The Victoria Housing Authority is asking the City Council to waive about $3,400 in permit fees for 12 affordable apartments the group is planning to upgrade.
The housing authority’s nonprofit affiliate, the Victoria Affordable Housing Corporation No. 2, is planning to completely rehabilitate the 12 units at its North Street Apartments complex. The aging buildings at the complex had fallen into disrepair before Hurricane Harvey caused additional damage, according to city documents.
Now, the Victoria Affordable Housing Corporation is preparing to invest $500,000 into upgrading the buildings as part of grant funding from the Caterpillar Foundation and the Victoria United Way.
Caleb Staudt, the president of the United Way’s board of directors, urged the City Council to support the request to waive permit fees.
“The VCUW Board of Directors fully supports this rehab project and hopes the City of Victoria can provide some financial assistance to help leverage as much as possible the donated and grant funds for this project,” he wrote in a letter.
Staudt described the apartments as “uninhabitable” in their current state.
Only half of the North Street Apartments were occupied before Harvey, meaning the improved buildings will bring new affordable units online in a city that’s starved for housing options for low-income residents. Renters have struggled to find solutions to the region’s strained affordable housing stock, which was further reduced by Harvey. Many residents have been unable to find stable housing that they can afford, forcing them into substandard homes or leaving them without a regular place to sleep at night.
Council members will weigh a resolution waiving the fees at their meeting Tuesday.
The council will also return to a discussion about whether to charge residents with alarm systems a registration fee. Elected officials balked at the idea when they first discussed it in December. The Victoria Police Department proposed charging an annual fee for residents with automatic alarm systems to offset the time spent on false alarms triggered by such systems.
Department heads from the Victoria Public Library, Victoria Police Department and Victoria Fire Department will also present annual reports at Tuesday’s meeting.