A developer who had applied for low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) in Texas was allegedly involved in controversial mailings sent to local residents alerting them about affordable housing projects being proposed in their neighborhoods.
The alerts, which came from a group called “Notifications for Texans, LLC,” caused a firestorm because they were seen as a smear campaign aimed at generating opposition to competing developments while gaining an advantage for the sender’s own projects .
This is significant because receiving local support is a key part of the competition for housing tax credits in the state.
The notices were creating an impression that a Sec. 8 or other low-income housing project for families was being proposed instead of a seniors community or other LIHTC property, according to people familiar with the situation.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs issued a notice informing people that it had no ties to Notifications for Texas.
The Texas Affiliation of Affordable Housing Providers (TAAHP), a statewide organization, investigated the matter on behalf of its members. Fourteen members have said they had been targeted by the notices, according to Jim Brown, executive director.
He said he has never seen anything like this happen before.
Apparently no rules were broken, but the mailings have left a bitter taste in many developers’ mouths. After all, they often spend tens of thousands of dollars in securing a site and preparing a LIHTC application.
Alan Naul of the Dallas-based Javelin Group, who applied to receive tax credits for a seniors community in Amarillo and for another seniors project in Lindale, was allegedly involved in Notifications for Texas and recently met with housing officials on the matter. He declined to be interviewed.
TDHCA said he has withdrawn his applications from this year’s tax credit competition. Naul had also submitted a LIHTC application for a project in Missouri City during the pre-application phase.