They are hometown heroes who know how to raise the roof, and for the past 20-plus years, Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and their families have poured millions into community-centered projects built on a simple premise: housing is a human right. Today, we advanced a key component of Harris County’s $200 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investment in multifamily housing that bears familiar names to those in Houston: the Knowles-Rowland House Project.
This $7.2 million commitment of ARPA dollars will support the acquisition and development of the project by Knowles-Rowland House, LP. Bread of Life and Temenos Community Development Corporations (CDC) will develop the 31-unit permanent supportive housing development, which will be located at a facility adjacent to St. John’s Downtown. These housing units in Precinct One will be available to people who experience homelessness.
Beyoncé and Kelly – both former members of the Houston-based singing group Destiny’s Child – are not the only local heroes associated with this project. For 30 years, Bread of Life, founded by Pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus, has worked tirelessly to eradicate hunger among our most vulnerable populations. Temenos CDC, an affordable housing nonprofit, is no stranger to this transformative work.
In our precinct, 580 people experience unsheltered homelessness, representing the largest share amongst all four precincts. These individuals live in places not meant for human habitation – in parks, under bridges, in abandoned buildings, or on the street. They face higher rates of chronic physical and mental illnesses and substance use.
Permanent supportive housing projects like the Knowles-Rowland House are critical because they go beyond raising the roof. The “supportive” in supportive housing means case management, life skills training, job skills development, and counseling. This helps break the cycle of chronic homelessness by equipping people to pursue meaningful work, recover from mental health and substance use challenges, and find stability. Construction is scheduled to begin in October 2023 and be completed by July 2024.
Access to safe and affordable single and multifamily housing is a fundamental need that cannot be addressed without increasing our supply and protecting affordability over time. For years, our region has suffered a shortage of affordable housing that has priced families out of a safe and stable home, and Hurricane Harvey and the pandemic made it even worse. That’s why we’re making coordinated investments in:
- improving the health, safety, and resilience of existing homes;
- addressing the shortages of affordable, stable housing;
- reducing homelessness, evictions, foreclosures, and housing instability;
- protecting housing affordability now and in the future;
- and increasing opportunities for families to build and sustain wealth through home ownership.
In Harris County, everyone should have a safe and healthy place to call home.
This project will move Harris County closer to realizing its vision for a vibrant, inclusive Harris County where everyone has the opportunity to thrive in the sanctity and safety of their home.