The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs announced last week that it will help finance the rehabilitation of an affordable rental property in Robstown that "will bring much-needed stability to the lives of area tenants and monetary benefits to the local economy."

TDHCA will provide $735,000 in housing tax credits to support the rehabilitation of the 76-unit American GI Forum Village I & II, an affordable rental housing development located in Robstown.

"We are excited that our communities will be receiving much needed assistance in providing affordable housing," District 34 state Rep. Abel Herrero said. "We will continue to support projects such as these because they help fulfill a necessity in our communities."

TDHCA executive director Michael Gerber said the goal of affordable rental housing developments is to ease the burden on families in need who otherwise couldn't afford a home of their own.

"The current housing market is quickly pushing rents beyond what many Texans can afford, undermining families and communities alike," Gerber said. "The added bonus of this award will be additional construction jobs and a significant infusion of payroll funds into the community."

American GI Forum Village I & II will meet a growing demand for this type of housing in the area, Gerber said. The department estimates that approximately 23,000 households in the 19-county Coastal Bend region are in need of affordable housing.

"When 30 percent, 40 percent, or more of a household's paycheck goes toward paying the rent, many of the family's other needs are simply not going to be met," Gerber said.

In addition to needed affordable housing, Robstown is also expected to benefit from the economic stimulus of this award.

A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders shows that the one-year impact of a typical 100-unit property financed through tax credits includes 151 local jobs, $783,000 in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and $7.3 million in additional income for the local economy.

This award was one of 59 TDHCA made through the 2008 Housing Tax Credit Program, the state's primary means of directing private capital toward the creation or retention of affordable rental housing.

The tax credits provide private developers with a benefit used to offset a portion of their federal tax liability in exchange for producing housing units that offer tenants an affordable rent based on their income.

The credits are allocated each year through a highly competitive application process, Gerber said. The TDHCA annually receives nearly twice as many applications as it can finance, demonstrating the high demand for affordable rental housing, he added.

TDHCA estimates the 2008 credit allocation of $42.5 million will create 5,800 units statewide serving households earning no more than 60 percent of the area median family income.