Once every twelve years (or so) the Sunset Advisory Commission examines most state agencies. The Commission “questions the need for each agency, looks for potential duplication of other public services or programs, and considers new and innovative changes to improve each agency’s operations and activities.”
The last time the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs’ (TDHCA) went through a full sunset review (in 2000), it was a troubled agency. The Sunset staff report found “key problems […] regarding the Department’s failure to allocate resources to meet the State’s most pressing housing needs” and “the Department is continually challenged over its lack of responsiveness to the public.” This resulted in SB 322, which contained significant changes to TDHCA’s governing statute, including 81 provisions requiring action by TDHCA.
This year TDHCA is again up for review. TDHCA has already submitted its “self evaluation report,” and sunset staff are currently gathering information for the staff report to the Commission on the department’s activities.
Public Testimony on that report will be taken at the Sunset Commission meetings November 16 and 17, 2010, and the Commission will make its decision regarding the TDHCA on December 15 and 16, 2010. This decision will result in a “Sunset Bill” during the 2011 legislative session to codify the commission’s action.
Over the last six months a group of stakeholders in the activities of TDHCA have been working towards adopting shared recommendations on ways to improve TDHCA. These recommendations were submitted to the Sunset Commission staff last week.
Over the next two weeks we’ll be highlighting the working group’s recommendations here at Texas Housers.