Texas Housers Houston co-director Chrishelle Palay appeared on Houston Matters, the public affairs radio show from Houston Public Media, to discuss how NIMBY opposition keeps subsidized housing out of high opportunity neighborhoods. Listen to the entire segment below, starting at the 17:50 mark:
Chrishelle said that the recent efforts to block affordable housing development in suburban Tomball are part of a pattern of exclusion, in the Houston area and around the state, toward subsidized housing in more affluent, predominantly white neighborhoods. As many recent incidents have made clear, much of the opposition to subsidized developments is rooted in racial biases and stereotypes about the tenants of subsidized housing, who are mostly people of color.
“It’s really disturbing for us when you hear comments about how these residents are going to be ‘thugs’ and ‘riff raff’ and ‘ghetto,'” Chrishelle told Houston Matters‘ Maggie Martin. “It’s assumed that folks who use housing vouchers are lazy, bums, et cetera. In most cases, that’s the furthest from the truth. We’re talking about people who are teachers aides, cafeteria workers, mail clerks, single mothers.”
Chrishelle also discussed her public testimony at a contentious community meeting around a proposed mixed-income development in the Galleria area, ugly instances of bias against low income tenants in McKinney and Dallas, and how overcoming NIMBY opposition to provide affordable housing options in high opportunity areas makes an enormous difference for families.