We develop model solutions to Texas’ critical housing and community development problems through a self-help approach. Our recent areas of work illustrate how we turn problems into opportunities.
Helping low-income community organizations build homes
Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (TxLIHIS) assists low-income neighborhood organizations in award winning programs. These programs have built more than 2000 homes for low-income families, preserved historic communities and created affordable housing for as little as $100 a month.
Bringing people together to solve community problems
We provide support for the Texas Housing Forum. The Forum’s premise is that affordable housing and quality neighborhoods will become a priority only when a broad group of Texans, who are committed to housing, provide leadership to address common concerns. By fostering mutual respect and accountability among housing leaders, the Housing Forum creates new avenues for communication and actively organizes to address housing needs. Working with the Housing Forum, we are laying the foundation for elevating housing to a priority in Texas.
Supporting farm workers and border residents to solve problems
A major part of our work is organizing and supporting low-income communities so they can solve their own housing and community development problems. Impoverished colonias along the Texas-Mexico border have organized themselves through our Iniciativa Frontera project. This nationally acclaimed project has created community-led organizations that have produced hundreds of safe, affordable homes. The project focuses on self-help construction, obtaining water service, paving roads and building bathrooms for families without indoor plumbing. Managing a mortgage portfolio is central to the success of the effort along the border. TXLIHIS is also working to improve housing for migrant farm workers in the Texas Panhandle.
Fixing public housing from the inside out
Substandard public housing is one of America’s most vexing housing issues. We work with public housing resident leaders to document poor living conditions, plan for revitalization and train residents to lead the fight to improve their housing. A significant accomplishment in this arena is an agreement that we helped public housing residents negotiate with the City of Fort Worth, allowing residents to move into quality housing in integrated :ieighborhoods of their choosing.
Providing accurate, easily understood help and information
Housing and community development policies and programs are complex, frequently changing and often confusing to both low-income people and the general public. We cut through the complexity and red tape, providing accurate, easily understandable information about housing needs and programs. We distribute information through special reports, press releases and our interactive Texas Housing Counselor web site.
From the 1,800 low-income people completing Housing Counselor sessions each week to find affordable housing, to helping a tenant in a dispute with a landlord through our state-of-the-art Texas Tenant Advisor, to the reporter on a deadline, our nationally recognized web site is a vital information resource.
Serving as a watchdog over government housing programs
We have a successful track record as both a public interest research organization and an independent, aggressive monitor of government housing and community development programs. Our joint study of the Texas housing agency’s home lending record with the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin, discovered that the agency was not lending to low-income families. Six months later, the Legislature abolished that agency and created a new one explicitly charged with addressing the problems raised by our study. Since we identified the explosive growth of poverty in Texas colonias, the Legislature has allocated almost $50 million for colonias housing programs.