HOUSTON, TX - The homeless and those living in substandard housing often face difficult journeys to better lives. But Houston's new Temenos Place Apartments II aims to improve that path. The 80-unit apartment complex opened in a ribbon-cutting celebration attended by Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
In 2013, the project was awarded a $415,995 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant from Amegy Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). The funds were used for construction of the complex, which is located on the east side of Highway 59, near Houston's East Downtown area.
"It's not just about providing housing for the homeless," said Mayor Parker. "It's about providing wrap-around services to make sure the people we place have the support structure they need. That means addressing mental health or substance abuse issues or lack of access to jobs and opportunities because they can't read or write. These services help to address those vital needs."
Pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus founded Temenos Community Development Corporation (Temenos CDC) in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. In the past decade, they have helped provide permanent housing opportunities and social service resources to Houston's homeless and low-income communities.
"The construction of Temenos Apartments II represents not only our community's efforts to reduce homelessness in Houston, but is also a symbol of our perseverance," said U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-18). "I am proud of my district's commitment to provide quality, safe housing for the homeless population of Houston and I applaud the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and Amegy Bank for their roles in supporting this mission."
The $9.7 million project was also funded in part by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, and the Harris County Community Services Department.
The Greek word "temenos" refers to a safe, protected space in which to heal. Psychiatrist and author Carl Jung characterized "temenos" as a safe space where mental work can take place. The mission of Temenos Place Apartments II mirrors that objective.
"The goal of Temenos is to provide low-income and previously homeless residents access to services and support needed for a successful transition into stable and sustainable living," said Dana Hogan, chief executive officer at Temenos CDC. "It is so gratifying to see this project come to fruition, so we can let the real work begin."
In addition to providing 80 units, Temenos Place Apartments II will offer open park spaces, a patio, and social services such as life-skills training, mental health counseling, substance abuse support groups, volunteer care teams, and educational and literacy training.
"Amegy Bank is proud to support Temenos CDC's mission to make a difference in the lives of Houston's homeless community," said Brian Stoker, senior vice president, Community Lending at Amegy Bank. "Thanks to our partnership with FHLB Dallas, we are able to provide much-needed housing and social services to the Houston community."
In 2015, FHLB Dallas in partnership with its member financial institutions awarded more than $7.4 million in AHP grants to 32 projects, primarily within its five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. The funding will create or rehabilitate 965 housing units.
"There is a tremendous need for affordable housing in our District, and Houston is no exception," said Bruce Hatton, Affordable Housing Program manager at FHLB Dallas. "Our continued partnership with Amegy Bank brings us one step closer to providing affordable housing to the vulnerable population of Houston."
FHLB Dallas annually returns 10 percent of its profits in the form of AHP grants to the communities served by its member institutions. AHP grants fund a variety of projects, including home rehabilitation and modifications for low-income, elderly, and special needs residents; down payment and closing cost assistance for qualified first-time homebuyers; and the construction of low-income, multifamily rental communities and single-family homes.
July 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the Affordable Housing Program. Since the program's inception, FHLB Dallas has awarded more than $237 million in AHP grants to help approximately 44,000 families obtain affordable, quality housing.