New Hope Housing, a nonprofit best known for building vital single-room occupancy (SRO) properties, is expanding its reach with two new developments in Houston.
The 23-year-old organization is working on its first mixed-use and family housing developments.
It’s a big step for New Hope, which had intentionally focused on SRO properties as a way to provide housing and services to some of Houston’s neediest residents.
After seven SRO developments with almost 1,000 housing units, the group decided it was time to branch out into other housing types, says Joy Horak-Brown, president and CEO, noting that families have been a significant segment of the homeless population.
Nationally, there were 206,286 homeless people in families in the 2015 point-in-time homeless count, reported the National Alliance to End Homelessness in its latest The State of Homelessness in America report. That's about 37% of the overall homeless population. Texas had 7,413 people in homeless families in 2015.
New Hope plans to break ground this month on NHH at Reed, its first supportive housing development serving homeless and at-risk families. The 187-unit community will provide a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments.
The new development will be built on an eight-acre site adjacent to Star of Hope’s 41-acre campus, Cornerstone Community, which provides emergency services for women and children, transitional housing, job training and other services. Shared spaces will include a courtyard with a playground, a business center, and multipurpose rooms.
“We believe this will be a national model of continuum of care,” says Horak-Brown.
The $34.6 million development is being financed with about $11.3 million in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity from investor BBVA Compass Bank and syndicator National Equity Fund (NEF). The city of Houston is providing $10.1 million in HOME funds, and charitable contributions are bringing in another $12 million.
The LIHTCs were allocated by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, and the Houston Housing Finance Corp. is issuing bonds for the project.
Earlier this year, New Hope broke ground on NHH at Harrisburg, a mixed-use, transit-oriented development in the East End on the light-rail line. In addition to providing 175 affordable studio apartments, the property will include 4,000 square feet of retail space.
The $26.8 million community will also have about 7,000 square feet of office space for nonprofits, including the new offices of New Hope.
“We’re going to live where our residents do,” says Horak-Brown.
The development, which is being financed with 4% LIHTCs and tax-exempt bonds, will replace the organization’s Hamilton SRO, which is located in downtown Houston adjacent to Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.
Hamilton opened in 1995 as New Hope’s first SRO property, and after 20 years it was in need of substantial rehabilitation. It was determined that it would be more cost efficient to build a new development, according to New Hope officials.
The organization was approached by the Houston Baseball Partners to buy the Hamilton site. In addition to paying for the land, the baseball group agreed to make a significant contribution to help build a new housing development.
“It was a wonderful confluence of interest with us and the Astros partnership,” Horak-Brown says.
Other financing for NHH at Harrisburg includes about $10.4 million in LIHTC equity from investor BBVA Compass and syndicator NEF. The city of Houston is providing $6.6 million in HOME funds, and charitable contributions are bringing in $9.2 million. The Houston Housing Finance Corp. issued the bonds.
“We carry no foreclosable debt,” says Horak-Brown.
Both new projects were designed by Houston architecture firm GSMA and are being built by Camden Builders.