A Little Louder is a podcast by Texas Housers, hosted by John Henneberger and Christina Rosales. We talk about fair housing, community development and community efforts to work toward just cities and inclusive neighborhoods.
Juneteenth is soon approaching in a few days, and in honor of the holiday, we spoke about the preservation of Black neighborhoods which date back more than a century ago.
Joining us on Episode 12 is Dr. Andrea Roberts of the Texas Freedom Colonies Project. She spoke with us about the often missed distinction between freedman's towns and freedom colonies, the history of these neighborhoods, what needs to be done to ensure they thrive, and much more.
To learn more in person about Texas Freedom Colonies, you can attend the “Aya” Symposium featuring a special training session, “Education – THE Foundation for Civil Rights in Texas Freedom Colonies” on June 19 at Prairie View A&M University, or you can visit the Texas Purple Hull Pea Festival in Shankleville, TX, a historic freedom colony, on June 29. http://shankleville.org/txphpfest/
The Low Income Housing Tax Credit program is helping to produce most of the new affordable housing in our country. But why is the IRS involved with creating affordable housing? And who gets left behind when this housing subsidy is not targeting the lowest-income people? In episode 11, John and Christina talk to Texas Housers analyst J.T. Harechmak about how tax credits work and the implications of a program often driven by business interests.
Links to articles discussed: It's Nimby Time...Again by Texas Housers
Program to Spur Low-Income Housing Keeps Cities Segregated by the New York Times
In episode 10, Texas Housers breaks down HUD's new proposed rule to evict families from subsidized housing if a member of the family is an immigrant without legal status. Christina and John interview Mike Gerber and Michael Roth of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin about how the rule could affect their operations, and Elizabeth Almanza of American Gateways who explains how this proposal could have a chilling effect on immigrant communities.
Since Hurricane Ike hit Galveston in 2008, critical public housing units have been lost and never rebuilt. Add the shortage of apartments and homes affordable to many people working service jobs on the island, and this is the making of a housing crisis. On top of that, a housing complex subsidized by the federal government has failed to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing, according to its residents. Texas Housers talks to community navigator Ericka Bowman who has been engaging Sandpiper residents, as well as Sarah Smith of the Houston Chronicle about her coverage of the apartment complex. John and Christina also discuss a language justice campaign in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is one of the longest-running programs administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. When it works well, it has the potential to address poverty and blight and revitalize communities in ways that reflect the priorities of the people who live there. But sometimes, too many political interests and not enough oversight plague the effectiveness of the program. John Henneberger and Karen Paup, co-directors of Texas Housers, discuss how advocates and community members can help steer CDBG back on track to its original goals to serve low-income communities.
In episode 7, Texas Housers interviews members of the 10th Street Residential Association who discuss their experience in preserving their historical status and their continued struggle to ensure the future of their neighborhood, settled more than a century ago by freed slaves. The neighborhood group has filed a lawsuit against the City of Dallas, asserting that "[t]he City of Dallas's policies and practices have racially segregated the Tenth Street neighborhood for many decades." The community is asking for the same privileges and investment other historical white neighborhoods in Dallas have received.
Transcript for Episode 7
In episode 6, Texas Housers highlights some noteworthy housing bills proposed in the 2019 legislative session. Some promote quality housing and tenant rights. Others not so much. We also discuss low-income housing tax credit corruption and shortages in affordable housing.
Transcript for Episode 6
In episode 5, we take a deep dive into how segregation caused Black and Latino neighborhoods to be trapped near industry and pollution. We talk to residents fighting for environmental justice.
Transcript of Episode 5
In episode 4, Texas Housers discusses the importance of housing mobility and how where you live can change the trajectory of your life. We interview Beth Legg, a fair housing planner, and Martha Sanchez, an organizer in the Rio Grande Valley.
Transcript of Episode 4
In episode 3, Texas Housers discusses how disaster recovery can be vastly improved by a "precovery" plan – that is, planning for recovery, even before the natural disaster hits. A bill proposed in the Texas legislature could help communities do just that. Guests include: Houston resident Deetra Harris; Nick Mitchell-Bennett, executive director of the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville; and Professor Shannon Van Zandt of the Texas A&M Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center.
Transcript of Episode 3
In episode 2, Demetria McCain of the Inclusive Communities Project talks about integration and people's right to choose where to live. John and Christina discuss how private equity is changing homeownership and the real crisis at the border.
Transcript for Episode 2
In A Little Louder's first episode, we discuss Opportunity Zones, freedmen's settlement north of Houston struggling with attrition and lack of investment, and how Austin's Clarksville has changed from a culturally rooted freedmen's settlement with no roads or public lighting into a white, affluent neighborhood near downtown Austin.
Transcript for Episode 1