Midland Housing Finance Corporation Has Not Met In Three Years 8/29/13
August 29th, 2013
Itís the first of what could be many heated debates between two candidates running for mayor in Midland. It all has to with the Midland Housing Finance Corporation and the fact that they havenít met in three years. Councilman John James says his opponent, Jerry Morales, has failed to lead. Morales, who is the President of the corporation, says there isnít much to the story and think itís being blown out of proportion.
"I think every time we, as council members, have the opportunity to lead, we need to take those opportunities," said Councilman John James.
James says Morales, as the president of the board and a city leader, should have taken the initiative to come up with creative solutions for the housing crisis.
Morales admits they havenít met in three years but says no one has approached him to call a meeting. James says heís known they havenít met in years, for about two months. He says he hasnít asked Morales to call a meeting.
Morales says it's the city's lack of interest in the housing business that led to the three-year span of not meeting.
"What I've heard from council in the last three years is we do not want to be in the housing business. We don't want to own land, we don't want to own homes, have a down payment assistance program," he said.
According to the rules of the committee however it says the housing corporation is to remain separate, but still act on behalf of the city.
ďThe city shall not be liable or bound for any of the obligations or actions of the corporation...except as may be specifically assumed by the city.Ē
According to section one of the rules, the board should provide ways to finance ownership and development of affordable housing.
The Midland Housing Finance Corporation has about 250,000 dollars at their disposal. Morales says they thought they could only use it on mortgage assistance for homes. Now, they say they will create a fund similar to the teacher rental stipend program created by the Scharbauer Foundation.
"It's really unfortunate that it's taken till now for this to be an issue for them," James said.
He says they should have known the scope of what they could do. Morales admits they could have been more creative when the housing crisis started.
"We just weren't thinking outside of the box. We weren't quite sure of the policies and the legalities of how we could use those funds," Morales said.
He says the corporation called a meeting for September 4th after reading about the Scharbauer Foundationís projects. They will use the remaining money they have to open more doors for residents of Midland. Morales also believes he has shown leadership. As president of the MHFC, they gave $90,000 to the Midland Community Development Corporation. He says he has also talked to developers about taking advantage of various programs Midland has to create affordable housing.