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Submitting a Public Information Request (PIR)

TDHCA is committed to providing full access to public information. To request public records under the Texas Public Information Act:

  1. Submit your PIR in writing by email.
  2. Include your full first and last names, email address, daytime telephone number or other con-tact information and a clear description of the records you want.
  3. PIRs will be accepted only at the following email address: open.​records@​tdhca.​state.​tx.​us

We will promptly notify you by return email to confirm receipt of your emailed PIR. For additional information regarding filing a PIR, please review the information pro-vided below or contact the TDHCA Public Information Coordinator, Kathleen Vale Castillo, at (512) 475 4144.

Tips for PIRs

Only PIRs emailed to open.​records@​tdhca.​state.​tx.​us will be accepted.

  • Your PIR should be for documents or other information already in existence. Governmental bodies are not required to answer questions, perform legal research, or comply with a request to sup-ply information on a periodic basis for information that will be prepared in the future.
  • Be as specific as possible. Include a timeframe when appropriate. For example: I am seeking a chronological list of xyz’ allocations for abc’ program to all recipients in Travis County from 9/1/2014 through 8/31/2015.”
  • If you believe we have not responded as required by the Public Information Act, you may contact your local County or District Attorney, or the Office of the Attorney General, Open Records Hotline, at (512) 478 6736 or toll-free (877) 673 6839. For complaints regarding over-charges, please contact the General Services Commission at 5124752497.

If you need special accommodation pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), please contact our TDHCA Public Information Coordinator, Kathleen Vale Castillo at (512) 475 4144.

If this PIR relates to Disaster Recovery, effective July 1, 2011, the CDBG Disaster Recovery Programs have transferred to the Texas General Land Office (GLO) from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) and the Texas Department of Agricul-ture (TDA). For Disaster Recovery related PIR processing, please visit the GLO’s PIR web page.

Public Information Act

Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, gives you the right to access government records; and an officer for public information and the officer’s agent may not ask why you want them. All government information is pre-sumed to be available to the public. Certain exceptions may apply to the disclosure of the information. Govern-mental bodies shall promptly release requested infor-mation that is not confidential by law, either constitu-tional, statutory, or by judicial decision, or information for which an exception to disclosure has not been sought.

Rights of Requestors

You have the right to:

  • Prompt access to information that is not confidential or otherwise protected;
  • Receive treatment equal to all other requestors, including accommodation in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements;
  • Receive certain kinds of information without excep-tions, like the voting record of public officials, and other information;
  • Receive a written statement of estimated charges, when charges will exceed $40, in advance of work being started and opportunity to modify the request in response to the itemized statement;
  • Choose whether to inspect the requested informa-tion (most often at no charge), receive copies of the information or both;
  • A waiver or reduction of charges if the governmental body determines that access to the information primarily benefits the general public;
  • Receive a copy of the communication from the gov-ernmental body asking the Office of the Attor-ney General for a ruling on whether the infor-mation can be withheld under one of the accepted exceptions, or if the communication discloses the requested information, a redact-ed copy;
  • Lodge a written complaint about overcharges for public information with the General Services Commission. Complaints of other possible viola-tions may be filed with the county or district attorney of the county where the governmental body, other than a state agency, is located. If the complaint is against the county or district attor-ney, the complaint must be filed with the Office of the Attorney General.

Responsibilities of Governmental Bodies

All governmental bodies responding to information requests have the responsibility to:

  • Establish reasonable procedures for inspecting or copying public information and inform requestors of these procedures;
  • Treat all requestors uniformly and shall give to the requestor all reasonable comfort and facility, including accommodation in accordance with ADA requirements;
  • Be informed about open records laws and educate employees on the requirements of those laws;
  • Inform requestors of the estimated charges greater than $40 and any changes in the estimates above 20 percent of the original estimate, and confirm that the requestor accepts the charges, or has amended the request, in writing before finalizing the request;
  • Inform the requestor if the information cannot be provided promptly and set a date and time to provide it within a reasonable time;
  • Request a ruling from the Office of the Attorney General regarding any information the Govern-mental body wishes to withhold, and send a copy of the request for ruling, or a redacted copy, to the requestor;
  • Segregate public information from information that may be withheld and provide that public infor-mation promptly;
  • Make a good faith attempt to inform third parties when their proprietary information is being requested from the governmental body;
  • Respond in writing to all written communications from the General Services Commission regarding charges for the information. Respond to the Office of the Attorney General regarding com-plaints about violations of the Act.

Procedures to Obtain Information

  • Submit a written request by mail, email, or in per-son, according to a governmental body’s reason-able procedures (see instructions above).
  • Include sufficient description and detail about the information requested to enable the govern-mental body to accurately identify and locate the information requested.
  • Cooperate with the governmental body’s reason-able efforts to clarify the type or amount of information requested.

A. Information to be released

  • You may review it promptly, and if it cannot be pro-duced within 10 working days the public infor-mation officer will notify you in writing of the reasonable date and time when it will be available.
  • Keep all appointments to inspect records and to pick up copies. Failure to keep appointments may result in losing the opportunity to inspect the information at the time requested.

Cost of Records

  • You must respond to any written estimate of charges within 10 days of the date the govern-mental body sent it or the request is considered automatically withdrawn.
  • If estimated costs exceed $100.00 (or $50.00 if a gov-ernmental body has fewer than 16 full time employees) the governmental body may require a bond, prepayment or deposit.
  • You may ask the governmental body to determine whether providing the information primarily benefits the general public, resulting in a waiver or reduction of charges.
  • Make a timely payment for all mutually agreed charges. A governmental body can demand pay-ment of overdue balances exceeding $100.00, or obtain a security deposit, before processing additional requests from you.

B. Information that may be withheld due to an exception

  • By the 10th business day after a governmental body receives your written request, a governmental body must:
    1. request an Attorney General opinion and state which exceptions apply;
    2. notify the requestor of the referral to the Attorney General; and
    3. notify third parties if the request involves their proprietary information.
  • Failure to request an Attorney General opinion and notify the requestor within 10 business days will result in a presumption that the information is open unless there is a compelling reason to withhold it.
  • Requestors may send a letter to the Attorney Gen-eral arguing for release, and may review argu-ments made by the governmental body. If the arguments disclose the requested information, the requestor may obtain a redacted copy.
  • The Attorney General must issue a decision no later than the 45th working day from the day after the attorney general received the request for a deci-sion. The attorney general may request an addi-tional 10 working day extension.
  • Governmental bodies may not ask the Attorney General to reconsider” an opinion.