Residents at odds over what to do about apartments

April 14, 2010 4:28:45 PM PDT
A set of old, rundown apartments in southeast Houston will soon be turned into something new. But what will be built on the property on Bayou Bend Court is still up for debate, and, the possibility of low-income housing has some people worried.

Weeds are overgrown, and windows are boarded shut. A hurricane fence around the property completes the motif.

It's what residents of Bayou Bend Court have dealt with since the low-income complex went into foreclosure in 2008. And it's still attracting residents.

"Homeless people, people who seemed to be involved in drug activities, strange cars coming around all times of night," Bayour Bend Court resident Keryl Douglas said.

But the property was just purchased a month and a half ago by the non-profit Hope for Families Inc. It's run by the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, which is about a half-mile away from the project.

The loan was secured through the city of Houston's Neighborhood Stabilization Program, usually used to purchase foreclosures and develop low-income housing.

The option of affordable senior housing is OK to some.

"The idea of affordable housing in the mixed communities, that's an emerging and novel idea," ????? said.

But that's not how Dr. Zeb Poindexter, the area's homeowner association president, sees it.

"That's not going to be good for our neighborhood," Poindexter said. "Our neighborhood is not an area for affordable housing. Our area is for private residents."

While singe family homes may not fall under the stablization program's stipulations, Hope for Families Inc. says its attorney is reviewing all options for development and that currently no exact plans exist.

"We are talking to some people who have done some creative development around NSP funding," said DZ Cofield, executive director of Hope for Families Inc. "We don't have a set plan as of yet and will not develop a plan without the complete input and support of the community."

One thing that residents can agree on is that an eyesore of a property is now owned by a local church.

"I'm absolutley pleased that it's on good hands," said Joyce McEwing, a Bayou Bend Court resident.

The organization says it is working to better secure the property and is hoping to begin demolition in the next 60 days. A community meeting has been planned for next week.


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