Avenue CDC, More Than Just Affordable Housing

One hundred homes in 20 years. That's the milestone reached by a local nonprofit dedicated to improving Houston's Northside Community, by developing affordable housing for residents who grew up there. Pat Hernandez has more.

Coming up to this small Northside neighborhood, the new homes look almost out of place. But the 2-story dwellings near St. Patrick's Church, signify a turning point for consistent affordable opportunities for everyone, and it moves the neighborhood toward a more sustainable community.

Robert Fiederlein is Board President of Avenue Community Development Corporation.

"We've been building affordable housing in the Washington Avenue Corridor in the near Northside for twenty years now, and as you know today we're celebrating completion of our hundredth single family home. We spend a lot of time and effort developing a nice product, working with a lot of builders and a lot of folks in the community to find out what it is they want in their homes, and then trying to deliver it at a cost that they can afford."

He says it's not just a mortgage payment. Fiederlein says Avenue CDC takes into account taxes and insurance as well, and looking at the overall affordability.

"These are targeted at folks making 80-percent or less of the area median income. That's the income of say, a school teacher, or a fireman or policeman, or somebody that works in an office, or something like that. So, it's really to low and moderate income folks, and we think it's really made an impact here in the near Northside."

Mary Lawler is executive director of Avenue CDC. She says buying a home is the biggest investment that most families ever make, and for many residents in the neighborhood, they must adjust from being a renter. They help people through the process of qualifying for a mortgage and teach them how to be responsible for things like property taxes and home insurance.

"In our neighborhood, we have a fairly low home ownership rate. We have a lot of people renting here and unfortunately, a lot of the houses are older and sometimes in not in very good condition. On the other hand, it's a terrific neighborhood. We're located very close to downtown. We have light rail coming through very soon, and most of the people who live in this neighborhood really want to stay here."

Homes are priced at 152-thousand dollars, but qualified homebuyers can get City of Houston downpayment assistance of 30-thousand dollars, and a no interest, subordinate loan up to another 30-grand.

Maria Aleman grew up in the neighborhood. With the help of Avenue CDC, she recently qualified to move into one of the homes.

"Avenue (CDC) is something wonderful, and my community in the northside."

PH: "I guess you hope to be in this home for a very long time?"

Aleman: "Sure, I love my house. I want to live for (a) long long time." 

You can find more information at Avenue CDC.org.

Avenue CDC Developments
Source: Avenue CDC Development

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez


Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...