On Wednesday, a new affordable housing project broke ground. The $45 million development will be called RoseMary's Place Apartments. It will provide 149 units to house people experiencing homelessness in our area.
The project is supported by Harris County and the City of Houston Hurricane Harvey Funds. The project funding includes $18.7 million from the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department, $10.2 million from the Harris County Community Services Department, $13.6 million from the sale of tax credits to Hudson Housing, and $2.4 million from Magnificat Houses Inc. (MHI) as a sponsor loan.
Plan coordinators aim to have the project done by May 2024.
"The best way to end homelessness is with permanent housing with supportive services," Ana Rausch, the vice president for Program Operations at the Coalition for the Homeless, said.
Rausch said the groundbreaking on Caroline and Stuart in midtown is another step closer to creating affordable housing across our area.
"The construction of RoseMary's Place will help alleviate the growing homelessness issue in the city of Houston," Councilwoman Carolyn Evans-Shabazz said.
This is a topic of conversation among many in areas like midtown and downtown.
Our ABC13 data team analyzed numbers on homelessness and, despite public perception, found there has been a decline since 2011.
"Houston is a national model for addressing homelessness. We have decreased homelessness by 63% since 2011," Rausch said.
Data from the Coalition for the Homeless shows that the number of people experiencing homelessness but with a place to stay really varies between counties.
In Montgomery County, 84% of the people experiencing homelessness last year were sheltered.
But in Fort Bend County, less than half.
In Harris County, 52% were sheltered in 2022.
The reality is, the data still shows that more than 1,400 people are experiencing homelessness in Harris County that don't have a place to stay. But it doesn't mean homeless advocates aren't trying.
"We've actually decommissioned encampments in downtown and midtown. And we only decommission those encampments when we have housing. We don't like to displace people. We want to make sure we offer individuals permanent housing with supportive services," Rausch explained.
The most recent count happened just a few days ago, but those numbers won't be released until spring to show if there has been an increase or decrease within the last year.
Rausch hopes that Houston becomes the first city in the country to end chronic homelessness.
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