Texas Appleseed works with a network of organizations in Texas, including housing advocates, policy experts, and grassroots community groups, to ensure that all Texas families get their fair share of disaster recovery funds in the wake of a natural disaster, and that all families have the opportunity to live in safe, decent neighborhoods with equal access to educational and economic opportunity. This work started in the aftermath of the 2008 hurricanes, and we continue to work to ensure that all levels of government respond to natural disasters in a fair and timely manner, and that the hardest hit communities and low-income families are not overlooked in plans for long-term recovery.
We work to ensure federal housing and civil rights laws are followed so that individual families have the right to choose where they live free of discrimination, and that all neighborhoods have equal access to opportunity. The communities that are hardest hit, both by natural disasters and by social and economic injustice, are too often low-income communities of color that have not received equal investment in basic public infrastructure and services, and that often have had undesirable uses, like environmental hazards concentrated there.
- Galveston Groundbreaking to Rebuild Low-Income Housing. On Sept. 10, 2014, a celebratory groundbreaking took place for two new low-income public housing developments originally destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008. Despite being met with stiff opposition, Texas Appleseed and our partner Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (TxLIHIS) worked with local housing and civil rights advocates, including the Galveston County Coalition for Justice, the Galveston Northside Taskforce, Gulf Coast Interfaith, LULAC and the NAACP, and negotiated a rebuilding plan with the City and the Housing Authority. Texas Appleseed and TxLIHIS also ensured that federal dollars were specifically earmarked to rebuild the housing. The Texas General Land Office and HUD strongly supported the rebuilding of the housing and were integral in helping uphold the civil rights of these citizens. Read more here.
- Conciliation Agreement. In 2010, Texas Appleseed and our partner, TxLIHIS, entered into a landmark Conciliation Agreement with the State of Texas in which the State agreed to comply with Fair Housing laws in allocating more than $3 billion in disaster recovery funds, and assuring historically underserved communities would get their fare share of the funds. As a result of this Conciliation Agreement, millions of dollars have flowed to these communities.
- With the Texas Organizing Project (TOP) and TxLIHIS, obtained an agreement with the Mayor of Houston that moved $30 million in disaster recovery funds to repairing single family homes.
- Worked in partnership with colonia residents, organizing groups and TRLA to obtain $14 million for badly needed drainage in the colonias, which suffered the worst Hurricane Dolly flooding and some of which had standing water for weeks after the storm.
- Our advocacy with local partners for rebuilding public housing in the City of Orange in safer and higher opportunity areas resulted in a plan to rebuild and move several developments to higher opportunity areas with less crime and better schools.