Information about a $25,000 grant from the Southeast Texas Housing Finance Corporation to the Liberty County Housing Corporation (LCHC) was presented to Liberty County Commissioners Court on Tuesday. The grant will fund a study to identify affordable housing needs in the community, according to Ryan Daniel, president of LCHC, a finance arm to the Liberty County Housing Authority (LCHA).
“We will use the study to decide where we need more available housing and to help us get bank financing for our projects,” Daniel said. “We can also issue bonds that are asset-based. We do not tax citizens.”
Money borrowed by LCHC for projects is paid by grants, development of property and rental payments to the Housing Authority, he added.
“We borrow money based on the credit of the Housing Authority but we are separate from the Housing Authority,” Daniel said.
With growth moving into Liberty County, affordable and decent housing may be tougher to find, particularly residents living on modest incomes, according to Daniel.
“There will be more competition for houses. There might be newer stock but it could be more expensive. If someone is living in a house now that has $800 a month rent, they could see rents of $1,000 a couple of years down the road,” he said. “When you have growth coming, it’s going to make housing stock rise and will hamper the ability of people who have always lived here to find clean and decent housing. It will make it less affordable for them if they are already on the bubble.”
Once the study is complete, the LCHC board will determine what projects it can afford and those that will benefit the most people. Daniel suspects it will identify a need for affordable housing for seniors, veterans, disabled, police and teachers, and a need for housing in rural areas of the county.
“We have seniors living in places that would make you want to cry,” he said. “I also know that people, particularly in Hardin, Hull and Daisetta, have a difficult time finding housing because there isn’t a lot of stock available.”