminating TDHCA has been considered before.  In fact, the Sunset Commission just spent a year studying the issue.  The conclusion? “The State Has a Continuing Need for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.”

‘Nuf said.

Seriously?

Sometimes things cross my desk I don’t even know exactly how to comment on them in polite company:

H.R.5369 : “A BILL To amend the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 to exempt manufactured and modular housing retailers from the requirements of such Act, and for other purposes.”

If you missed the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act, (aka the SAFE Act), it was the provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 aimed at enhancing consumer protection and reducing fraud on loans secured by a dwelling.

H.R. 5369 is titled the “Manufactured Housing Licensing Clarification Act of 2010.”

What is it clarifying, exactly?   That there is no need to reduce fraud in their sales process?  That the purchasers of these homes don’t deserve consumer protection?  That manufactured homes aren’t dwellings?