HHA affordable housing that is slated to be knocked down
Kelly Village currently faces pollution, noise, and danger from the highway
It's situated just south of Lyons ave, a historical economic and community center for Black Houston, just to our west. In the 60s, TxDOT built I-69 down the middle of 5th Ward, cutting residents off from opportunities on the other side.
Only a portion of the units knocked down for the I-45 expansion are proposed to be replaced
The FEIS says that knocking down Kelly Village will lead to an "improvement over the existing facilities" because residents will receive new housing--but TxDOT is not providing any details on when or how the new facilities will be available to residents
Like many schools along the route of the proposed expansion, Bruce Elementary's students face a higher rate of asthma than students at other schools in Houston. While the average HISD/AISD school population has an asthma rate of 3.3%, Bruce Elementary's rate is 7.2%. The proposed design is estimated to increase the highway's footprint near the school by 37.4%, bringing it to the corner of the school property. This will bring more pollution and faster, more dangerous traffic to Bruce Elementary's students, 20% of whom walk to school (Air Alliance HIA, 2019).
Ojala site: Future HHA funded residence
Chosen future site of HHA affordable housing to replace Clayton homes
Will still face noise and air pollution from proposed highway
Many safer, less polluted (and less expensive) potential sites exist
East River Development
East River is a luxury residential and business development that a private developer is building in 5th Ward. They are using $133 million from the 5th Ward Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) to fund this development, which will likely displace 5th Ward residents by causing property taxes to skyrocket.
There is a Community Benefits Agreement between the developer (Midway) and the TIRZ, but it does not represent the residents of 5th Ward or their interests. The Circle Coalition and other 5th Ward residents are demanding a fair CBA that includes replacement of affordable housing and economic opportunities for the community itself, not just for newcomers at the development.
TxDOT is holding closed-door meetings with Midway to discuss the project, and largely ignoring the community itself.
Union Pacific used creosote to treat the rail line for decades, which then seeped into the groundwater and caused a cancer cluster. Learn more at bit.ly/5Wcluster.
Impact Fifth Ward formed in 2014 in response to the creosote cancer clusters.
"We demand that Union Pacific clean up the environment to the best extent possible for now and future generations.
We want Union Pacific to fund volatilization testing to determine whether creosote is in the air.
We want Union Pacific to give back to the community.
We want to speak on behalf of the many residents and homeowners that have been impacted by the toxic chemicals.
We want industrial companies out of our community.
We demand transparency from industrial companies that operate in our neighborhoods."
SOUTHERN ROUTE (starting at Graffiti Building)
Tent encampments, SEARCH, Loaves and Fishes
SEARCH does on the spot outreach to our unhoused neighbors, providing referrals to assistance and other helpful resources. They have a holistic model for aiding clients, starting by connecting them with stable affordable housing, and also providing mental health and early childhood education support. It serves the sizable population of unhoused residents who currently live under the highway. Construction for the I-45 expansion will displace those unhoused residents, while also demolishing critical social services like SEARCH.
Loaves & Fishes is a 6-days-a-week soup kitchen, serving hot free lunches to an estimated 233,200 residents of this area annually. It serves the sizable population of unhoused residents who currently live under the highway. Construction for the I-45 expansion will displace those unhoused residents, while also demolishing critical social services like Loaves & Fishes.
The existing highway
In Houston, highways have historically been built to serve wealthy white residents at the expense of low-income minority residents.
They are often built right through low-income neighborhoods of color, creating a large, dangerous barrier between residential areas and economic centers.
For example, I-10 cut through Lyons Ave in 5th Ward, and 288 cut through Emancipation in 3rd Ward.
At the same time, these highways allow wealthy residents to move farther away from the city, contributing to segregation and underinvestment.
For all of this, highways are logistically speaking the least effective method to transport a large amount of people. Public transit systems are better for the environment, time, economically, and ethically.
The train tracks
Heavy rail lines in residential and commercial areas like this cause pollution and major disruptions, as well as more serious problems like the 5th ward cancer cluster.
About 65-75 trains daily cross these tracks. This poses a serious connectivity problem for neighborhoods like East End.
Here, at one of two pedestrian-safe crossings of these tracks in the East End, there is no way to predict when a train might come, causing a delay upwards of 20 minutes. The next crossing is 5 blocks back and 3 blocks east--that's a major walk. There is no way to get around this train. What does this mean for folks who are trying to get about their daily lives, going to work and school around the tracks?
Clayton Homes is an affordable housing complex that currently faces noise and air pollution from the highway just to its west. If the proposed expansion of I-45 is built, it will completely destroy the entire community.
TxDOT is progressing with "advance acquisition" of Clayton Homes, and residents have been told to be out of their homes by Christmas 2020. They have been told that they will be given housing vouchers, but few details are available and most residents still have no information on how to obtain them.
As with Kelly Village in 5th Ward, TxDOT claims that destroying Clayton Homes will lead to an "improvement over the existing facilities" because residents will theoretically receive new housing--but they will not provide any details on when or how new housing will be available.