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Beyond Disaster Recovery: SBP and Partners Advance Affordable Housing in Houston

Houston has something to celebrate: two brand-new, mixed-income, affordable rental housing developments in two beautiful neighborhoods.

SBP has been bringing Houstonians home since 2017, when we launched recovery programs in response to Hurricane Harvey. After the widespread destruction of that storm—followed by Hurricane Imelda and Winter Storm Uri—SBP recognized the need to build new affordable housing units for renters who were displaced by the disasters. Building on our experience developing affordable housing for displaced renters in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina—such as the energy-efficient, resilient St. Peter Apartments—we knew it was possible to work with partners to build similar low-cost, resilient, energy-efficient rental housing in Houston. That’s exactly what we did.

SBP’s mission is not only to empower communities to repair, rebuild, and reduce the time between disasters and recovery, but also to boost resilience to future disasters. These new developments are a testament to the power of community and committed partners working together to achieve that mission.

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Pictured: SBP's team celebrated our ongoing commitment to the Houston community.

Addressing housing challenges in Houston in response to Hurricane Harvey

Even before the devastation of Hurricane Harvey—whose record-breaking flooding caused massive damage to homes and infrastructure—Houston was facing affordable housing challenges and inequities. Multiple natural disasters have exacerbated these challenges. More than half of renters in Houston and Harris County spend in excess of 30 percent of their income on housing costs, according to a recent report from Rice University’s Kinder Institute.

Already struggling with the cost of housing, many displaced disaster survivors were pushed to their breaking point, with no clear path to recovery. SBP’s Opportunity Housing program was created to address these challenges. We build or rehabilitate homes, duplexes, and apartments for rent and sale to lower-income households. This housing is affordable, resilient, and energy-efficient and is made possible through partnerships with local government entities and philanthropic donors.

Affordable housing units in the United States often have structural issues or deficiencies, making them extremely vulnerable to climate-related threats—the effects of which we’ve witnessed time and again through our work on the ground. According to data from the Greater Houston Community Foundation, affordable housing in Houston is often located in low-opportunity areas (i.e., places with unreliable access to transportation, limited employment opportunities, under-resourced public schools, and limited access to other resources). SBP’s Opportunity Housing program prioritizes building high-quality affordable housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods for people who would otherwise be priced out of the market.

The power of partnerships in action

SBP’s Tabor Street and Old Spanish Trail rental communities deliver on that goal. Each is made up of seven one- and two- bedroom units. Each will include state-of-the-art water drainage systems, FORTIFIED Gold certification, and a ~25kW Solar Energy System, which will reduce tenants’ electricity costs by approximately 60 percent, keeping more disposable income in their hands. These multi-family rental units are located in two highly desirable locations: the Greater Heights and OST/Almeda neighborhoods in Houston. Tabor Street, a tranquil, tree-lined neighborhood, has ample parks and schools, making it an ideal choice for families. Old Spanish Trail is a vibrant, historic community with a variety of dining, shopping, and recreation options.

These so-called “missing middle” developments, small, house-scale buildings containing multiple rental units, were facilitated by Houston’s current city government and Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department. They are a first of their kind in Houston. They will offer residents not only resilient and efficient housing, but also access to better employment opportunities, education, and social mobility.

These homes, adhering to Energy Star and FORTIFIED Gold building standards, will provide safe shelter and enhance long-term economic stability for low-income and working families.

These projects were made possible through the crucial support of SBP’s government partners, private donors, and corporate funders. Funded by a generous grant from the City of Houston Community Development Department (via a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), as well as private grants from our corporate partners at Lowe’s, Travelers, CenterPoint Energy, Reliant, CITGO, and GAF, SBP will complete construction on both housing communities by July 2024.

SBP’s Chief Financial Officer, Keith McCulloch, reflects that, “SBP is proud to bring these resilient, energy-efficient, affordable rental housing developments to market in Houston. Along with the more than 450 homes SBP has rebuilt in Houston for under-resourced homeowners displaced by Hurricane Harvey, these units were made possible thanks to the generous support of our partners and donors. We are grateful for their transformative investment in these much-needed solutions for long-term recovery and affordable housing.”


In recognition of their pivotal role in driving change, we extend our gratitude to the collaborative partners involved in these vital projects.