Proposed Budget Cutbacks to the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)–Including the End of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Trump’s budget proposal have severely threatened the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) would be destroyed. Apartment rent subsidies for the poor would be in trouble too–especially since it’s a federal-only program, unlike Meals-on-Wheels. Let’s check an article from The Atlantic on this proposal. How Trump’s Budget Would Impact Cities’ Poorest Residents

I brought my annual apartment subsidy paperwork to our Neighborhood Services office, located on West Gentry & Palace on the North Side. While I waited for the Green South bus, I not only ate and shopped, but copied information on the Community Development Block Grant program.

Let’s start with the definition of how Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds are used. They “may be used for public facility and infrastructure improvements in low income areas. The funds are concentrated in the annual “target area” for a variety of projects, including street renovations, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, and water, sewer and drainage improvements.” Park improvements may be to create new parks or enhance existing parks. There’s also a Home Buyer Assistance Program that includes using the voucher towards buying a house, provided the individual completes Home Buyer Education workshops. Here’s the description of CDBG on the City of Tyler website, including eligible and ineligible activities. http://www.cityoftyler.org/Departments/NeighborhoodServices/CommunityDevelopment/CDBG.aspxCity of Tyler: Neighborhood Services, CDBG

As you can see, these HUD programs are relatives of infrastructure repair programs. My voucher keeps me from spending over half my SSDI (disability)check in rent. At least I have one more year. My COPD has improved from severe to moderate in the past year, contrary to folk belief that we either get worse or stay the same. Let’s save these fine programs in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Transit Annotated Link Page, by J.D. Meyer

Member: Consumer Advocates in Transportation (CAT)

for Texas State Independent Living Council (TXSILC)

  1. http://www.capmetro.org/transitbenefits/    Savings, Health, & Green Wins. Here’s a great persuasive document about why one should consider riding the bus.
  1. http://www.capmetro.org/csac/   Consumer Satisfaction Action Cmte.  “The Customer Satisfaction Advisory Committee (CSAC) is comprised of 9 members who regularly use transit, and are appointed by the Capital Metro board of directors upon recommendation of the Capital Metro Chief Executive Officer.” Austin, TX

 

  1. http://www.capmetro.org/aac/   Access Advisory Cmte.  “The Access Advisory Committee is appointed by the board of directors to provide guidance and advice on how to better serve riders with special needs, such as customers with disabilities, language barriers, or other challenges to the normal riding experience.” Austin, TX
  2. https://asunow.asu.edu/content/transit-oriented-development-helps-cities-ease-gas  “Transit Oriented Development Cities Ease Gas, from Arizona State University—an article in a series about sustainable cities. Features that lead to more bus-riding: (1) short blocks, (2) intersections that are easy to cross, (3) short distances between destinations, (4) well maintained sidewalks, (5) lighting and other safety features, & (6) an aesthetically pleasing environment. {Much more info in this article!}

 

  1. https://maps.bts.dot.gov/arcgis/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=8aa7d21846524c09a1fbf72d89e9b38dHere’s a map of participating transit agencies in a national map. Dallas and Austin are among the participators. Tyler hasn’t joined.

 

  1. http://www.capmetro.org/uploadedfiles/Capmetroorg/Schedules_and_Maps/System_Map.pdf Austin Bus & Rail Map & Schedule.

 

  1. http://www.masstransitmag.com/press_release/12215879/jta-encourages-drivers-to-dump-the-pump-and-ride-public-transit Eleventh annual National Dump the Pump Day on Thursday, June 16.The Jacksonville, FL Transit Authority is a multiple award winner.

 

  1. http://www.masstransitmag.com/article/12244552/election-2016-which-outcomes-should-transit-fans-cheer-for Election 2016: “Which outcomes Should Transit Fans Cheer For?” The positions of Clinton vs. Trump & Democrats vs. Republicans are listed.

 

  1. https://ioby.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Trip-Final-090914.pdf “5 Projects Any Community Can Do To Improve the Transit Experience in 5 Easy Steps.” (11 pages).

 

  1. https://bohemiotx.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/tyler-tx-transits-two-bus-hubs-why-it-works-in-a-rectangular-cityintroduction-to-riding-the-bus/ “Tyler, TX Transit’s Two Bus Hubs: Why It Works in a Rectangular City/Introduction to Riding the Bus,” by J.D. Meyer. This essay includes a link to the main Tyler Transit map. Most of Tyler is considered “south.”

 

  1. https://bohemiotx.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/frequent-tyler-tx-bus-rider-survey-by-joffre-jd-meyer-midtown-resident/ “Frequent Tyler, TX Bus Rider Survey for a Midtown (Hospital District) Resident,” by J.D. Meyer. This question and answer essay is designed to help people read the bus map in my neighborhood.

 

  1. https://bohemiotx.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/frequent-tyler-tx-bus-rider-survey-answers-for-a-northside-resident/ “Frequent Tyler, TX Bus Rider for a Northside Resident,” by J.D. Meyer. Same format as the survey for Midtown.

 

 

Tiny Houses: Sequel to Northside Revitalization for Tyler 21—Annotated Link Page, by J.D. Meyer

The North End Revitalization document for Tyler 21 emphasized the significant amount of vacant land in North Tyler—residential and non-residential: 25% of parcels and 40% of land (including non-developable land) (pg. 72). Furthermore, “the current number of households and median household incomes in North Tyler are too low to attract national retail chains.” (pg. 64).

1.thetinylife.com/what-is-the-tiny-house-movement What is the Tiny House Movement? Sustainability, save money, less clutter, freedom, travel & engage with community. Design tip: Drawers>closets. Spend time in one before buying.

  1. http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/news/the-top-5-states-for-tiny-homes_o The Top 5 States for Tiny Homes (CA, OR, TX, NC, & FL), by Katie Gloede. Rated on six categories: (1)Tiny Home Communities, (2) RV Parks Accepting Tiny Homes, (3) Permitting/Zoning Opportunities, (4) Tiny House Builders, (5) Tiny House Architects, and (6) Towns Specifically Welcoming Them.
  1. tylerpaper.com/TP-News+Local/227648/sellers-market-for-tiny-homes-in-smith-county “Sellers market for tiny homes in Smith County,” by Roy Maynard. 11-28-2015. Jason Campbell of Campbell Custom Homes. Model mini-house is 729 sq. ft. & $58, 420; metal exterior & wood panel interior. Slab-extra $4274. Median house as of October 2015, Smith County: $160K.
  1. tylerpaper.com/TP-News+Local/234003/tiny-homes-built-in-east-texas “Tiny homes built in East Texas,” by Andrea Martinez 4-9-2016. Andrew Pleban: American Tiny Homes in Longview, Founder. The 360 sq. ft. home in the photo is going to San Francisco.
  1. http://www.tylerpaper.com/TP-News+National/226403/think-you-want-a-tiny-house-heres-a-way-to-try-one-on-for-size “Think you want a tiny house? Here’s a way to try one on for size,” by Collin Brinkley (A.P.) 11-6-2015. Harvard’s Millennial Housing Lab started Getaway in Croydon, NH so people can temporarily stay in a 160-sq. ft. home. Jon Staff is the Founder &CEO.
  1. lpratthomes.com Pratt Homes. 310 SSE Loop 323; Tyler, Tx 75702. (903) 593-6300. Your Modular Home Builder: BBB A+, Tyler Chamber of Commerce, Tyler Area Builders Association. www.lpratthomes.com/tiny-houses/#View7houses-floorplans&pics www.lpratthomes.com/live-big-in-a-tiny-house  
  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqoHpsz1Yss Legal vs. Illegal Tiny Houses Most are on wheels and don’t pass building codes. Ceiling height must be at least 6’8”. Steps with drawers no more than 8” riser. Over 2 steps, need railing. Zoning may prevent one from parking in a backyard. Utilities could be an issue. Minimum square feet for plot.

http://goingviralposts.biz/group-build-community-tiny-homes-homeless-veterans/20 feet from end to end, and 240 square feet. That is the extent of every house under development in Veterans Village – a task began by the Veterans Community Project in Kansas City, Missouri.

 9. http://la.curbed.com/2016/9/22/13020562/shipping-containers-homeless-housingOn a once vacant lot in Midway City, American Family Housing is building Potter’s Lane, a two-story apartment complex made entirely out of old shipping containers. When completed, Potter’s Lane will offer 16 units, each measuring 480 square feet.” Orange County, California.

Northside Revitalization, Tyler 21: Annotated Link Page (2nd Edition), By J.D. Meyer

  1. http://www.lisc.org Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Our Initiatives: (1) Affordable Housing, (2) Education, (3) Economic Development, (4) Financial Stability, (5) Health, (6) Safe Neighborhoods, (7) Community Leadership, and (8) Policy & Research.
  1. http://www.knowledgeplex.org The Affordable Housing & Community Development Research for Professionals Topics: (1) All Topics, (2) Affordable Housing, (3) Economic Revitalization, (4) Fair Housing, (5) Homelessness, (6) Homeownership & Mortgage Markets, (7) Land Use & Housing Planning, (8) Personal Finance & Asset Creation, (9) Public Housing, and (10) Social & Comprehensive Development.
  1. communityprogress.net Community Progress (Used to be National Vacant Properties Campaign) www.communityprogress.net/filebin/pdf/toolkit/NVPC_VacantPropertiesTrueCost.pdf The True Costs of Vacant Properties
  1. http://www.foodsecurity.org/primercfsuac Urban Agriculture and Community Food Security in the U.S.: Farming from the City Fringe to the Urban Fringe, by Katherine H. Brown, et al. 27 pages & 7 chapters.
  1. https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-economics-of-historic-preservation The Economics of Historic Preservation, by Randal Mason, 75 pages. The first ten readings in the annotated bibliography are the “best to initiate and inform a reader new to economic preservation issues” (pg. 29).
  1. https://segmentationsolutions.nielsen.com/mybestsegments/ Nielsen: My Best Segments Where Can I Find My Best Customers? Go to the third section on the right and enter the zip code you’re studying; North Tyler is 75702. https://segmentationsolutions.nielsen.com/mybestsegments/ The 68 PRIZM zip code clusters. They’re subdivided into three categories based on life stage and several social groups based on the urban to rural continuum.

Frequent Tyler, TX Bus Rider Survey, by Joffre (“JD”) Meyer (Midtown Resident)

Resident of Midtown (Hospital District) near Stanley’s Bar-B-Q

1. Which bus lines are closest to you?

2. Where are they?

3. Where are the “least distant” bus stops of different lines?

4. Is Bergfeld Shopping Center the closest Yellow Line stop for you?

5. Is the Downtown Transit Depot the closest place for you to access ….
A. Blue North
B. Green North
C. Purple South

6. Where are your favorite bus stops used by three lines, aside from the two hubs.

7. Where would you like to see a bike rack?

JD’s Answers

1. Purple North, Purple South, Green North.

2. The closest Purple North stop  is on East Houston at Donnybrook, while the closest Purple South stop  is at Austin State Bank near the SW corner of S. Beckham and E. Houston–across from Trinity Mother Frances. The nearest Green North bus stops are on S. Beckham at Trinity Mother Frances, directly across from Austin State Bank and on S. Beckham just south of E. Front. That Green North bus stop at the SE corner of Beckham & E. Front is less surrounded by traffic than the earlier stop by  TMF.

3. The closest Blue SW southbound stop used to be the one across from PATH on W. Front, a 15 minute walk. Now there’s a Blue SW southbound stop next to the new parking garage on S. Broadway between E. Front and Elm. The nearest Green South bus stop for me is on Fleishel & E. Houston, just past “Heartbreak Hill.” The closest Red North bus stop is at S. Broadway–just north of E. Houston. The closest Yellow stop is at its northernmost point in Bergfeld Shopping Center. The closest Red South bus stop is at the SW corner of S. Broadway & E. Front in front of the Catholic cathedral.

4. Yes, the Bergfeld Center hub is the closest Yellow Line stop for me.

5. A. No, the closest Blue North stop for me is across from the new parking garage between Front and Erwin next to the furniture store with all the bean bags, near the abandoned skyscraper.
B. No, I live very close to Green North bus stops because it serves the East side of Tyler, and I live in Midtown (East). C. No, I live in Midtown (The Hospital District), so three Purple line stops are very close to me.

6. Blue SW Northbound, Purple North, and Red North have a stop on N. Broadway across from the new Fair Parking Garage by the old furniture store with all the beanbags.

7. Both hubs, Downtown by the train museum and the Bergfeld Shopping Center, should have bike racks. I’d like to see a bike rack next to D&N in North Tyler on Bow ST near Neighborhood Services and a Green South stop at W. Gentry and Palace. Finally, I’d like to see a bike rack at the Downtown Square.

March 3rd #SOL15: It’s Payday!

The 3rd is payday–actually disability check day, COPD in my case. It’s a day of scurrying around to pay bills and buy groceries. I no longer drive. I walk or ride the city bus. I’ve become so well-versed in the bus routes and times that I was recruited to switch to the new transportation committee of the East TX Human Needs Network (ETHNN). Our other committees are education, health, employment, and housing.

My first trip this morning was the Family Dollar to buy really cheap stuff, such as paper products, liquid bath soap, and a bar of dark chocolate–all really a dollar. After a beer stop for later in the day, I visited a former student who works at the cell phone store in the same shopping center. Now she’s married with two kids, some twelve years later after our Developmental English class. I went to her dad’s regional Mexican karaoke a few Fridays ago and sang a couple myself a norteno song and a duranguense song.

Then it was time to watch a compulsory Rockford Files episode–starring the late, great James Garner as a private detective in Los Angeles who lives in a mobile home on the beach. After some rooting around on the Internet with my cellphone alarm keeping track, I galloped to the Purple South bus and headed for Brookshire’s Grocery in Bergfeld Shopping Center–the second hub of the Tyler Transit too. Besides splurging on food, that’s where I get my cashier’s check for rent. Recently, I’ve become a smart shopper who really looks for bargains in the mailbox insert with pen in hand. Sorting heavy groceries into two canvas bags (one lined) preceded the wait for the ride home. I sat next to my new bus friend who was grappling with a scratch-off game.

Once I got home, it was time to lay down with my albuterol nebulizer, while watching news on MSNBC with the volume turned up., for I was exhausted. Then it was time for one more errand before a couple of episodes of “Two-and-a-Half-Men,” in the early Charlie Sheen. Finally, I went to visit friends at Stanley’s Famous Bar-B-Q, and I live just two doors away–really convenient to a well-known restaurant. Now I’m hurriedly typing this Slice of Life while watching J*A*G, the Navy lawyer show.

I prefer living in business districts over residential. My neighborhood is called Midtown, aka. The Hospital District. I can reach stores, pharmacies, restaurants, banks, and doctors fairly easily–even by COPD standards. https://twowritingteachers.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/11454297503_e27946e4ff_h.jpg