Candidate (and Tenant) Perry’s Housing Record

In June, Rooflines published a piece by Kevin Jewell, a consultant for the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service outlining Texas Governor Rick Perry’s vetoes of important low-income and tenants […]

In June, Rooflines published a piece by Kevin Jewell, a consultant for the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service outlining Texas Governor Rick Perry’s vetoes of important low-income and tenants rights bills. Since that time, of course, Perry has launched his bid for the Republican nomination for president, and now his record is surfacing for a national audience and saying things like “actions speak louder than words,” and so forth.

Of course, we already know his actions when it comes to tenants and affordable housing. Just this year, he’s vetoed a bill that would require landlords to give tenants a copy of their lease and that would prohibit landlord retaliation for tenant organizing. Perry also killed bill that would have extended the life of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the agency that is, according to Jewell, the “primary home of low-income housing programs administered by the state, and has managed the state’s housing recovery programs following the 2005 (Katrina, Rita) and 2008 (Ike, Dolly) gulf-coast hurricanes.”

Jewell also points to an important veto made by Gov. Perry that would have allowed individuals to request that their records be cleared, upon a prosecutor’s discretion, if charges against that individual were dropped by the prosecution. As Jewell notes, “this is a housing-related bill because it impacts the ability of innocent people to pass a background check when applying to rent an apartment…. As a result of this veto, innocent Texans will continue to excluded from rental housing in the state without access to a trial or prosecutor discretion to clear their name.”

In a recent blog post, Larry Gross, director of the California-based Coalition for Economic Survival, after summarizing Gov. Perry’s recent housing record, noted that “At the same time Perry has declared war on Texas tenants and affordable housing, it appears that the Governor was the state’s most expensive subsidized tenant.”

“Last year it was reported that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has spent almost $600,000 in public money during the previous past two years to live in a sprawling rental home in the hills above the capital, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

The Texas Governor moved into this temporary home in the fall of 2007, leaving the white columned, two-story governor’s mansion so it could undergo repairs.

It costs more than $10,000 a month in rent, utilities and upkeep to house Perry in a five-bedroom, seven-bath mansion that has pecan-wood floors, a gourmet kitchen and three dining rooms. Perry has also spent $130,000 in campaign donations to throw parties, buy food and drink, and pay for cable TV and a host of other services since he moved in, the records show.

Of course, even amid cuts and furloughs, Perry has defended his publicly subsidized rental with a familiar barb: “Bring it on.”

Related Articles

  • Winning Tenant Protections Isn’t Enough

    July 18, 2024

    When tenant protections are popular, opponents know better than to try to repeal them. But they can damage them just the same.

  • About 25 people in three ragged rows, outdoors under a tree, with houses across the street behind them. They are of mixed ages, genders, and skin tones, and all are smiling. Many hold posterboard signs, some of which read "People Over Profit/Greedy Landlords," "Build Tenant Power," "Support the Bleecker Terrace Tenants Association," and "Capital Crossing/2nd most Code Violations in Albany." Other signs are not legible.

    In Upstate New York, the Fight for Good Cause Continues

    July 12, 2024

    This week, Ithaca became the latest city to opt into New York’s new Good Cause Eviction Law. What are tenant organizers doing to make the law work better for their communities?

  • How Policy Can Help Tenants Purchase Their Homes, a Webinar

    July 3, 2024

    Laws that give tenants the ability to purchase their own apartments are popping up across the country. In this webinar, a panel of folks who have been reporting on, fighting for, and using these policies offer their perspectives on this powerful anti-displacement tool.