A Call to Action for Affordable Housing

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A Call to Action: Legislating Change for Affordable Housing

On April 2nd more than one hundred Habitat for Humanity volunteers and staff members gathered at the Texas Capitol to build all the walls for a Habitat home as part of the annual Habitat for Humanity Texas Capitol Build. Northeast Texas Habitat team members and volunteers travel to Austin to participate every year. It is fun, and we have a chance to socialize with our Habitat peers from around the state. Plus, a road trip with the requisite Buccees stop is always a win.

But that is not why we do it. The Capitol Build brings the decades-long affordable housing crisis to the forefront with a message to our elected officials they have the power to create a future where every Texan can live safely and with dignity in a home they can afford.

The affordable housing crisis in Texas is severe and getting worse. Nearly 4 out of 5 low-income households are cost-burdened and pay more than 30% of their monthly income for housing. Forty-two percent of these are in the work force. Seniors (25%), and people with disabilities (16%) make up the majority of the remaining populations that struggle to meet their basic needs. (www.nlihc.org. The Gap Report 2024).

The need is critical, and the time is now. With only 25 affordable units for every 100 Texans living in housing-created poverty, and our population expected to increase significantly in the next decade, we need to take decisive action. By employing strategies to create quality, affordable housing faster across the state, elected officials at state and local levels can wield their considerable influence to tackle the crisis.

Public-Private Partnerships to Provide Access to Capital:  Facilitate partnerships between government agencies and non-profit organizations, like Habitat for Humanity Texas, with self-replenishing funds that leverage resources to provide critically needed capital, help pool funding, and coordinate efforts to address housing needs in every community.

Streamlined Regulations and Permitting Processes: Simplifying regulations and expediting the permitting process for affordable housing developments can reduce construction costs and speed up delivery of new housing. This could look like zoning reforms, reducing red tape, and providing technical and job skills training opportunities to address the skilled laborer shortages that slow down construction efforts.

Land Use Policies: Implementing land use policies that encourage mixed-income and transit-oriented development and enact policies around inclusionary zoning.

Preservation of Affordable Housing: Preserving existing affordable housing stock is paramount. While federally mandated dollars exist for rehabilitation and maintenance, the demand far exceeds the available resources. Texas legislators must prioritize increasing funding for the preservation of current housing stock, ensuring its use for decades to come.

We can address this crisis. It’s just a matter of deciding we want to address it. Join me in asking our legislators, or those who want to be our legislators, to do so. Need a hand finding your state officials? Start here Directory of Texas Elected Officials


About the Author

LaJuan Gordon is the Chief Executive Officer of Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity where she spearheads initiatives aimed at providing safe and affordable housing solutions. In addition to her role at NE Texas Habitat, she serves as the principal consultant of Mission2Serve, a consulting firm specializing in leadership mentoring, program development, strategy, grant writing, and disaster preparedness planning.

She attended NYSU for business studies and holds a Certificate of Non-Profit Management from Texas A&M Bush School for Government & Public Service and Certificate of Nonprofit Financial Management from Austin Community College.

About Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity

Northeast Texas Habitat is dedicated to creating safe and affordable places for people to live and thrive in Gregg, Harrison, and Upshur counties, TX. More than nine hundred households have achieved safer, healthier, and more affordable living conditions through a NE Texas Habitat program. For information on NE Tx Habitat programs or to get involved contact info@netxhabitat.org  or 903-236-0900.  Want to know more about how Habitat for Humanity across Texas advocates for better housing for Texans? https://habitattexas.org/capitol-build/   or contact Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity to learn more about local programs and volunteer opportunities   director@netxhabitat.org

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A Call to Action for Affordable Housing

A Call to Action: Legislating Change for Affordable Housing On April 2nd more than one hundred Habitat for Humanity volunteers and staff members gathered at

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