On November 9, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service will honor three outstanding community groups at the 2016 Texas Houser Awards. The awards recognize those committed to the cause of housing justice, and our three awardees this year are powerful examples of how low income residents and advocates can come together to expand housing opportunity and civil rights. We are proud to recognize them as Texas Housers.
The awards luncheon, held at the historic Zilker Clubhouse in Austin, is the major conclave of those committed to the advancement of housing justice around our state. You can become a sponsor of this year’s Texas Houser Awards, or register to attend, at our event page.
Let’s meet the 2016 Housers:
ARISE – A Resource In Serving Equality
Women and youth leaders in Rio Grande Valley colonias
A Resource In Serving Equality (ARISE) was founded in 1987 in Colonia Las Milpas in South Texas as a community support organization led by local women. Today, ARISE provides educational programs and leadership workshops, goes door-to-door and holds neighborhood meetings to address resident needs and concerns and leads campaigns to improve neighborhood conditions across four colonias. Recent efforts have focused on environmental justice for the colonias, including the cleanup of a Superfund site where residents go fishing and a campaign by a group of high school students, Jóvenes del Valle en Acción (pictured right), to eliminate a toxic city sewage lagoon in their community.
Corpus Christi Civil Rights Agreement
Attorneys Erin Gaines & Kelly Haragan and the Citizens Alliance for Fairness and Progress
Late last year, a first-of-its-kind civil rights, fair housing and environmental justice agreement was reached in Corpus Christi, in response to decades of mistreatment of a historic African-American neighborhood. The leaders of the Citizens Alliance (including Daniel Peña, Lamont Taylor and Rev. Adam Carrington pictured at right) worked with attorneys at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and the Environmental Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law to combat a plan to relocate and rebuild the Harbor Bridge so that it cut directly through the historically segregated, highly polluted neighborhoods of Hillcrest and Washington-Coles. The federal Title VI civil rights complaint filed on the community’s behalf resulted in a groundbreaking mitigation agreement that includes a voluntary relocation program for all Northside residents, financial assistance, public housing mobility, neighborhood improvements and more.
Sunnyside Neighborhood Plan, Houston
Debra Walker, JoAnn Burbridge and Pastor & Mrs. Price
For the past year, residents of the Sunnyside neighborhood in south Houston have been developing a comprehensive plan to shed light on the challenges facing the historic, predominantly African-American community and offer solutions. The Sunnyside Neighborhood Plan is a blueprint for community-powered change that examines the legacy of discrimination and disinvestment in the area and identifies ways to ensure the neighborhood is overlooked no more. Working with a core group of leaders (pictured at right with Texas Housers staff), neighbors brainstormed ideas for new programs and new investments could address issues including youth and education, crime and safety and community development, housing and infrastructure. The end result details the why of inequality and the how to fix it, including specific short- and long-term strategies to pressure the City of Houston for remediation.