Local organization asks Texas lawmakers for $5 billion to fund more affordable housing

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Housing experts said home prices continued to soar while the median wage remained the same. Housing organizations across the state are calling on the state of Texas to donate $5 billion for more affordable housing.

“We don’t see tent cities under the freeway, or tent cities in Washington Park full of tents, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist,” said Zoraima Diaz-Penida, director of the political innovation to the affordable housing organization, Come Dream. Come Build (CDCB).

Diaz said homelessness exists in the Rio Grande Valley, though it usually goes unnoticed because many who cannot afford housing live with other family members.

“For housing displacement not to be as visible in this community, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist,” Diaz said.

Diaz explained in August 2020 that the median price of a home in Cameron County was $174,000, but today that price has gone up.

“Last month in August, the median selling price of a home was $240,000 in Cameron County,” Diaz said.

To address the housing crisis, the CDCB joined efforts with other Texas organizations and drafted a proposal to Texas lawmakers.

“To suggest that they spend $5 billion, to allocate $5 billion of the total $15.8 billion US bailout on affordable housing across the state of Texas,” Diaz said.

This money will also go towards helping the homeless and providing more housing assistance to those who need it.

Diaz said providing more homebuyers with affordable homes will meet both long-term and short-term goals.

“Because individuals buying a home will continue to pay property taxes on that home in the future,” Diaz said. “But also to provide an opportunity to create more affordable rental housing and affordable homeownership.”

To date, Diaz said pending evictions are a growing concern, but Come Dream. Come build. said they continue to provide rental assistance with Cameron County.

“Cameron County’s Emergency Rent Assistance Program, to date, has administered $2 million in rent and utility assistance, again throughout Cameron County,” said Diaz.

Visit Come dream. Come build to learn how to apply for rental assistance in Cameron County.

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