Harris County Offers New Housing Search Tool

The Harris County Housing Resource Center is offering a new search tool that should make it easier for Katrina evacuees and others to find affordable housing. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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The search tool is part of the Housing Resource Center's website and is a new way for people looking for affordable housing to find a place that feeds their needs.

"Housing is very, very difficult to find. With all the different pockets, with all the different neighborhoods, cultures and people need to be able to zero in and find affordable housing."

Housing Resource Center Manager Barbara Manousso says the new search tool allows users to quickly narrow down where they'd like to live and how much they can afford.

"The properties are then sifted, sorted and a list will come up on-screen. So it really takes the legwork and the apprehension and the blindness out of finding good, appropriate safe and affordable housing."

Most of the apartments listed on the search tool rent for between $385 and $700 a month.

"These aren't properties that realtors are going to be handling because they're the low-end, there's little incentive for them. So we see a great need to help keep our residents, or potential residents, connected to good quality affordable housing."

Daphne Lemelle is the Deputy Director of the Harris County Community and Economic Development Department, the agency funding the search tool. She says about 3200 available units are listed.

"We have been advertising this to landlords and property managers to list their affordable housing properties. This is a free service, so we are extending that call to all affordable housing owners and property managers to list their properties because the more properties we have listed that are available, the more beneficial it is to persons looking for that affordable housing."

The search tool is free can be found on the Housing Research Center website at hrc.hctx.net.

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