Houston taxpayers may foot the bill for people who want homes but can't qualify for loans based on credit card debts, car loans or other bills, The Chronicle's Carolyn Feibel reports.
The government already lowers the bar for low-income, first-time homebuyers. There are grants for down payments, help with closing costs, as well as specific programs for veterans.
But all that do-gooding is apparently not good enough for Houston, where some officials want it to be even easier to rack up bills you haven't paid but still be able to claim "the American dream" of homeownership.
This is all as city and county officials across the country line up at the federal tax trough, cry about their deficits, and warn Armageddon will descend if a government worker is laid off.
So where's the money for the Houston plan coming from? Chronicle says ...
The $444,000 for the program is leftover money from a $1.5 million appropriation the city made for emergency home and roof repairs after Hurricane Ike.
And where's it going?
The “Credit Score Enhancement Program” will give up to $3,000 in grants to individuals who are trying to qualify for mortgages through the city’s homebuyers assistance program.
So, instead of hiring a few more firefighters, putting a dent in Mayor Bill White's one million trees initiative, or even laying down a sidewalk or two, City Hall would rather pay for the flatscreen TVs our fellow citizens purchased on credit at an 18% APR.
You don't like those ideas? Here's another one: Seems like we have a hurricane scare or two here every year. Could be we have another situation like the one post-Ike, in which the populace may want tax money spent for home repairs.
Should we save the money for a rainy, post-hurricane day?
Nah, we've already got it in our hot hands. Better just spend it.
Also see blogHOUSTON's discussion and a lively conversation at the Chronicle's forum.