Earlier today, Chelsea Callahan at the Double-Wide put out the call via Facebook, inviting friends and fans to a public hearing at 6 tonight in the downtown Central Library auditorium. Callahan wrote that the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs will be "voting to approve a location for a new homeless shelter in our neighborhood" -- at 3800 Willow St., to be specific, at the Commerce Street intersection and within a few blocks of 500 Exposition, the Mitchell Lofts and, of course, the Double-Wide.
"Please come to this if you can," she wrote. "We will be standing in opposition. We will need as many commercial and residential tenants and supporters of the area to appear as possible."
Truth is, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs' public hearing tonight does not involve a vote of any kind. And it's not about a "homeless shelter," but, rather, a low-income housing development being proposed at the intersection -- more like Central Dallas Ministries' recently opened CityWalk@Akard than The Bridge.
According to Gordon Anderson, TDHCA spokesman and senior communications adviser, tonight's public hearing will give folks the chance to sound off on some 130 applications for Competitive Housing Tax Credits from around the state.
"This is the public's opportunity to provide comments," Anderson said. "People can come in and speak in favor of, or in opposition to, any of the applications being considered for funding through this program." The program, he explains, is Texas' primary means of moving private capital and developers into affordable rental housing that is owned and maintained by private developers.
And, yes, one of those applications is for EVERgreen Residences | 3800 Willow, a planned 100-unit, single-room occupancy/residential hotel meant to provide permanent supportive housing for the formerly homeless, the chronically homeless and other individuals with similarly low or restricted incomes.
Read all 381 pages of the application filed with the TDHCA here.
But whether it's called a homeless shelter or permanent supportive housing, Callahan and others aren't happy about the plans for 3800 Willow St.
"I don't want it to seem harsh, or that we're against homeless shelters, but the bottom line is it's not going to make it safer down here," Callahan said by phone minutes ago. "There are better places where there would be less residences and businesses affected by something like this. People feel safe coming here now, and we've worked very hard at that."
And, naturally, Callahan isn't alone in spreading the word about tonight's meeting. Just peruse through the recent comment threads over on The Amsterdam Bar's Facebook page.
The folks from TDHCA are ready for them too. Again, that's the whole point of these public hearings.
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The TDHCA board and staff, Anderson said, will look over the comments obtained at tonight's meeting, as well as the other meetings around the state. He said there are multiple steps and that this process won't be done until July.
"Each application has to meet certain criteria, it's a massive application process, and then there's a thorough review done by the TDHCA," Anderson said.
And for those of you who cannot attend the meeting, TDHCA also encourages written comments via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via snail-mail at:
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
Multi-family Finance Division
P.O. Box 13941
Austin, TX 78711-3941