House Representative


Committee advances Rep. Johnson’s bill to address homelessness caused by gentrification

AUSTIN, TEXAS – A Texas House committee gave approval Thursday to Rep. Eric Johnson’s bill to allow state funds to flow to residents at risk of losing their homes due to gentrification.

The House Committee on Urban Affairs, on which Rep. Johnson sits, approved House Bill 4394.Rep. Johnson authored House Bill 4394 in order to clarify that Texans who lose their homes due to economic development in their neighborhoods are eligible for state funds intended to assist with homelessness prevention. Currently, the state distributes those dollars to cities, which then use them to help residents avoid becoming homeless. But there is ambiguity in the current law over whether someone qualifies for that assistance if their home loss is due to gentrification.

“This bill will help bring more state funds for homelessness prevention to Dallas,” said Rep. Johnson, Dallas. “Those who are at risk of losing their homes due to gentrification should be able to access the same funding that’s available to residents who lose their homes for other reasons.”

House Bill 4394 would address two state programs: the Homeless Housing and Services Program and the Ending Homelessness Fund.
“This is part of a larger effort to address homelessness and housing affordability,” Rep. Johnson said. “Economic development is important, but it’s also important to recognize the many different ways that it can impact the residents of a neighborhood. I am grateful that this proposal is advancing in the Texas Legislature.”

House Bill 4394 now moves to the House Calendars Committee, which decides whether to schedule bills for consideration by the full Texas House. If passed by the full House, the bill would then move to the Texas Senate. The 2019 legislative session ends May 27.