On March 28, Texas Housers was given the honor of accepting the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Resident Organizing Award in Washington D.C. for our work with the 12 Moms initiative. Ericka Bowman, our lead coordinator with the moms, accepted and spoke about the project’s work organizing tenants to improve the conditions of HUD-subsidized homes. One of the 12 Moms, Daija Jackson, was in attendance alongside Ericka to accept the honor and raise further awareness of their mission.
“I never expected to be a part of anything like this until I met Texas Housers. You have a bigger voice when you come together,” Jackson told the audience. “You are more powerful than you think you are. You don’t have to live in terrible conditions. You can organize… Just because you’re low-income doesn’t mean you have to live like this.”
The initiative began in 2018 with a goal of recruiting and working with 12 women with children living in HUD-subsidized homes to elevate their voices around the poor conditions of those homes. The initial focus was on two apartment complexes where we knew conditions were particularly dangerous and posed significant risk to tenants. These conditions include mold, decaying walls, and pests that negatively affect residents’ health. 12 Moms educates women with children about how they can advocate for change.
“12 Moms plans to continue to develop tenant leaders to demand safe and decent subsidized housing and make their voices heard in promoting a more equitable Houston,” said Texas Housers Houston and Southeast Texas Co-Director Zoë Middleton. “We will utilize the national platform of this award to draw attention to the dangerous living conditions of many federally-subsidized housing properties. We will continue to call on HUD and the City of Houston to invest in the well-being of thousands of families and improve conditions that negatively affect residents’ health.”
The NLIHC 2019 Housing Policy Forum also honored Mutual Housing California for organizing low-income residents to increase voter participation and win ballot initiatives for more affordable housing resources in their state.
“These organizations are examples of what happens when residents are supported in their efforts to advocate for more affordable and decent housing,” NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel said. “Texas Housers helped to shift power by supporting efforts of tenants living in subsidized housing to improve the quality of their homes.”
The moms are joining the robust chorus of many tenants in HUD-subsidized homes across the country in fighting to make sure HUD honors its continuing obligation to provide decent safe homes.