Houstonians worry of impacts to affordable housing after firing of city's housing director

Tom McCasland was fired after alleging mayor is "bankrolling" developer instead of prioritizing families needing housing

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Residents worry about affordable housing after director gets fired
A day after 13 Investigates reported the firing of Tom McCassland, the city's top housing director, people are reacting to the accusations he made.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A day after 13 Investigates reported the firing of Tom McCasland, the city's top housing director, people are reacting to the accusations he made.

At a recent city council meeting, McCasland accused Mayor Sylvester Turner of "bankrolling" a developer for a planned Clear Lake senior housing project instead of prioritizing the interest of low income families who need affordable housing.

ABC13 went to Kelly Village on Wednesday, one of the city's oldest housing properties.

We spoke with a man who goes by the name of "G-money," who watched our 13 Investigates report.

Whether or not he believes the accusations being made by McCasland, he said there's a lot the mayor might not know.

In a message to Turner, the man said, "You stand behind your desk, not knowing what's going on behind closed doors. These are closed doors right here." He pointed around Kelly Village as he spoke.

We also met Corwin Wooten, who was raised in Kelly Village.

"Everybody has their own agenda," he said. "I think all the resources that can be put into housing, should be, because a lot of people deserve it."

McCasland said his frustration stems from Turner's decision to award $15 million in taxpayer money to a developer for the Huntington at Bay Area, a 148-unit senior housing complex in Clear Lake.

He said he's concerned only 88 of those units will be for low and moderate income Houstonians. McCasland also believes four times as many affordable units could've been built for the same price.

"I want the money to be channeled to the people that need it," said G-money.

He and his Kelly Village neighbors want more transparency from the city when it comes to matters regarding affordable housing.

McCasland said he wasn't alleging any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, the mayor's office said Keith Bynam, who's been a part of the city's Housing and Community Development Department's leadership team, has been appointed as the interim director.

WATCH THE ORIGINAL REPORT: Housing director fired after alleging mayor is 'bankrolling' developer

Mayor Turner called the comments "puzzling, inflated and wrong." The problem started when taxpayer funding was given for a housing project in Clear Lake.

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