As working families struggle with the impact of rising home prices, escalating rents and elevated eviction rates, JPMorgan Chase is giving $3.3 million to local non-profits to provide affordable housing across Houston.

According to data from January Advisors, more than 53,000 evictions have been filed in Harris County since the start of the pandemic. The Harris County Housing Survey found nearly 500,000 households are paying more than they can afford for their homes.

“As the cost of homes and apartment rents climb rapidly, the gap between the haves and the have-nots widens right along with it,” said Dorian Cockrell, Vice President of Global Philanthropy for JPMorgan Chase. “These non-profits are at the forefront of preserving affordable living in Houston.”

The largest of the grants are:

∙               The Houston Community Land Trust will receive $1.2 million for its new Homebuyer Choice Program, providing a local public subsidy to low- and moderate income homebuyers to purchase affordable homes in Harris County.

Prior to the launch of Homebuyer Choice Program (HCP), only new-build homes were eligible for the program.  The land trust works to combat the displacement of minority residents from gentrifying neighborhoods and to decrease the homeownership gap between white homeowners and homeowners of color.  HCLT homebuyers are 96% African American and all are at/below 80% area median income.

∙               The Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation, a recently designated HUD EnVision Center is getting $1 million to expand its multi-faceted  and comprehensive housing counseling and real estate preservation efforts to minimize the impact of gentrification in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward.

Part of the funding will support a new initiative of clustering small, single-family cottages on adjacent lots to provide affordable housing to long-time residents.

“Our real estate and preservation efforts aim to reduce the rising disparities among people of color in homeownership rates, cost burden, and the condition of existing housing,” said Kathy Payton, president and CEO of the Fifth Ward CDC.

∙               Avenue, a local nonprofit dedicated to building affordable homes and strengthening communities, has received a $1 million investment from JPMorgan Chase & Co. for its Social Impact Fund aimed at acquiring and preserving affordable housing in Houston. The fund, announced earlier this year, was established to maintain affordability at rental properties at a time when working families are increasingly cost burdened by rising housing costs.

Avenue’s Social Impact Fund will enable the non-profit to purchase properties from apartment owners in Houston who are interested in selling their assets to a responsible new owner that will preserve affordability for long-term tenants. 

According to the United Way of Greater Houston’s latest ALICE report, 33 percent of the nearly 1.6 million households in Harris County have a household income that’s above the federal poverty level but is insufficient to cover basic necessities such as housing, childcare, food, transportation and healthcare.

HAR.com reported that the 2021 median home price in Houston hit an all-time high of $319,000. That is not affordable for someone under 80% of the Houston Area Median Income- which can include teachers, government employees, bus drivers, healthcare workers, social workers and retirees.

The HCLT’s new initiative, the Homebuyer Choice Program, has expanded across Houston, allowing residents all over the city the chance to purchase a home for a more affordable price. The land trust expects to reach its 100th homebuyer in May.

“The average CLT purchase price is right under $100,000, and the average mortgage payment is approximately $900 a month, Allen said. “That puts the dream of homeownership of working people who otherwise may never own a home of their own.”