Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ms. Horak-Brown and More on SROs

Joy Horak-Brown leads New Hope Housing, Inc. in Houston, Texas as the company's Executive Director.

Ms. Horak-Brown has accomplished some amazing things. And, she is just getting started!

Saturday I toured one of the single room occupancy (SRO) apartment buildings that New Hope built in downtown Houston. The shiny, bright, new facility is literally in the shadow of the new Minute Maid Field where the Houston Astros play baseball. Built over several years in three stages, the facility is first-class, well-constructed and obviously managed in a superior manner. Best of all, the project is debt free.

Ms. Horak-Brown is a very clear leader. Her principles imprint her work in the city.

Poor people deserve high-quality housing with life opportunities to match.

Projects must be adequately funded to be successful. No doubt, Joy Horak-Brown is one of the most accomplished fundraisers in Texas. As an operational strategy, no project begins until the money is in the bank to assure success!

Currently, New Hope is building a phenomenal new apartment complex in Houston's East End that will be a neighborhood jewel for tenants and neighbors alike. Again, when the SRO opens, it will be debt free.

Joy Horak-Brown is an inspirational leader. She exudes professionalism. She is articulate, determined and ablaze with reality and optimism. Her passion for the poor is astounding.

Joy Horak-Brown knows important secrets that apparently escape lots of other urban leaders. Secrets like the fact that people are basically the same in terms of what they need and want. She also knows that great things are really possible and that the poor are worth the effort.

Don't dare tell her something can't be done. She'll have it accomplished before your turn around.


John said...

Now if we could find a way for the renters to gain some equity in the housing we would really be on our way. As we learned in the book group wealth is the most key factor in so much of success in life. It fuels better education, health and so forth.

Any ideas on this?

Larry James said...

For many people SROs appear to be "a start" or a new platform for going forward to stability first--including employment--and then, for many, a next step to different housing options. While this will not be the case for all renters, it will be for some. For most, regardless of next steps, the experience will lead to another kind of "equity"--dignity capital. What we need are creative ways to partner with as many SRO residents as possible to achieve both sorts of wealth.