united way of the brazos valleyOur Executive Director Andy York and I attended the United Way of the Brazos Valley’s quarterly executive directors’ meeting this morning. These meetings bring together leaders of various nonprofit organizations in our area who are current or prospective recipients of the UW’s Community Impact Grant. The discussion involved the current state of affordable and low-cost housing in the Brazos Valley, particularly in Bryan and College Station.

The meeting panel included representatives from the City of College Station’s Office of Community Development, the City of Bryan’s Community Development Services, and the Brazos Valley Council of Governments’ housing voucher program. The panelists fielded questions from participants on the reasons for a significant lack of affordable housing in Bryan/College Station and discussed ways that organizations like Habitat can help solve this serious problem facing low-income families in our area. Many local families are often priced out of even low-end apartment or home rentals because they have difficulty competing with students who are willing to rent a single room from a landlord for a very high price. Even lower-end apartments can cost upwards of $500/room, or $1500/month for a 3-bedroom apartment!

In a rental market that revolves around renting to single individuals by the room rather than by the unit, it is often the low-income families who are impacted the most.

When we compare the growing cost of renting an apartment in our community to that of buying an entire Habitat home (typically between $400-$600 a month), it is not hard to see the huge impact that housing organizations like Habitat for Humanity, and the donors and volunteers who make our homeownership program a reality, have on our community.

Thank you to this community for making Habitat’s mission of providing decent, affordable homes to families possible and thank you to United Way of the Brazos Valley for hosting the event today!