Housing and Community Development Department

Press Release

Houston Remains on the Cutting Edge of Accessible Affordability

July 15, 2016 -- The City of Houston’s single-family home reconstruction program has been recognized as a national model by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for its innovative approach to affordable and accessible home design. HUD announced Thursday that Houston is one of four cities in the country to receive a 2016 HUD Secretary’s Housing and Community Design Award. Houston’s award is in the Community-Informed Design category and recognizes the city’s collaborative effort with architectural design firm bcWorkshop to engage the community in the design of homes rebuilt with Disaster Recovery Round 2 (DR2) funds from HUD.

“We are one city and creating complete communities for Houstonians is a top priority,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Accessible and affordable housing will remain on the forefront of our agenda as Houston continues to position itself as an international city and compete on a global level. We will continue to pursue innovative strategies and focused implementation.”

“These winners prove that affordable and accessible housing can become part of the fabric of any neighborhood and reinforce the principles of inclusiveness and opportunity,” said HUD Secretary Julian Castro.

The DR2 single-family home program is the first of its kind for the city’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCD). Working with architects from bcWorkshop, HCD engaged residents in the architectural design and decorating options for their homes. The participants collaborated to create home designs that reflect the culture and character of each of the target neighborhoods, called Community Revitalization Areas (CRAs). The CRAs had previously been selected through an extensive community engagement process that included 13 community meetings attended by over 500 unduplicated participants.

This process created community and participant buy-in, resulting in overwhelming satisfaction by the impacted homeowners. “I just wanted to write and tell you how happy I am with my new home,” wrote Vollie Franklin, in a note reflective of many received by HCD. “A total home renovation is an overwhelming undertaking, and the end result is that our home is more beautiful than we had dreamed,” Franklin said.

Franklin is one of 275 homeowners whose homes are being renovated or reconstructed as part of the Disaster Recover Round 2 program. Additionally, in partnership with private developers, the city is creating 1,088 new multifamily apartment units to preserve affordable housing options in the CRAs. In the earlier HUD-funded Disaster Recovery Round 1 program, the city assisted 2,950 families impacted by Hurricane Ike.

New HCD Director Tom McCasland is dedicated to maintaining the momentum created by these programs. During his first week on the job, McCasland gathered the HCD troops and made his intentions clear saying, “I know first-hand the importance of affordable housing and the difference it makes. I am committed to utilizing our resources to attack the affordable housing issue.”