|PRESS RELEASE: 3-18-99|
Contact: Gladys House
Houston's oldest Black community has grassroots representation from its civic nonprofit to the homeowners association, yet city government constantly excludes this vibrant community and its taxpaying citizens from every phase of planning and development directed at possible displacement of longtime residents. Demolition is more visible than affordable housing in FREEDMEN'S TOWN these days. But this is the city's form of providing city services to the always neglected area founded by freed slaves in 1865. [See: Freedmen's Town history.]
"You would think that we are invisible," says Gladys House, founder of FREEDMEN'S TOWN ASSOCIATION, INC. "Despite documented proof that the city should really listen to and act on what we have to say, our voices and needs go ignored."
But FREEDMEN'S TOWN is not waiting for the City of Houston to deliver justice to its doorsteps. Residents channel their resources and move slowly and quietly to revitalize their neighborhood. They would like to move faster, but limited resources prevent such. After all, grassroots citizens are not a part of the clique that wastes millions on salaries while breaching its contract with the city. Private funding is obtained with much effort to cover interim and permanent construction of housing in FREEDMEN'S TOWN for affordable housing.
"The delays and runarounds some banks give us are amazing," attests House, "Yet the city blindly gave and allowed millions of our affordable housing dollars to be wasted on salaries for a group formed overnight; but no one is going to jail for such a waste."
Gladys House, as developer and builder, says she is pleased to be able to provide new affordable housing for her neighbors who were displaced and buying back into the community.
Each of the new homes is 1670 square feet, 3 bedroom, 1-1/2 baths, garage, and two-story. These homes start at $75,000.
House keeps these homes affordable by keeping the plans simple, she says. She is the "middle man" so to speak and monitors FTA's rehab and new construction very closely. House is an apprentice carpenter and admits she must get in the mood to do carpentry work at times.
FTA has plans to build 16 additional new homes starting this June for low to moderate income families as well. House says the working-class poor is an untapped market.
Persons interested in buying a home in FREEDMEN'S TOWN should contact Gladys House at 713/739-9414.