The 2018 Texas Houser Award honorees are shifting paradigms and power in their daily work for community empowerment and housing justice, and yesterday, nearly 100 community advocates, supporters and the Texas Housers staff honored their contributions.
On Monday afternoon, Texas Housers honored:
Elaine Morales-Díaz, design manager at [bc]Workshop. Elaine leads [bc]’s disaster recovery work, including the Rapid Disaster Recovery Housing Program (RAPIDO), which in its previous pilot program in the Rio Grande Valley colonias enabled dozens of families post-Hurricane Dolly to secure decent homes that centered their needs in the design. For the past five years at [bc], Elaine has worked on projects and initiatives that promote equity and opportunity for low-income Texans, as well as advocating for just recovery processes that empower local communities to better prepare and recover from natural disasters. Elaine is now working to expand the RAPIDO model to Harvey hit areas, which in turn can help expand the model that promotes justice and dignity for disaster survivors by housing them quickly in a beautiful home that suits their needs.
Martha Sanchez, community organizing coordinator at La Union del Pueblo Entero. Martha has been organizing colonia residents in the Rio Grande Valley for nearly two decades, educating them about the roots of injustices they endure and bringing them to policy discussions with local officials to share their stories and demand change. Through her organizing and the work of La Union del Pueblo Entero, colonia residents have achieved better drainage protection in rural areas the flood frequently, Spanish translation for Hidalgo County public meetings, and recently more stringent Model Subdivision Rules, which will guide where future subdivisions can be developed and dramatically improve the quality of base-level public infrastructure the developer must provide. Her organizing work has helped boost policy expertise among residents as well as their power and capacity to advocate their own solutions to injustices.
West Street Recovery is a new grassroots group that mobilized during the torrential downpour of Hurricane Harvey to rescue people amid the rising flood water after the immediate crisis the group helped survivors rebuild their homes, one by one with the help of both community and strangers, establishing a network of people who want to see a survivor-centered disaster recovery. They have also worked to amplify the voices of hurricane survivors to advocate at the state and local level for a more equitable recovery that benefits communities of color and people with modest means.
Texas Housers marked its 30th anniversary as well as the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, reflecting on accomplishments of the houser community as a whole and the work still ahead.
Photos from the 2018 barbecue luncheon are below.
The Houser Awards are made possible by our generous sponsors and contributors:
Holly Bell and Matt Kaufmann
DMA Development Company LLC
William Forbath and Judith Coffin
McCann Adams Studio
Robert and Arlene Paup
Anonymous in honor of Robert Doggett
Covenant Community Capital
Laura B. Beshara and Michael M. Daniel, Daniel & Beshara, P.C.
Expanding Horizons Foundation
Housing Authority of the City of Austin
Ladies of Charity of Austin
Lower Valley Housing Corporation
Susan Moffat and Nick Barbaro
Elizabeth Mueller and Michael Oden
Joe and Janis Pinnelli
Sarah Andre | Clare Barry | Linda Baylor | Janee Briesmeister | Ruth Cedillo | Community Development Corporation of Brownsville | Fred and Jane Fuchs | Helen Gaebler | Tom Hatch | Hatch + Ulland Owen Architects | Andrew Homer | Joel Martinez and Frances Leos Martinez | Mark Mayfield | Bo McCarver | Standish Meacham | Elliott Naishtat | Rod Nelson | P.B. Construction | Joyce Pohlman | Ellen Richards | Thomas C. and Janice Robertson | Ruby Roa | Rex Spivey | Rafael Torres| Ignacio Treviño and Lourdes Flores | Shannon Van Zandt | Bob and Angie Ward | Heather Way and Bill Christian
Award artwork by Pat Bailey. Calligraphy by Kathy Tyler