Sunday, March 28, 2010

Good News! The "$50,000 Club" Doesn't Exist in Houston.

The Boston Globe ran a piece about New England Colleges that are in “the $50,000 club”. If you want to study at these schools, and you pay full-fare – it will total over $50,000 a year. Schools include Harvard (of course), Boston University, Boston College, and Wellesley among others.

So, how did Houston’s universities do? I did some research and found out:

Rice University: $44,841

University of Saint Thomas: $42,530

Texas Southern University: $32,068 (non-residents)

Houston Baptist University: $27,400

The University of Houston: $21,994 (non-residents)

Of course few people pay full-fare to go to college. For most, the price tag is greatly reduced by financial aid packages.

Still, Houston should be very proud of these numbers. Our best universities are, on the whole, less expensive than Boston’s. I’ll bet you’d find similar savings if you compared us to New York or Los Angeles. This means a lot for our economy and our future.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Let's Fix What We've Got - The Right Answer to Low Income housing in Houston.

There’s a debate raging in Katy. A company from Charlotte, North Carolina has applied for low income housing tax credits through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). The housing project is actually slated to be built just outside the Katy City Limits, but residents of Katy are rightly afraid of the impact it will have on their community. Neighbors to the project aren’t the only ones who should oppose it.

Houston’s affordable housing has been allowed to deteriorate. In some neighborhoods (Gulfton; Alief), apartments that were built for the middle class, now house the poor. These apartments were developed 30 years ago, with life-spans of 30 years. They are in dire need of repair or replacement, but there's little money available to do it. In other neighborhoods (Sunnyside; Acres Homes) poor homeowners desperately need help to repair older houses; but the programs available to them are inadequate.

There is a finite amount of resources available for low income housing. Every dollar that’s spent to build new low income housing, is a dollar that can’t be spent elsewhere. We owe it to ourselves to demand that those funds be used to repair existing affordable housing.

If you want to help, there will be a hearing for the project near Katy. It will be held at the Houston City Hall Annex (900 Bagby) on April 7, at 6 PM.