SRO housing organization shows how to earn community support

Houston’s New Hope Housing is a leader in providing a solution to homelessness through building and managing Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing. They were doing this work long before the federal government came to understand that the provision of permanent, affordable housing is the essential basis for ending homelessness.

New Hope has built and operated small scale SRO developments that have made believers out of everyone who have seen or lived in them. They emphasize the quality of the physical design of their housing. I don’t think the importance of good design can be overestimated. It transforms the attitudes of both residents of the housing as well as the community.

The latest proof is the public reaction to a story in the Houston Chronicle this week.

I make a habit of reading the comments about housing stories posted by readers on newspaper web sites. It is a way to gauge the most extreme negative reactions in the community toward housing programs. These comments offer a depressing and often alarming insight into just how reactionary, racist and hateful some Texans are and show low-income housing seems to bring out those feelings.

A testament to the broad appeal of the housing developed by New Hope can be found in the reader comments about this week’s story about New Hope’s SROs. The readers are supportive of New Hope’s approach to affordable housing.

With NIMBY and other forms of community opposition derailing affordable housing across the state, the Texas housing community should study and learn from New Hope’s success.