Re-Ward Third Ward Community Development corporation (RWTW Inc.) is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 Corporation organized in 1995 by the leaders of the Historic Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church and concerned residents of the neighborhood to revitalize one of Houston’s historical districts, the northern section of Third Ward.
Chartered by the State of Texas on June 9, 1995, the mission of RWTW Inc. is to provide quality affordable housing, to increase community pride, and to promote community economic development to help sustain the targeted community. RWTW Inc. is an outgrowth of Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church. The church has a rich history of serving the Houston community, which has resulted in several community and economic development initiatives.
RWTW, Inc.’s primary service area is the northeast quadrant of the historic Third Ward Community located less than one mile southeast of downtown Houston. This neighborhood is one of Houston’s largest and oldest African-American neighborhoods. The Third Ward is a distinctive and culturally rich community, resonant with history, but in need of redevelopment. Housing units in the targeted area were mostly built before 1940.
With only a few individual donations, and the assistance of local realtors, the board planned its first Homebuyer’s Fair in early 1996. This was a way of informing the community of affordable housing opportunities and pre-qualifying interested homebuyers. Still, with little operating capital, the board began assembling realtors, technical assistance providers, builders, and other necessary players to begin the struggle of providing quality housing at an affordable cost in Northern Third Ward.
After applying for operational funds through the City of Houston’s Department of Housing and Community Development, a $50,000.00 capacity grant was approved on August 15, 1997. This allowed the board to set up an office and hire its first staff member.
In 1999, Re-Ward gained the support of additional grants through corporations, foundations, and other public giving sources. Well on their way, Re-Ward partnered with the city of Houston Planning Department and created the Zion’s Village Master Plan; a three phase comprehensive design plan for the revitalization of Northern Third Ward. Phase I was single family housing, Phase II was a Senior Citizen Unassisted Living Facility and Phase III consisted of multi-family housing units for low and low to moderate income individuals and families.
In 2000, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certified Re-Ward as a HUD Certified Counseling Agency. It was during this time that the Housing Mortgage Approval Program (H-MAP) was established. This opened the door for individuals and families throughout the City of Houston to participate in educational workshops and individual counseling services geared towards first time homeownership, credit counseling, budgeting, post purchase counseling, and some foreclosure prevention counseling.
In 2001, Re-Ward joined Covenant Community Capital Corporation (CCCC) in an effort to help provide down payment assistance to qualified candidates. Through CCCC, participants were able to receive $2 to every $1 they saved to be used for down payment of their first home, secondary education, or small business development. Re-Ward not only maintained the number one program enroller for several years but was successful in assisting several participants in graduating from the program and purchasing new homes, returning to school, and starting their own businesses.
To date, Re-Ward Third Ward has successfully implemented Phase I of Zion’s Village Master Plan which includes several joint ventures with Houston Habitat for Humanity, Tilson Builders, Mayberry Homes, Hearthstone Homes, Horizon Builders and others and providing decent affordable housing for dozens of families. Since inception of the organization, Re-Ward has purchased and developed over 400,000 square feet of land for affordable housing projects. In 2004, Re-Ward renovated and purchased an existing house from the community and implemented it’s rent to own program which allows qualified candidates a time to restore derogatory credit, save money needed for down payments, and adequately prepare for home ownership.
In 2005, Re-Ward began work on Phase II of its Master Plan by submitting its first Low Income Housing Tax Credit application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Phase II consists of developing affordable multifamily housing which includes apartments and townhome developments. The Zion Village Senior Contemporary Housing project that was awarded over $5 million dollars in Tax Credits in 2008 and began construction August 2008. Zion Village Senior Contemporary Housing consists of 50 units and was completed June 2009.
In Partnership with the City of Houston and Midtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ)/Midtown Redevelopment Authority, Re-Ward resumed its Single Family Affordable Housing Program. In the spring of 2009, Re-Ward completed construction of 2 Affordable Homes as part of the City HOPE Housing Program. Those 2 homes became the City of Houston's first Silver LEED Certified Affordable Homes.
In January 2010, the second Low Income Housing Tax Credit application for Zion Gardens Multifamily/Supportive Housing was submitted to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and was awarded over $9.5 million dollars in Tax Credit. Zion Gardens also known as HomeWood at Zion consist of 70 units multifamily development and was completed and leased up in 2012.
In January 2018, Re-Ward Third Ward Community Development Corporation updated it’s Zion Village Master Plan and has reengaged in the planning and development of Single Family Affordable and Workforce Housing, to build and sale in Third Ward and throughout the City of Houston.
For more information please contact Re-Ward Third Ward, Inc. at 832-527-5262.