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Con: Rules shouldn't keep out those who can pay

By ErinPradia
March 18, 2012 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated March 17, 2012 at 10:18 p.m.

Chrystian Garcia, 4, plays outside Caney Run Estates Apartments where he lives with his mother, Bianca Loya, in government subsidized housing.

When Alvin Slutter moved from Austin to Victoria in September to work as a truck driver, his application for housing was denied.

"I was told I earned too much money to live there," Slutter recalled.

The 27-year-old man really liked the apartment and was devastated he could not live there.

"I don't see why my ability to pay my rent would deprive me of getting an apartment," Slutter said.

His inability to live in housing set aside for low-income families prolonged his search, making it difficult for him to begin his job for Schneider National Bulk Carrier in Victoria.

Eventually, Slutter found a home and moved into Mosswood Apartments in the 1900 block of Sam Houston Drive.

"It's peaceful, but I think it's pricey for such an old apartment," Slutter said.

Mosswood was built in 1979, compared with Caney Run Estates Apartments - a fixed-income complex - which opened in 2005.

While government assistance for low-income families is a good thing, Slutter said, he thinks all housing should be mixed in together.

"If you are at the bottom of the income ladder, I think government assistance is a good idea," Slutter said. "But if you can afford the rent without government assistance, you should be allowed to move in."

Housing subsidized by tax credits - and other designated low-income housing - can detract from the rental housing available for the working class moving to Victoria.

"People want to rent before buying," said Victoria Realtor Marco Porras. "It is like any other relationship - you want to get to know the town before you pick a place to live."

While he is not against housing tailored to low-income families, Porras said, he believes it is necessary to balance that need with the need for rental properties.

But rental housing for the working class is limited by private sector landlords allowing their property to be used for low income housing.

Fixed-income housing built next to a neighborhood could also decrease the neighborhood's value, Porras said.

Participating in the low income housing program has setbacks and benefits for new landlords looking to open an apartment complex. While they are guaranteed pay, tax-credit landlords are subjected to inspections to ensure standard living conditions and the fair market price set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"The Department of Housing and Urban Development compares prices to others in the area and sets a fair price," Porras said. "But sometimes market prices Realtors could get on their own could be higher."

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