A Little Louder Podcast

Episode 41: Houston’s Dangerous Apartment Problem Part 1 – A Little Louder is launching a new miniseries on substandard housing in Texas and this episode kicks off the special project with Professor Heather K. Way talking about her in-depth report regarding housing in the Sunnyside area of Houston. In this 2017 presentation to residents and community leaders of Sunnyside, Professor Way talks about the months-long study about the dangerous apartment epidemic in Houston, the City of Houston’s role in this epidemic, and what should happen to fix the issue.

Episode 42: Expanding The Rights of Tenants In Austin with BASTA – On this episode, John is joined by Shoshana Krieger of BASTA Austin who stops by to talk about the fights for tenants’ rights happening in both Austin City Council and alongside fellow organizers on the ground. Krieger spoke with us about demanding more protections for tenants in Austin and the hurdles BASTA faces individually as renters as well as a progressive organization in a tenant-hostile state.

Episode 43: What could a Tenant Bill of Rights do for San Antonio? – Texas Housers, alongside community members and Texas Organizing Project, have strongly declared together that San Antonio needs a Tenant Bill of Rights. We outlined on our blog what the items in a Tenant Bill of Rights in San Antonio would be, but what does that look like in detail? On this episode of A Little Louder, John is joined by Texas Housers’ advocacy director David Wheaton and Texas Organizing Project‘s Geoffrey Okolo to explain how a Tenant Bill of Rights could effect real, practical change in the city of San Antonio.

Episode 44: Issues with Texas Rent Relief – John explores issues we have heard personally, as well as in the media, regarding the Texas Rent Relief program. While it has been stellar in distributing funds quickly to those who need it, how can they improve accuracy and targeting? And how can we ensure that those seeking help aren’t lost in the shuffle and displaced from their homes? We’re joined by Texas Housers eviction prevention specialist Tori Tavormina and research analyst Erin Hahn to learn more.

Episode 45: Texas GLO and Discrimination – John is joined by Texas Housers’ Advocacy Director David Wheaton on this episode to discuss the recent final determination from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that the Texas General Land Office discriminated against Black and Hispanic Texans in their distribution of CDBG-MIT funds to protect their neighborhoods from future storms and disasters. John and David break down the creation of these dollars, how the discrimination happened, and what needs to come next to protect these neglected communities.

Episode 46: Intro to the Houser Academy – John welcomes Texas Housers educator Riley Metcalfe to the show to talk about the Houser Academy, our tenant-focused initiative centered on gathering budding advocates from around the state to consolidate people power. We explore the origins of the Houser Academy, what this second year of the project is seeking to accomplish, and how Texas Housers wants newcomers to get involved.

Episode 47: Homeowners Association fights against affordable housing – John welcomes Ann Lott from Inclusive Communities Project in Dallas as well as our advocacy director David Wheaton to talk about a troubling trend starting in Denton regarding Homeowners Associations. The local HOA for Providence Village determined last month that housing choice vouchers will no longer be accepted in their community and landlords who do will be fined for doing so. The bulk of recipients of HCVs in the area are Black families and the majority population of Providence Village are white, non-hispanic families.

Episode 48: Five Years Later, Harvey Forgotten Survivors Caucus Speaks -On this episode of A Little Louder, Texas Housers’ Southeast Texas Regional Director Julia Orduña joins fellow Houser and Communications Manager Michael Depland to explore more than just a simple look back at Hurricane Harvey, but the work that survivors have put in to seize their own power and make their homes whole again. Several members of the Harvey Forgotten Survivors Caucus sat with Julia for interviews to explain why the Caucus is so important and how they managed to keep organizing through COVID-19.

Buzz Session 5: Managing Code Violations in San Antonio – In A Little Louder Buzz Session #5, Texas Housers’ community equity analyst in San Antonio Uel Trejo was joined by communications manager Michael Depland to discuss her work in shaping this most recent SAPMC, how residents feel Code Enforcement abuses its power and does not provide residents proper information, and how everyone learn more about these sorts of violations.

Buzz Session 6: Breaking Down The QAP in 2023 – As the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) ramps up its process to update the rules and scoring criteria by which proposed Tax Credit developments are evaluated – one of the largest creators of affordable housing in the state of Texas – via the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP), Texas Housers has released a new report of recommendations to ensure that the best standards and most equitable guidelines are in place to build more affordable housing. Our research director Ben Martin joins the podcast in order to break down the recent report, declare what should change in the process in general, and how everyday people like you can join in the process to help shape affordable housing in Texas.

Episode 49: Let’s meet Texas Tenants For Change

Texas Housers communications manager Michael Depland speaks with two members of Texas Tenants For Change – Myra and Beeper. The two Houser Academy fellows talk about what went into forming a group, their common experiences as tenants despite living hundreds of miles away, and what they hope to accomplish with their foray into statewide advocacy, including their petition for tenants’ rights and livestreams to give voice to renters everywhere.

You can find the group’s petition here.

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Buzz Session 7: How did ERA really perform in Texas?

The Department of Treasury launched its Emergency Rental Assistance Program in March of 2021 with Texas receiving $2.4 billion dollars to aid with families and individuals struggling to stay housed during the pandemic. Now nearly 18 months later, Texas Housers has observed the manner in which the State of Texas and 37 localities within have distributed this essential rental assistance and closely reviewed 10 major programs in our latest report ‘Emergency Rental Assistance in Texas: How it went and what happens now.’

On today’s Buzz Session of A Little Louder, we hear from the report’s author, research analyst Erin Hahn, to ask her how the ERA program was seen in different regions of Texas, how the Federal government’s hands off approach had pros and cons, and what should be done to prevent displacement and evictions in the future using lessons from this program.

You can read the report on our blog and keep posted here on Texas Housers’ website for a companion report on evictions in January.