Commissioner Rodney Ellis’ Statement on the Kickoff of the $7.2 M Redevelopment Project for the Knowles-Rowland House

22 Sep, 23

Commissioner Rodney Ellis issued the following statement in response to the kickoff event for the Knowles-Rowland House Redevelopment Project:

“I was proud to help spearhead a $7.2 million commitment of American Rescue Plan Act dollars to support the Knowles-Rowland House, which will provide 31 permanent supportive housing development units at the St. John’s Downtown campus. This project will move Harris County closer to realizing its vision for a vibrant, inclusive region where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and a place to call home.

Access to safe and affordable housing is a fundamental human right and a need that cannot be addressed without increasing and preserving our affordable housing stock.

Congratulations to Pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus of St. John’s Downtown, Bread of Life Inc., the Knowles Rowland family, and the Harris County Community Services Department for their tremendous partnership that makes this day possible.”


The Knowles-Rowland house was initially known as the Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth, which burned in a fire in March 2021. The building was originally constructed in 1999 with the help of financial support from the Knowles family. Bread of Life and Temenos Community Development Corporations (CDC) will develop this new project.

On Friday, a celebration in Midtown kicked off the redevelopment project. Harris County Commissioners Court recently approved $7,202,562 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding critical to the redevelopment. Houston nonprofit Bread of Life will use the funds to repurpose and redevelop an existing gymnasium on its campus into Knowles-Rowland House, 31 housing units for people who experience homelessness.

Those in attendance included Beyoncé, Rudy Rasmus, Executive Director of Bread of Life Inc.; Yvette Tarrant, CEO of Bread of Life Inc. Tina Knowles-Lawson, philanthropist; Thao Costis, Executive Director Harris County Community Services Department; Sheila Jackson Lee, U.S. Congressional District 18 Representative, David Northern, President and CEO, Houston Housing Authority, Keith Bynum, Director, City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department.

This is just one of several affordable housing initiatives the county plans to invest in using ARPA dollars. Since April, the Commissioner’s Court has approved several million dollars for affordable multi-family rental projects and tens of millions to buy single-family homes, many of which will go into the county's Community Land Trust program to provide and preserve long-term affordable housing.

Photos can be found here below. Please attribute to Roscoe Whitworth, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s Office.