A controversial rule limiting housing options for homeless Texans with criminal records was softened, but it still worries advocates

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Tents were pitched at a state-run homeless encampment in Austin in February. Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

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The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is slightly backing off a controversial plan that would make it harder for homeless Texans with particular criminal histories to live in tax-subsidized housing units meant to help them secure permanent homes. At a meeting Thursday, agency officials said they would drop a proposal blocking people with convictions for nonviolent felonies and class A misdemeanors from living in new developments financed with what are called Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.

But the agency still plans to ban prospective tenants who have committed some violent felonies and some drug-related offenses for three to seven years after their convictions. That remaining planned prohibition has some homeless organizations saying the proposed rule will still make it hard to get homeless people into "supportive housing" developments.