DETCOG Headed to Austin for Legislative Session

Many East Texas neighborhoods are clean, quiet, and full of homes almost anyone would want to live in. But the Deep East Texas Council of Governments has a long list of qualified people who cannot get into those homes.

DETCOG Executive Director, Walter Diggles, said, "The City of Lufkin and DETCOG is working now to try to utilize abandoned properties in the City of Lufkin that can be transformed into affordable housing, and that's one of the issues that we're going to be working on in Austin  - to make sure that we have funding to be able to provide for those eligible residents for housing assistance."

DETCOG sponsors are hoping the 80th Legislative Session will help resolve issues of poor housing, little funding, and other problems that affect East Texans.

Lufkin Mayor, Jack Gorden, said, "Maybe even more importantly is a matter of economics. Deep East Texas has probably the lowest per capita income in our state."

And they plan to ask legislators for financial relief when the session convenes next week.

Jasper County Judge Joe Folk said, "When the legislature gives you a mandate and they don't provide the funding for it, then it's the responsibility of the counties or the cities to pay for those things and that costs the citizens of the counties money. It takes money away from the county services that you do or you've got to have a tax increase."

The public housing scene in East Texas has changed a lot in recent years and not all of the changes have been positive. Now, DETCOG is hoping state legislators will help them create more homes for residents in its 12-county region.

The Deep East Texas Reception is set for Monday in Austin. The public is invited. The 80th Legislative Session kicks off next Tuesday.