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City of Houston channels disaster relief funds to build affordable housing

$12 million in funds will finance senior housing development for displaced African Americans

The NHP Foundation, a not-for-profit provider of affordable housing, announced Thursday that they received $12 million in federal disaster relief funds from the City of Houston’s Department of Housing and Community Development. The funds will be used to support the for NHP Foundation's ground-up construction in partnership with Change Happens CDC in Houston’s Third Ward.

“These funds are part of the federal disaster relief provided to the City Of Houston to aid in recovery from Hurricane Harvey. This project will, in part, replace housing stock destroyed by that storm,” said Tom McCasland, director of Housing and Community Development for the City of Houston. 

In addition to the disaster relief funds, the project will be financed through 4% and Low Income Housing Tax Credits and tax exempt bonds.

"The federal funds we've received from our partners at HUD have made it possible for us to focus much needed resources inside the city,” said Ray Miller, Commercial and Public Facilities Assistant director for the City of Houston. “This goes a long way towards preserving affordability as well as the cultural identity of our historic communities."

The planned 73 studio and one-bedroom rental units will be located at Elgin Street at Tierwester Street, and will have a planned theater, retail space, health provider space, recreational amenities and a fitness center. 

“It is part of our mission to benefit low income Houstonians, especially in an increasingly affluent neighborhood, where displacement was a real possibility,” said Neal Drobenare, Sr. VP of NHPF. “We are grateful that the City of Houston’s Disaster Relief fund deemed the project worthy.”

Rev. Leslie Smith II, founder and CEO of Change Happens CDC, said that they have been “buying crack houses and tearing them down for the past 30 years.”

Purchased by Change Happens CDC, these efforts were made as part of a decade-long effort to change and brighten up the neighborhood. 

“Gentrification is sweeping through the Third Ward displacing generations of African American families. By acting now in partnership with the NHP Foundation, we are able to provide some of the affordable housing needed to prevent that displacement,” Smith said.

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