On October 31, the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service will honor four outstanding individuals and one remarkable institution at the annual Texas Houser Awards. The awards recognize those committed to the cause of housing justice, and our five honorees this year are strong advocates and legendary leaders in expanding 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 2017 Housers:
Executive Director of the Austin Tenants Council
Ms. Gonzales has years of nonprofit management experiences and has been fighting for social justice in some form for much of her career — be it women’s health or in housing. Her work includes going to court to tenants without hot water, community meetings with tenants displaced by new development, and relaunching an Austin Tenants Council pilot program that assists residents with past housing debt. She has been a strong voice in the state legislature, fighting against bills that harm some of he most vulnerable tenants, including tenants with low incomes and disabilities.
Executive Director of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
David Hall has spent more than 40 years leading Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. He has fought for justice for migrant farm workers along the U.S.-Mexico border, residents lacking clean water and adequate sanitation services, and communities seeking equitable disaster recovery in South Texas. Texas Housers co-director John Henneberger said that in Hall’s legendary career, he has never backed away from a fight. “David and the people he leads at TRLA are legendary in Texas colonias, barrios and poor neighborhoods for their aggressive, fearless, first-rate lawyering for the most impoverished and oppressed Texans.”
Executive director of the Dallas-based Texas Tenants Union
Ms. Rollins has demonstrated her fierce commitment to tenant rights in Texas since 1979. She has helped thousands of Texas renters protect themselves from being taken advantage of by landlords, has organized community members to improve living conditions in affordable housing in Dallas and has held city officials accountable for decisions that infringe on tenants rights or low-income communities. Recently, she and other organizing partners led the charge in presenting a landlord that mostly rents low-income apartments in West Dallas with a community-driven plan, demanding the landlord incorporate tenants’ voices in plans for redeveloping the neighborhood.
NAACP and Legal Aid of Northwest Texas
Rose Wilson was born in Bryan, Texas in 1927. Most of her life, she has worked for equity and justice for African Americans in Texas, sometimes standing up as the lone voice for equal access to education, housing, and voting rights for her community in Lubbock. Ms. Wilson had served as the president of the NAACP Lubbock chapter for decades and is currently a client representative for Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. She has also served on numerous boards of directors for community organizations and commissions, including the Lubbock County Criminal Justice Commission, the Community Housing Resource Board of Lubbock and the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation.
The Houston Chronicle
TxLIHIS believes that that the work of the Chronicle‘s news and editorial staff this past year is truly deserving of this honor. From the incredible investigative work of City housing programs to moving features on tenants in need and in-depth reporting on the Fountain View case and the impacts of the federal civil rights finding, to the editorial team’s strong support for fair housing, the Chronicle has provided invaluable coverage to help readers understand metro Houston’s critical fair and affordable housing issues.