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This isn't any where close to Midtown it is just 3 blocks west of Scott St and UH. It's actually in the 3rd Ward. I ride down this part of Elgin every time I go by UH.

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https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/housing/article/Houston-council-OKs-10M-in-Harvey-relief-funds-16251991.php

Houston council OKs $10M in Harvey relief funds for affordable housing complex in Third Ward

A rendering of The Citadel, an affordable housing complex for seniors planned for Elgin Street in Third Ward. The city voted Wednesday to use $10.2 million in Harvey relief funds to help finance the project.

A rendering of The Citadel, an affordable housing complex for seniors planned for Elgin Street in Third Ward. The city voted Wednesday to use $10.2 million in Harvey relief funds to help finance the project.

McGuinness, Dylan

Houston has allocated $10.3 million in Harvey relief funds to help finance a new, 74-unit affordable housing complex in Third Ward that elected leaders hope will help keep residents in their community.

City Council unanimously approved a measure without discussion Wednesday to spend the funds. The money represents about a third of the $28.2 million investment to begin building the complex in the 3300 block of Elgin Street, a few blocks from Jack Yates High School and Texas Southern University.

Change Happens CDC, a local nonprofit, is leading the development alongside The NHP Foundation, a national affordable housing organization. The development will sit next to the local nonprofit’s office building.

Rev. Leslie Smith, the CEO of Change Happens CDC, said The Citadel stems from a dream he had in 1982, in which he envisioned buying dilapidated crack houses and turning them into affordable housing. That dream evolved into wanting a bigger building to change more lives. He started buying up properties 11 years later, he said, and he has kept a rendering of The Citadel in his office for the last 15 years.

“If you can change a building, you can change a life,” Smith said. “Those units will be placed right here in what was a crack-infested part of Houston, which was the bottom. Now, we’re taking the bottom, and we’re making it the top.”

The city’s share of the money stems from an infusion of about $1.3 billion in federal housing relief after Hurricane Harvey. The city has reserved some $400 million of that money to replenish affordable housing stock wiped out in the storm. The funding for The Citadel comes in the third round of applications for that money.

Thirty-four developments were approved in the first two rounds, according to the housing department’s website. The department says they will result in 3,900 new rental homes, 85 percent of which are reserved for low- or moderate-income residents.

The Third Ward complex would reserve all 74 units for people who make under 80 percent of the area median income, which is roughly $63,000 for a Houston family of four. The units must remain affordable for 40 years.

Thirty-six of the units would be reserved for those who make less than 60 percent of the median, and 18 will be will be saved for those who make less than 30 percent of that amount, according to the city’s housing department. Another 8 units will be reserved for those who make 50 percent of the median, and 12 units for people who make less than 80 percent.

Smith said they hope to break ground in July and complete construction by the end of 2022. His organization owns the land and will lease it to the project. He said he owns roughly four blocks of that area.

City Councilmember Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, whose District D includes her native Third Ward, lauded the project and said she hopes it helps keep residents in their longtime neighborhoods.

“I want folks who are accustomed to living here to be able to continue to live here,” said Evans-Shabazz. “It’s a real concern with gentrification whether seniors will be priced out in particular. To know there will be an option for them, to stay in affordable housing at a certain income level, I think is great.”

dylan.mcguinness@chron.com

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