On the House Blog

Welcome to On the House, a weekly blog for affordable housing professionals.

Posts by Michael Wilt

Michael Wilt is the External Relations Manager for the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation. In this role, he coordinates government and peer organization relations while also supporting marketing and communications efforts. His more than seven years of affordable housing and commercial real estate policy expertise include representing a prominent industry organization, working in both chambers of the Texas Capitol and for the former Mayor of San Francisco. He holds a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law and a B.A. in Government and Latin from the University of Texas at Austin. Michael can be reached at 512.334.2157 or via email.

Four Profiles of Middle Class Households

December 8, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
The term "middle class" carries a variety of meanings, and they are typically tied to the income a household earns. While there's no official definition of middle class, the Pew Research Center considers households earning between 67 percent and 200 percent of the median family income as middle class. Nationwide, that's an income range of $39,554 to $118,072 notes thebalance.com.

TSAHC Spotlight Series: Vista Rita Blanca Apartments - Dalhart, Texas

November 17, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
This is the latest entry in our On the House spotlight series. Our past spotlights featured TSAHC staff members and partners to help readers get to know our organization and industry a little better. But this week, we are turning our focus to a development financed in part by TSAHC’s Texas Housing Impact Fund. We think spotlighting affordable housing developments across the state will help readers understand what they look like, how they are financed and who lives there.

TSAHC Partner Spotlight: An Interview with Woody Widrow

October 20, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
Every quarter TSAHC spotlights a staff member or partner to help our readers get to know our mission and industry a little better. This week we interviewed Woody Widrow, Executive Director of RAISE Texas, a non-profit dedicated to financial education and asset building for low- and moderate-income Texans. Below is our interview with Woody.

Why Workforce Housing Is so Hard to Find

October 13, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
As cities grow and attract new jobs, city leaders and employers are struggling with how to ensure there is housing that is affordable to workers at low- and moderate-income levels. This type of housing, referred to as "workforce housing," is becoming harder to find.

Why the Demand for Accessible Housing is About to Skyrocket

September 22, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
By 2035, the number of households that include someone with a disability will increase by 76% according to a report from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Subsequently, the demand for affordable, accessible housing will be far beyond what current supply can meet.

Making an Impactful Investment in Housing

September 1, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
More socially-conscious investors are using their money to make a meaningful difference in causes they believe through "impact investing," and this wave of investment could play a pivotal role in how affordable housing is financed.

Homeownership Rate Declining For Everyone Except Older Americans

August 4, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
In 2009, the U.S. homeownership rate stood at 71%. Since then, it has fallen to 63% with declines spanning every region of the country and including almost every age demographic according to a recent Gallup report.

Rental Housing Prices Remain Out of Reach for Many Texans

July 14, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
The National Low Income Housing Coalition recently released its annual "Out of Reach" report, which calculates the hourly wage a household needs to earn to afford a modest market rate apartment. The report calls this figure the Housing Wage.

The State of Housing in Texas

June 23, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
The national housing market is finally returning to normal nearly a decade after the foreclosure crisis, but affordability problems persist at near record levels. That's the main takeaway from "The State of the Nation's Housing 2017" report released last Friday by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

A Closer Look at Who Lives in Affordable Housing

June 9, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
A frequent question housing professionals get is, "who exactly lives in affordable housing?" A recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report helps answer this question with tenant-related data collected in 2014.

TSAHC Unveils New Tool For Home Buyers

May 12, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
We're excited to share a new tool for home buyers now available on our web site. The Down Payment Assistance Calculator allows home buyers to explore the down payment assistance grant amount and interest rate that works best for them. Using the tool is easy. Just follow these quick steps.

What You Should Know About Fair Housing

April 14, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
April is Fair Housing Month as it commemorates the passage of the Fair Housing Act on April 11, 1968. The historic piece of legislation expanded on previous laws to prohibit housing discrimination based on race, religion, national origian, and (as amended) disability and family status.

Housing For When Disaster Strikes

March 24, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
Texas is prone to some of Mother Nature’s fiercest elements from tornadoes and wildfires to hurricanes and flooding. When these disasters strike and people lose their homes they need safe shelter immediately. What communities provide as temporary housing often depends on resources available from the government.

Doctor’s Order: Stable, Decent & Affordable Housing

March 10, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
When it comes to good health, one of the best prescriptions is stable, decent and affordable housing. That's the key takeaway from a research summary prepared by the Center for Housing Policy that detailed the connections between housing and health explained below.

Why We Love Tax Season

February 17, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
Tax season is upon us, and let's be honest, for most people there's not much to get excited about when it comes to doing your taxes. But at TSAHC, we actually love this time of year. That's because tax season is the perfect opportunity to remind home buyers about our Mortgage Credit Certificate Program and the savings that could be in their future.

Staff Spotlight: An Interview with Melinda Smith

January 20, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
This week, we are spotlighting Melinda Smith, TSAHC's Chief Financial Officer. Melinda oversees our accounting team and ensures TSAHC complies with required financial reporting and auditing. Melinda joined TSAHC as our CFO in 2001. She earned her CPA certification in 1982 and boasts more than three decades of accounting, auditing and executive level experience in private and public practice. Below is our interview with Melinda to help you get to know her a little better.

Who Really Pays for Affordable Housing?

January 13, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
A frequent question about affordable housing is who pays for it and how. A common assumption is that taxpayers foot the bill for the construction of affordable rental housing or rents for residents that live there. In reality, that's not always true. In this entry, we will look at some of the common ways affordable housing is paid for and specifically the role subsidies play to help provide clarity.

Debunking the Myth that Affordable Housing Hurts Nearby Home Values

December 16, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
One of the most common reasons neighborhood associations oppose affordable rental housing developments near them is the worry that affordable rental communities will drag down surrounding home values. But a Trulia study released November 16th found that those fears are largely not supported by evidence.

What Craigslist Can Tell Us About Rental Markets

December 9, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
Craigslist is where many Americans flock to for deals on used items, tickets to events, and maybe even to find a job. It's also where many people turn to when looking for a place to rent, searching countless listings in hopes of finding the perfect apartment or home. These listings served another purpose altogether for a pair of University of California, Berkeley researchers who mined through 11 million Craigslist rental listings and unearthed some key findings about rental markets across the country.

Years Later Specter of Housing Crisis Remains

November 4, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
The "Understanding the Subprime Mortgage Crisis" paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis described the housing crisis of the mid-2000s as a "rise and fall of the subprime mortgage market [that] follows a classic lending boom-bust scenario, in which unsustainable growth leads to the collapse of the market."

Meet the Millennial Renters

October 14, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
It's official - Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation's largest living generation according to the Pew Research Center. Born between 1981 and 1997, this generation is now entirely in the age group when traditionally you stop living with parents and even consider purchasing your first home.

Preservation Versus New Construction - Why Not Both?

September 23, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
Recent data leaves little doubt that Texas faces a shortage of affordable housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates the state needs 595,231 more affordable units to address the needs of renters earning up to 30% of the area median income.

Understanding the Eviction Process

September 9, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
In his best-selling book Evicted released earlier this year, author and sociologist Matthew Desmond recounts the distressing stories of tenants struggling to pay rent and dealing with the consequences. Desmond notes that nationally, nearly one in eight low-income families was unable to pay all of its rent. An eviction can have damaging effects on the well-being of a renter ranging from potential job loss to depression and poor health outcomes for mothers and their children. In this entry, we take a look at the eviction process in hopes that tenants will understand it and avoid it.

Home Buyer Education and Financial Counseling Pay Off

August 19, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
Housing professionals have long professed that home buyer education and counseling create more responsible and financially empowered homeowners. Now, there's ample evidence to support their claims. Research summarized in two recent reports lists the benefits of completing a home buyer education course prior to purchasing a home.

Staff Spotlight: An Interview with Joniel Crim

July 22, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
This week, we are spotlighting Joniel Crim, TSAHC's Homeownership Programs Director. Joniel oversees our home buyer assistance and education programs, helping thousands of Texas families become homeowners each year. Joniel joined TSAHC in April 2016 and draws upon more than 20 years of experience in the real estate industry to effectively promote our programs to home buyers, loan officers and REALTORS®. Below is our interview with Joniel to help you get to know her a little better.

The Spectrum of Affordable Rental Housing

July 8, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
The affordable rental housing world includes a spectrum of housing and with that comes a glossary of terms used to label each type of housing. In this blog entry, we explain the most common types of housing that dot the affordable rental housing landscape.

TSAHC Homeowner Spotlight: Meet Michelle McDonald

June 17, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
In honor of National Homeownership Month, TSAHC is doing a blog series this June highlighting our homeownership programs. This week, we are turning the spotlight to Michelle McDonald, a teacher who lives in the small community of Sanger in North Texas. She used TSAHC's programs to purchase a home and received a free mortgage payment as part of our Mortgage Free Monday promotion last year. We asked her a few questions about being a new homeowner.

Why Every First-time Home Buyer Should Ask About a Mortgage Credit Certificate

June 3, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
In honor of National Homeownership Month, TSAHC is doing a blog series this June highlighting our homeownership programs. In this week's blog, we are featuring the Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program.

Low Income Renters Face Scarce Housing Options

May 13, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
A recent National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) report revealed that only 31 affordable units exist for every 100 extremely low income households, painting a dire picture for our nation's poorest renters. In Texas, there are 24 affordable units for every 100 such households.

Texas Remains a Top Destination for Relocating

April 22, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
Millions of people are moving to Texas, and most of them are coming from other states, as opposed to other countries. Earlier this week, the Texas Tribune reported that 5.9 million people moved to Texas from 2005 to 2013, and 4.8 million of those came from one of the other 49 states. That's roughly 345 people per day who moved to Texas during that time period.

Reevaluating Rental Policies for Tenants with Criminal Histories

April 8, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
Stories this week by NPR and the Wall Street Journal highlight two individuals, including Benigno Herrera of Austin, who have struggled to find rental housing because of criminal convictions that occurred decades ago. According to the National Employment Law Project, approximately 65 million Americans have criminal records. Individuals with criminal records are not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, meaning landlords may refuse to rent to someone because of their criminal past.

What You Don’t Know About Farm Workers May Surprise You

March 4, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
Farm workers across the nation face many uncertainties as the location and duration of their employment can be unpredictable. A National Center for Farmworker Health demographic sheet estimates there are more than 3 million migrant and seasonal farm workers in the United States including roughly 360,000 in Texas based on data from 2000.

Benefits of Energy Efficiency Shrink as Homes Get Bigger

February 8, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
Advances in technology have helped reduce the amount of energy homes use per square foot. However, many Americans aren't seeing much savings on their utility bills. This is because while the energy consumption per square foot goes down, the overall square footage of American homes has gone up.

Creating Communities in Affordable Housing Developments

January 15, 2016 | by Michael Wilt
Simply building affordable housing is a laudable goal, but community housing organizations and developers are increasingly looking for ways to create vibrant communities in affordable housing developments.

The Benefits of Preventing Eviction

December 11, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
Dealing with eviction or the threat of eviction can be a harrowing experience. But more communities are helping individuals and families avoid this nightmare by turning to eviction prevention measures as they recognize the benefits of keeping tenants in stable housing.

The Basics of Inclusionary Zoning

November 13, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
As cities across Texas struggle with how to increase the availability of affordable housing, incorporating affordable housing into market rate developments, known as "inclusionary zoning," often comes up as a possible tool to accomplish that goal. "Inclusionary zoning" or "inclusionary housing" refers to any policy requiring a certain portion or percentage of housing built or preserved to be affordable to low or moderate income households.

Progress Continues in Efforts to End Homelessness Across Texas

October 30, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
Attendees at the 2015 Texas Conference on Ending Homelessness in Corpus Christi earlier this month were greeted with encouraging news from Eric Samuels, Texas Homeless Network President and CEO, who opened the conference stating, "we've nearly cut homelessness to one half of what it was 10 years ago in Texas, and almost 70% of that progress has been made over the past five years." TSAHC staff attended the conference. Below are key takeaways from the three-day summit.

Introducing: Texas Housing Impact Fund

October 23, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
TSAHC recently rebranded our direct lending program as the Texas Housing Impact Fund to better communicate the purpose and goals of our loan products to both developers and potential investors. The Texas Housing Impact Fund offers financing for the development, acquisition, or rehabilitation of affordable rental or homeownership projects across Texas, and it supports projects that create a higher quality of life for low and moderate income families.

Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

October 2, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation and all public and private places that are open to the general public.

The Importance of Providing Housing Options Close to Jobs

September 25, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
Last month, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and INRIX, Inc. released their Urban Mobility Scorecard, a national report that painted a sobering picture for many Texas cities. Four Texas metro areas ranked in the top 50 for having the most congested roadways: Houston (8th), Dallas (11th), Austin (12th), and San Antonio (33rd).

As Mortgage Delinquency Rates Drop Americans Remain Skeptical of Housing Recovery

September 11, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
Earlier this year, the mortgage delinquency rate fell to 4.7%, the lowest rate it has been in eight years. Yet, according to a MacArthur Foundation survey, more than 60% of Americans still think the country is in a housing crisis.

Hispanics and the Future of Homeownership

August 28, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
According to a recent report entitled, “Hispanics & Home Ownership: Closing the Gap” from the Demand Institute, Hispanics will account for “roughly 40% of all new household formations in the U.S. between now and 2020.” The report’s key finding is that homeownership is important to Hispanics, but only a fraction of the population is prepared to purchase a home.

“Housing First” Policy Helps Communities Combat Veteran Homelessness

August 14, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
In 2010, the Obama Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs issued a plan to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. The goal seemed unimaginable at the time, but communities across the country are making great strides in accomplishing the task by adopting a “Housing First” model.

On the House Blog Celebrates One Year

August 7, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
A year ago, TSAHC launched the On the House blog. In the first entry, we stated, “Our purpose with this blog is to share information that helps all of us confront Texas' affordable housing shortage head-on" by delivering content that would "tackle important housing issues, provide an inside look into our programs, and share other valuable resources." We hope you feel we are meeting that objective.

Taking a Closer Look at Texas Colonias

July 10, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently issued a report entitled, “Las Colonias in the 21st Century: Progress Along the Texas-Mexico Border.” The report notes that approximately 500,000 people live in the 2,294 colonias located along the state’s 1,248 mile border with Mexico. In light of these these eye-catching numbers, we are focusing this week’s blog post on Texas colonias and the improvements that have been made in the past 20 years.

Home Buyer Blog Series, Volume 4: Meet Ellie Moss

June 22, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
June is National Homeownership Month, and to celebrate, TSAHC is doing a special blog series every Monday in June. This week we are featuring Ellie Moss, who recently purchased her first home in Longview.

Home Buyer Blog Series, Volume 2: Meet Momi Silva

June 8, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
June is National Homeownership Month, and to celebrate, TSAHC is doing a special blog series every Monday in June. Each Monday, TSAHC will share the story of a family or individual who used our programs to purchase a home. This week we feature homeowner Momi Silva.

What a Family Spends on Housing Can Affect a Child’s Success in School

May 22, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
The school year is coming to a close, and while much of the focus is on how well schools prepare students for end-of-year exams, what percentage of their income some families spend on rent is also critical to a student’s scholastic achievement.

Getting a Hand Up on the Down Payment Challenge

May 8, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
One of the most daunting obstacles to becoming a homeowner is saving for the down payment. It’s not easy, and it may require significant lifestyle changes. As Michael Corbett of Trulia bluntly stated in a Washington Post article “you’re not going to earn a down payment by [cutting out] Starbucks.” While this may be true, it doesn’t have to mean drastic changes are in order.

An Interview with Katie Claflin

January 2, 2015 | by Michael Wilt
Have you ever wondered who writes TSAHC's weekly blog posts? This week marks the fifth month we have been publishing the On the House blog, so for this week's post, we have interviewed Katie Claflin, the staff person behind the blog.