Oklahoma City Sends A Unique Donation To Harvey Relief: Housing Vouchers

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelNovember 1, 2017 1:29 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Open enrollment has started in Texas

November 1 marks the first day of open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

This time around, Texans will have a shorter window of time to enroll. Instead of the usual 90-day window, the enrollment period will last for 45 days, ending on December 15, 2017.

Available plans might also be more expensive. As Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider explains, both of these changes are due to actions taken by the Trump administration.

Schneider reports that because President Trump signed an executive order cutting off subsidies to insurers that help low-income people pay out-of-pocket costs, most analysts expect insurers to raise rates.

On top of the shorter enrollment period and potentially more expensive plans, Kevin Nix with Legacy Community Health told Houston Public Media that people have been confused about Trump’s statements that Obamacare is dead.

“It’s always been a little difficult time,” Kevin Nix said. “But this year people think, polls show, that the law is gone and that there’s not much to be done. Well, in fact, the law is very much alive.”

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the country.

Oklahoma City helps Houston with affordable housing demand after Harvey

Oklahoma City is stepping up to help low-income Houstonians displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

OKC’s housing authority is lending 100 vouchers to the Houston Housing Authority. That’s so families flooded out of a public housing development can find new, affordable places to live.

Tory Gunsolley is the CEO of the Houston Housing Authority. He explains they needed the extra Housing Choice vouchers because Houston had completely run out of them before Harvey even struck.

“The Housing Authority had fully utilized all of our voucher authority and was actually in a place where we were in shortfall,” says Gunsolley. “We did not have enough money to maintain the program throughout the end of the year without additional help from HUD.”

Gunsolley adds that his agency was placed under restrictions that prevented them from issuing new vouchers – even after Harvey. That’s why the extra vouchers are such a big help, he says. “And then Oklahoma is being generous in letting us have families use those vouchers here in Houston.”

In all, Harvey significantly damaged seven of the 28 buildings that the Houston Housing Authority owns, affecting nearly a thousand families.

The ACLU sues for release of 10-year-old in federal custody

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Trump administration in the hopes of getting a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy released from federal custody in Texas.

Rosa Maria Hernandez, who is undocumented, was detained after undergoing gallbladder surgery last week and has been separated from her family since then. She has lived in Laredo since she was three months old.

Hernandez came to the attention of Border Patrol when she traveled through an interior checkpoint on her way to a Corpus Christi hospital last week.