HOUSTON – Reverend Leslie Smith II, founder and CEO of Change Happens CDC in Houston, is living his dream of building affordable homes for families.
“Forty-one years ago, I had a dream that I bought some crack houses. I bought the crack houses. People were everywhere, trying to get in them,” said Smith.
About eleven years after having that dream, Smith says he began renovating dilapidated homes in Third Ward.
On June 1, Smith says 30 tenants will move into the new Citadel Apartment Complex on Elgin Street near the downtown area.
Smith says 74 units will be available to seniors ages 55 and older.
He adds that the cost of rent will be determined by income.
The complex will meet a growing need in the Bayou City.
A recent report released by the Kinder Institute of Urban Research at Rice University shows one of the top concerns for Houstonians is the cost of housing.
“Because of the real estate prices, people who used to live in this neighborhood can’t live here anymore because of the rent,” said Smith. “Finding affordable housing that’s nice and safe is very difficult in the city.”
Smith hopes his vision to help others live in nice homes they can afford will positively impact everyone in Houston.
“If you can change a person’s perspective of how they live, and how they exist, you can change poverty,” said Smith.
Smith says his biggest challenge was securing funding for the apartment complex. He says partnerships and donors helped make his dream a reality.