Homeownership in Houston: Several agencies create ‘Own the HOU’ to help 5,000 minority households to purchase homes in 2 years

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Third Ward native Corisha Rogers moved into her own home six months ago.

She’s the first in her family to own a home.

“It is an amazing feeling, and it’s hopefully inspired my younger brother,” she said.

RELATED: Workshop planned to provide Black men with knowledge, resources to become homeowners

On Friday morning, local companies and governmental agencies announced a new partnership called “Own the HOU.”

The goal is to combine resources to help 5,000 minority households, Houstonians like Rogers, buy their own homes by 2025.

“Homeownership is the quickest, easiest way of building assets and family’s generational wealth, and we’re losing out in our communities of color,” Laura Jaramillo, executive director of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Houston, said.

“When people are not aware of their rights, they’re not aware of the laws in place to protect them,” Marry Guerra, a HUD-certified housing counselor with Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation, explained.

“That’s where we as housing counselors come in to let them know, ‘That’s not correct – you can’t tell a single mother with a child that you can’t live in a certain area,'” she said.

According to Rice University’s Kinder Institute, rent prices in Houston increased 30% from 2015 to 2021.

RELATED: Real estate market cools in reaction to the new school year, expert says

Fifty-one percent of renter households in Houston and Harris County are considered cost-burdened, meaning families spend more than 30% of their incomes on housing.

Before purchasing, Rogers worked with counselors with Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation for years.

“How do you build that credit score when they don’t give you the opportunity to build that credit score? It was constant fighting trying to get the opportunity to build my credit from scratch,” she explained. “It was two years of applications, homeowner classes, financial management classes, credit building.”

RELATED: Affording home in Houston continues to be a challenge

It was a tough couple of years, but, she says, she’s proof that homeownership is possible for anyone.

“In order to help my community, I have to help myself first, which is a thing I’ve had to learn coming down the road,” she said.

For more on this story, follow Pooja Lodhia on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.

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