A Little Louder Podcast

A Little Louder is a podcast from Texas Housers, hosted by John Henneberger and Christina Rosales. We talk about fair housing, community development and community efforts to work toward just cities and inclusive neighborhoods.

Here is our latest episode:

Episode 38: The American Rescue Plan Act and Tenants’ Rights – On this episode, John is joined by Texas Housers Advocacy Director David Wheaton to give us an update on Texas allocating zero dollars for housing in its American Rescue Plan Act funds and how a coalition of housing organizations are choosing to act now. Texas Housers’ Southeast Texas Co-Director Julia Orduña also joins the show to talk about updates with the Texas Rent Relief and Emergency Rental Assistance programs respectively and the urgency to prioritize low-income renters in certain cities and counties.

Past Episodes

Episode 1: What Clarksville can teach us about community preservation and displacement – Our debut episode about #OpportunityZones , preserving freedmen’s towns, and gentrification.

Episode 2: Integration Now: How inclusive communities promote options and opportunity – Texas Housers discusses residential integration with Demetria McCain of the Inclusive Communities Project in Dallas and how the nonprofit approaches neighborhood equity, mobility and housing choice.

Episode 3: How to avoid disaster recovery Groundhog Day – On what SB289 could do for Texans forced to wait years for recovery help, like one Houston resident, Deetra Harris. We also talk to a few of the experts who helped develop a pilot program for what a “precovery” plan – planning for recovery long before the disaster strikes – could be and how it worked in the Rio Grande Valley.

Episode 4: Home matters – We interview Texas Housers analyst Beth Legg about a demonstration project in San Antonio that could allow families with Housing Choice Vouchers to access high-opportunity neighborhoods by increasing the rent portion covered with a voucher. We also talk to Martha Sanchez of La Union del Pueblo Entero about how a federal mortgage assistance program in the 1980s changed the life trajectory for her three children.

Episode 5: Lubbock and the people’s pursuit for equal air – We discuss a proposed military base tenant bill of rights and a book called Separate: The Story of Plessy V. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation. We also take a deep dive into some of Texas Housers’ latest work in Lubbock Texas.

Episode 6: The Houser guide to the 86th Texas Legislature Texas Housers highlights some noteworthy housing bills proposed in the 2019 legislative session. Some promote quality housing and tenant rights. Others not so much. We also discuss low-income housing tax credit corruption and shortages in affordable housing.

Episode 7: The struggle for neighborhood history, the fight for neighborhood future – Texas Housers interviews members of the 10th Street Residential Association who discuss their experience in preserving their historical status and their continued struggle to ensure the future of their neighborhood, settled more than a century ago by freed slaves.

Episode 8: CDBG 101 -John Henneberger and Karen Paup, co-directors of Texas Housers, discuss how advocates and community members can help steer Community Development Block Grants back on track to its original goals to serve low-income communities.

Episode 9: Galveston’s Subsidized Housing Crisis – Texas Housers talks to community navigator Ericka Bowman who has been engaging Galveston residents of subsidized housing at Sandpiper Cove, as well as Sarah Smith of the Houston Chronicle about her coverage of the apartment complex. John and Christina also discuss a language justice campaign in the Rio Grande Valley. 

Episode 10: Inside HUD’s plan that may threaten mixed-status families – Texas Housers breaks down HUD’s new proposed rule to evict families from subsidized housing if a member of the family is an immigrant without legal status.

Episode 11: The Roundabout Way We Subsidize Affordable Housing – John and Christina talk to Texas Housers analyst J.T. Harechmak about how low-income housing tax credits work and the implications of a program often driven by business interests.

Episode 12: Juneteenth and Texas Freedom Colonies – Dr. Andrea Roberts of the Texas Freedom Colonies Project speaks with us about the often missed distinction between freedman’s towns and freedom colonies, the history of these neighborhoods, what needs to be done to ensure they thrive, and much more.

Episode 13: Where do the 2020 presidential candidates stand on housing? – We take a look at what each candidate has said about their stances on affordable housing, homeownership, tenant protections, fair housing and addressing homelessness. 

Episode 14: Sonido del Agua Part 1 – A deep dive into the multi-year drainage campaign that improved infrastructure for multiple colonias in the Rio Grande Valley. Texas Housers interviews community leaders Alberta Ramirez and Ana Maria Gonzalez, former Texas Houser Josué Ramirez, and LUPE organizing coordinator Martha Sanchez. 

Episode 15: Sonido del Agua Part 2 – This episode tells the story of how a community came together to write and produce a conjunto music album called Sonido del Agua, rooted in their experiences with deluge, drainage, and fighting to get the infrastructure to protect them from the next flood.

Episode 16: The House of Cards America Built – Texas Housers sat down with Giorgio Angelini, director of the film Owned: A Tale of Two Americas, to explore how the commodification of housing has distorted communities and the American ideals of opportunity and integration.

Episode 17: When Highways Threaten Our Legacy – On this episode, we spoke with residents of Independence Heights in Houston about the systematic erosion of this historic neighborhood for highway expansion among many other issues.

Episode 18: The Power of Renters – Texas Housers talked to tenants in Austin who are demanding that landlords, city officials, and fellow Texans pay attention to the power of renters and support a movement that centers human dignity in all housing. 

Episode 19: Disaster recovery is leaving out renters – Texas Housers researcher Amelia Adams discusses patterns that put renters at a disadvantage in hurricane recovery compared with homeowners. We also talk to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid attorney Rachel Zummo about a lawsuit filed by TRLA on behalf of renters who describe the inequitable system of recovery a fair housing issue.

Episode 20: A look at RAD Conversion – This episode, we speak with a resident about how the long process of RAD conversion at a Fort Worth apartment complex has worked for her. We also discuss the merits of RAD conversion and what the shift from public housing to privatized housing means for our housing safety net.

Episode 21: The stink of unequal sewage – Our advocacy co-director Lauren Loney speaks about the recent consent decree filed by City of Houston, EPA, and the TCEQ addressing Clean Water Act violations in the City’s waste water infrastructure, as well as our own public comments and pushback on the slow walk to environmental justice. Kristen Schlemmer from Bayou City Waterkeeper also joins the podcast to talk about what she’s learned with these sewage backups, and the groundswell to address these issues.

Episode 22: Creosote in Greater Fifth Ward – We speak with several of the people who have been working to fight for environmental justice in Fifth Ward, with regard to the creosote contamination, including Rodrigo Cantú of Lone Star Legal Aid, Sandra Small of Impact Greater 5th Ward, environmental scientist Dr. Jacqueline Smith, and our own research associate in Houston, Sophie Dulberg.

Episode 23: The Mandate to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing – Fair housing expert, civil rights attorney, and former HUD official Betsy Julian joins us to talk about how the mandate to affirmatively further fair housing has historically been ignored and how advocates have risen up to make sure the vision of an integrated, inclusive America is not forgotten. 

Episode 24: Free Our People – Texas Housers talks to disability rights advocate and organizer Stephanie Thomas, with ADAPT of Texas to discuss how the fight for equitable public transportation in Texas led to a greater struggle for civil rights, community inclusion, and decent, accessible housing. 

Episode 25: A Voice for San Antonio Renters – In San Antonio, a proposed commission of renters is seeking confirmation to advise the city on tenant issues and housing policy in order to provide a forum for tenants to voice their concerns and be represented in their city’s decision-making processes. We speak with tenants, city councilors, and supporters in their fight.

Episode 26: Don’t eat the toxic fish – Texas Housers talks to Josué Ramirez who helped lead a local campaign in the Rio Grande Valley to amplify the voices and concerns of residents and demand action on the chemicals in Donna Lake that was long overdue. 

Episode 27: Addressing ‘The Gap’ for Low-Income Renters – John and Christina were joined this week by Andrew Aurand, Vice President for Research at the National Low Income Housing Coalition, to discuss their 2020 edition of the Gap Report. This deep study into the shortage for rental units for extremely low-income renters exposes some harsh realities for us here in the Lone Star State. Aurand also offered what solutions are needed to help shorten this gap, including exercising local, state, and federal power to help our most vulnerable community members.

Episode 28: The COVID-19 housing crisis – John and Christina are joined on this week by Shamus Roller, Executive Director of the National Housing Law Project to help sort through what moratoriums on evictions mean and what in the $2 trillion stimulus goes to housing. We are also joined by our community navigator Ericka Bowman, as she tells us what low-income families in Houston and Galveston are experiencing.

Episode 29: The trouble with PFCs – John and Christina are back for a new season of A Little Louder! This episode dives into public facility corporations and how they are not living up to their promise of providing affordable housing. Heather Way from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law joins us to talk about the ways PFCs are being exploited and her recent report on the issue.

Episode 30: Who is this housing for and where does it go? – Every year, Texas receives millions of dollars in tax credits to help developers build affordable housing. It’s big money and a highly competitive process. The formula that decides who gets the federal subsidies in Texas is called the Qualified Allocation Plan, which is drafted by our state housing agency, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. We speak with Texas Houser Elizabeth Roehm to break down what’s new in the 2021 proposed QAP and challenge some new proposed rules that could curb opportunity for Texas tenants.

Episode 31: Housing Segregation, George Floyd, and Honoring True Housers – For our latest episode of A Little Louder, John and Christina experiment with a unique format. They discuss what they’re reading, lift up the work of some great Housers, calling out stuff that “ain’t right,” and providing brief history lessons in the housing world. We also give a preview of the 2020 Houser Awards on Nov. 10.

Episode 32: Searching For A Landlord To Take My Voucher – John and Christina speak with a voucher holder from Dallas to learn about her journey facing source of income discrimination while searching for affordable housing. We also hear from Demetria McCain from Inclusive Communities Project to talk about her organization’s latest report on landlords and their refusal to accept vouchers.

Episode 33: Relief for renters during a pandemic –  John and Christina bring in Texas Housers policy analyst Eli Barrish to talk about what the federal rental relief stimulus package that provides $25 billion in rental assistance and extends the CDC ban on evictions through Jan. 31 will mean for Texans. They also touch on the state of eviction protections and rental relief, and how Texas Housers is working to keep Texans safe and housed. 

Episode 34: President Biden’s Executive Orders On Housing – A new year and a new President in the White House brings new possibilities for affordable and fair housing. On this episode, John and Christina discuss the executive orders that the Biden Administration issued on their first day, what impacts they will have, and what needs to happen going forward. They also put this move toward housing justice in historical context with the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Episode 35: Eviction Courtwatch During COVID-19 The CDC moratorium should protect many individuals who appear before a Justice of the Peace due to non-payment of rent. However, far too many defendants and even some judges are not aware of the extent of these protections. Ally and Julia tell A Little Louder about what they have observed, the Houston Eviction Solidarity Network and other volunteer programs like it that are court watching, and what needs to change.

Episode 36: Who Can Afford The Rent In Texas? – The National Low Income Housing Coalition has released its Out of Reach report for 2021 and John and Christina are back in studio to discuss how Texas fits into the analysis. Turns out, low-wage workers have a hard time finding affordable housing in Texas, with very little help from state government. The A Little Louder hosts are joined by Texas Housers Senior Research Analyst Ben Martin who helps dissect Out of Reach ’21 and what can be done to fix this critical issue for far too many Texans.

Episode 37: ERA and the Eviction Crisis in Texas

John is back in the studio and he is joined by several Housers to talk about rent relief and evictions in Texas. With the CDC moratorium on evictions ending in late August, courtesy of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, many tenants are in danger of becoming unhoused or doubling up with family or friends, further endangering their safety as well as that of others. The sole measure that can protect renters now is the prompt delivery of rent assistance, so they may pay their back rent.

Texas Housers has been tracking how quickly and equitably this rent relief has been reaching tenants, in particular low-income households and households of color, and we have released our most recent findings in the report “Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in Texas Vol.2”. Senior researcher Ben Martin, research analyst and report author Erin Hahn, Southeast Texas regional director Julia Orduña, and community navigator Ally Harris all join John on the podcast to talk about how rent relief and other eviction diversion tactics are playing out in local government and in households across the state

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