The city's Department of Housing and Community Development has cut 29 jobs due to budget strains and will begin a restructuring "that will restore financial integrity, improve performance and facilitate expansion of the mission to include a new focus on community development."
"This is a top to bottom reorganization reflecting our commitment to improved operations and changing the overall culture and public perception of HCD," said HCD Director Jim Noteware. "It involves everything from greater focus on communication and transparency to improved staff training and enhanced monitoring of compliance with federal and state guidelines. This department has had difficulties for years. Mayor Parker's charge was to fix it. This plan will do just that."
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Noteware said the department had been outspending the grant money it received. "We have to live within our means," he said.
The announcement added this:
Mr. Noteware decided against a larger reduction in force that would have eliminated the deficit entirely due to concerns that it would harm the department's performance. Staffing levels will continue to be reviewed as operational improvements are fully implemented over the next six to twelve months. The steps announced today will help the department meet its primary objectives - to provide decent housing, create a suitable living environment and expand economic opportunities, principally for Houston's low and moderate income persons.