City of Houston and Harmony House Break Ground on New 128-Bed Dormitory-Style Residence for Working Men Experiencing Homelessness
City of Houston is investing over $6.8 million in local homelessness intervention agency Harmony House to create a new building, which will provide homes and wrap-around social services for working, previously homeless men.
On March 24, 2021, local community service agency Harmony House hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the development of a new three-story, 128-bed dormitory-style facility that will provide homes and supportive services to working men who are experiencing homelessness. More than sixty people safely attended the groundbreaking, including District H City Council Member Karla Cisneros and Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) Director Tom McCasland. When completed, the new 14,000+ square foot building just north of downtown Houston will include amenities such as a computer lab, a community kitchen, and an expanded Open Access Clinic staffed around the clock.
“Reducing homelessness and housing instability continue to be my administration’s top priority,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Harmony House is yet another vital project strategically designed to enhance and increase our comprehensive, community-driven efforts to not only reduce homelessness but prevent it in the first place. Creating affordable housing for working-class individuals facing housing instability is a win-win for a stronger, healthier, and more resilient Houston.”
Harmony House has operated a dormitory-style supportive housing model for 25 years and is well-equipped to serve more Houstonians in the years to come. “Harmony House has a very long and successful history of meeting the specific needs of individuals experiencing homelessness and helping them get back on their feet. With the support of the City of Houston’s investment, Harmony House will be able to significantly expand their ability to help formerly homeless men,” said Council Member Cisneros.
Developments like Harmony House have proven effective at helping individuals find and maintain long-term homes. Over the last decade, 96% of those who have entered a rapid-rehousing or permanent supportive development were able to maintain safe homes. Model programs such as Harmony House are helping to break cycles of housing insecurity and resource inequalities for Houston workers. “In a community that properly values labor and the humanity of all our residents, homelessness is an eminently solvable problem,” said Tom McCasland, Director of the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD). “Until we become such a community, our department will support organizations like Harmony House so that ‘working Houstonians’ are never ‘homeless Houstonians.’”
The City of Houston provided over 75% of Harmony House’s funding, primarily through local Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ), which sets aside neighborhood property tax to create and maintaining affordable homes for residents. Other public facilities projects are ongoing throughout the city to support homelessness interventions, supportive service centers, neighborhood needs such as grocery stores and parks, and storm resiliency infrastructure. To learn more about recent public facilities and those in progress, please visit https://houstontx.gov/housing/amenities.html.
The City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) makes long-term investments to better the lives of Houston residents by creating opportunities for every Houstonian to have a safe home they can afford, in a community where they can thrive. Our department receives over $100 million in federal, state, and local funding annually to construct and maintain affordable homes, reduce barriers to homeownership, support the work of social service providers, build public amenities, and facilitate disaster recovery efforts. Learn more about our programs and resources for Houstonians at www.houstontx.gov/housing.