First Affordable Housing Developments in Houston for Nonprofit Housing Organization

[Photo 1: Raynold Richardson receives plaque from Rick Whittingham and Jennifer Chester]
(l to r) Raynold Richardson, Director, HUD Houston Multifamily Housing Program Center; Rick Whittingham, Senior Vice President, Finance, National CORE; and Jennifer Chester, National CORE National Policy Director. Director Richardson receives plaque on behalf of HUD.

HUD Houston Multifamily Housing Program Center Director Raynold Richardson celebrated with more than 600 people living in two Project Based Section 8 apartment communities during back-to-back grand opening events. The grand openings commemorated two developments that restored 240 homes from dilapidated, moldy units into shining new residences.

National Community Renaissance (National CORE), a nonprofit affordable housing developer based in southern California, hosted the two grand openings. The events marked the organization's first completed developments in the state of Texas. Both projects transformed severely unhealthy and blighted apartment communities and preserved affordable housing for 240 families. The extensive renovations included completely gutting the interior of the apartments and replacing floors, windows, appliances, plumbing fixtures, lighting and more. Improvements to the exterior buildings were also completed, as well as complete rehabilitation and expansion of the community centers.

The grand opening celebration for Lexington Square, an 80-unit development, was held on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 1324 East Hospital Drive in the Houston suburb of Angleton. The following day, residents and other guests celebrated the grand opening of Sunflower Terrace, a 160-unit development located at 5050 Sunflower Street in the city of Houston.

"These grand openings marked the company's first completed developments in the state of Texas," said National CORE National Policy Director Jennifer Chester. "While it is a historic time for our organization, it also marks a new opportunity for the more than 400 children who live onsite. They will be able to grow up in a positive, healthy, environment. This is a great day for all of us."

[Photo 2: Sunflower Terrace residents participant in celebration activities]
Sunflower Terrace residents enjoy grand opening celebration activities
[Photo 3: Sunflower Terrace residents participant in celebration activities]
Sunflower Terrace residents enjoy grand opening celebration activities

Part of the improvements and amenities include an expanded community center and new computer lab at each site. Currently National CORE and its partner organization Hope Through Housing Foundation (Hope) are seeking opportunities to implement after school programs in the new centers.

"National CORE and Hope believe in holistic and long-term solutions to community development," said Hope Executive Director George Searcy. "Once a family is able to meet basic needs such as a clean, safe place to live, they are then able to take advantage of opportunities such as youth academic enrichment programs, which Hope provides."

The developments were funded through a combination of finance sources. Besides a traditional mortgage, Lexington Square used funding from the Tax Credit Exchange program (TCEP) administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) and funding from HUD's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG DR) program administered by the Texas General Land Office. Sunflower Terrace utilized financing from the City of Houston's Housing and Community Development Department, HUD's HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program and a permanent loan provided by Wells Fargo and the Houston HUD office.

"The community truly came together to make these projects feasible," said Chester. "From the federal, county, city and grassroots levels, everyone contributed to make this a reality."


Content Archived: February 26, 2014