Harris County Housing Authority Honored with Two NAHRO Awards of Merit for Model...

Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:00am EDT

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Harris County Housing Authority Honored with Two NAHRO Awards of Merit for Model Housing Solutions

    -- Recognition Places Affordable Housing Solutions in National
                             Spotlight --
HOUSTON--(Business Wire)--
The Harris County Housing Authority (HCHA) has been honored by the
National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO)
with two Awards of Merit for developing innovative housing solutions.
The awards recognize the housing authority's signature,
state-of-the-art single-family affordable housing development and its
Independence homeownership program.

   The initiatives were awarded based on the housing authority's
approach in developing innovative affordable housing and opportunities
for families to become self-sufficient. This recent success has
reinforced the housing authority's record as the leading housing
authority in America. In fact, the HCHA was recently recognized for
the sixth consecutive year as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development's highest performer in the nation.

   The HCHA's signature single-family affordable housing community
known as Waterside Court was recognized for its response to the demand
for large-sized families who are in need high quality single family
housing in a credit tight market who do not wish to purchase a home in
today's market. The gated community, which was built through a
public/private partnership, features amenities equal to or greater
than some of Houston's with nicest suburban subdivisions, as well as a
host of community services.

   "The use of a public/private partnership provides balance for both
market-rate housing and affordable housing," said Guy Rankin, CEO and
Executive Director of the HCHA. "The final product is a shining
example of what people can do when they work together."

   In addition to its Award of Merit for Waterside Court, the HCHA
also received the same honor for its Independence Program, which was
created in early 2006 specifically for Housing Choice Voucher (HCV)
recipients who want to buy a home, but lack the resources to do so. To
date, the program has helped 11 low-to-moderate income Harris County
families to achieve the American dream: homeownership. The HCHA
designed the program for families that are using their vouchers as a
stepping-stone toward financial stability and self-sufficiency, and
who would otherwise consider homeownership impossible.

   "Unlike traditional housing programs, which focus on helping local
citizens meet their short-term assistance needs, the HCHA's
Independence Program looks at the bigger picture--assisting those in
need by providing lasting, self-sufficiency solutions," continued
Rankin.

   Through the program, the HCHA secures down-payment assistance and
a significant portion of closing costs, in addition to a broad
spectrum of social services, including caseworker assistance to help
guide prospective homebuyers through the process of finding a realtor
and a mortgage company willing to work with a non-traditional buyer.
The program ensures success by requiring families to go through
post-purchase counseling, credit counseling and other services.

   Waterside Court has been nominated for NAHRO's National Award of
Excellence, which recognizes outstanding innovation and achievement in
housing and community development programs throughout the country.
HCHA will know in October if has developed what many have already
considered the best single-family rental community in America for
2008.

   "NAHRO members are consistently on the forefront of innovation in
the affordable housing industry," said NAHRO President Renee Rooker.
"Their success is truly remarkable: our members see the concrete
results of the efforts they are making in their neighborhoods and
communities to become better places to live. The winners of the Awards
of Merit have created programs that can be used as models across the
nation."

   The NAHRO Awards of Merit provide national recognition to the
achievement and innovation of its members throughout the country and
provides additional opportunity to inform the public of the best in
housing and community development.

   About the Harris County Housing Authority

   The Harris County Housing Authority operates housing-choice
voucher programs and family self-sufficiency programs for more than
2,000 residents of Harris County. The U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development has given the Authority its highest performance
rating for six years in a row. For more information visit:
www.hchatexas.org.

   For more information on the HCHA, please visit www.hchatexas.org.

Pierpont Communications
Sarah Miller, 713-627-2223
smiller@piercom.com

Copyright Business Wire 2008
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