Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has instructed the House Urban Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Carol Alvarado of Houston, to study and make recommendations on several housing and fair housing issues.
Speaker Straus’ charges to the committee:
House Committee on Urban Affairs
1. Study the effectiveness and efficiency of current programs in Texas as well as best practices to determine how to decrease the risk and mitigate the impact of wildfires, floods, and other natural hazards in the wildland-urban interface. Examine the duties, performance, and jurisdictions of water districts, municipalities, Emergency Services Districts, other similar districts, and state offices like the Fire Marshal and Extension Services. Evaluate current regulations and identify best practices. Recommend approaches for hazard mitigation and response to natural disasters. (Joint charge with the House Committee on County Affairs)
2. Identify and address potential gaps in cities’ cybersecurity policy and ensure that personal information held by cities and other municipal entities is secure.
3. Examine whether changes are needed to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs’s (TDHCA) low-income tax credit program to ensure compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs et al. v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., et al. on fair housing in Texas.
4. Review existing housing programs and policies in Texas to determine how to best comply with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rules.
5. Monitor and evaluate the availability of low-income housing in the State of Texas. Identify best practices to ensure that the agencies and local providers receiving state or federal funds for low-income housing are maximizing the number of units of housing available to Texans who need this program.
6. Investigate the operation and regulation, including a review of standards, monitoring, and enforcement, of boarding homes in municipalities and unincorporated areas of counties. Identify communities that have adopted local standards, and review procedures for investigating and closing unlicensed facilities that are providing services which require state licensure. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Human Services)
7. Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies, including the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementing of relevant legislation passed by the 84th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee should:
a. consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens;
b. identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate;
c. determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and
d. identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs.