February 6, 2013
The Galveston Housing Authority has stepped up security following a threat in their office building, prompting complaints that the community was left in the dark about the reason for the change.
Mona Purgason, deputy executive director of the Galveston Housing Authority, said the agency temporarily is requiring visitors to its office and meeting space to present a photo ID in order to enter. She said the ID requirement was prompted by a security threat made at the Island Community Center. GHA shares office space at the center with other community organizations.
The threat was not made public by the GHA nor any police or local news agency. It was first reported Monday in a story by the Houston Chronicle.
Purgason said officials at community center decided to heighten the building security after a threat was made to an employee of another agency in the facility at 4700 Broadway.
"As a result, we tightened security in the building," Purgason said of the GHA office. "It's a temporary measure to protect the people who are leasing in the building, as a safety precaution." GHA officials also have hired additional security, she said.
Some Galveston community leaders have raised concerns that they were not told why photo IDs were being required at GHA, including at a public meeting held there on Jan. 28.
"To have to show an ID at a public meeting is ridiculous, unless there was some type of threat," said Leon Phillips, president of the Galveston County Coalition for Justice. "If not, then why are they doing it? They're taking your ID and writing down your name and address. What are they going to use this information for?