Home Ownership Improves Houston Neighborhood

Does affordable housing help low-income neighborhoods improve? That's the question one organization is trying to answer with new data from a five-year research project.

The Ryon subdivision is an older neighborhood just north of Downtown.

It was targeted by the Avenue Community Development Corporation as an area to increase home ownership among
low-income residents.

Mary Lawler runs the organization and says they renovated or built 44 affordable houses in the area and then tracked
the condition of all 304 properties in the subdivision for the past five years.

“Over this five year period, of course the homes that we were building were an improvement, but in addition the houses around the homes we were building were also improved.”

Avenue CDC scores the homes based on the categories of paint, foundation, porch, windows/doors/siding/roofing and

Lawler says 55 percent of homes in the area are classified in good condition, that’s a 22 percent improvement from when
they started the survey in 2007.

“We felt sure that they were going to lead to these for the community, but we didn’t have the proof. And so now we have a study, we have this terrific data which is really showing that the homes we develop are great for the families who are able to move into them, but that we’re also having this larger, positive impact on the surrounding community.”

Lawler says the average buyer of a CDC home is a family of four with an annual income of $30-40,000.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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