Repairing Homes in Houston's Northside
Avenue Builds Community (ABC), formerly called Rebuilding Northside Together, began in 2014 as a grassroots effort by a team of residents that attended NeighborWorks America's annual Community Leadership Institute. Resident leaders initially focused on cleaning up vacant lots but eventually turned their attention to repairing and beautifying the homes of longtime residents. This initiative fit well with Avenue's affordable housing and community revitalization initiatives and has become an annual event.
The ABC program repairs existing owner-occupied homes owned by very low-income families in the Northside of Houston. Through ABC, we keep homes safe and comfortable, help elders age in place, and assist persons with disabilities to maintain their independence in the neighborhoods they call home. We also help low-income homeowners maintain their equity to draw from in retirement or pass down to their children.
The scope of work is tailored to each home and may include critical systems repairs (e.g., plumbing, electrical, roofing), the addition or improvement of accessibility features (e.g., ramps, handrails), exterior repairs (e.g., windows, doors, weatherization), and beautification (painting, clearing away trash, and minor landscaping). Avenue performs this work in partnership with contractors and hundreds of community volunteers.
The benefits of ABC confer not only to the homeowners, but to the community at large. ABC helps preserve the existing affordable housing stock and the historic character of Northside. Repainting and clearing away debris make the neighborhood look neater and safer, reducing blight and deterring crime. And, by facilitating opportunities for neighbors to help neighbors, we help strengthen the social fabric of the community.