Six years ago, high hopes went into the conversion of 80 wooded acres off Little York in northeast Houston. The plan was to turn the vacant land into a 375 home community.
But the Leland Woods neighborhood hit a road block after 41 homes were built. Credit markets dried up and builders got scared and left.
Now the neighborhood has come back to life. Chris Butler is with the City of Houston's Department of Housing and Community Development.
"When we entered this program six years ago, it wasn't really a community. It was just a bunch of houses that somebody dropped on the ground. The original developer and builder had kind of dumped this back in the city's lap and walked away. And it's taken us six years to actually get a new developer and new builder to come in here and to reinvest in this community."
Workforce Housing Down Payment Assistance was created to provide families, whose combined annual income is 80% less than that Houston's median income, with direct financial assistance. It will offset portions of the down payment with closing costs and pre-paid items and principal required for home purchase.
District B Council Member Jerry Davis grew up near Leland Woods. He says TIRZ, the tax increment reinvestment zone, is helping with revitalization and giving residents a chance to own the American dream.
"The mayor and council felt that would be good for this northeast community to reap the benefits, and let the money stay over here."
Fourteen Houston families who have qualified will be closing as first time homeowners before the end of the month.