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In Texas, and across the country disability rights activists have demanded, worked for, and won improved transportation services, the right to choose where to live, and access to housing that suits their needs. But there are still many more strides to take toward more inclusive, accessible communities. In episode 24, Texas Housers talks to disability rights advocate and organizer Stephanie Thomas, with ADAPT of Texas. Thomas discusses how the fight for equitable public transportation in Texas led to a greater struggle for civil rights, community inclusion, and decent, accessible housing.  Learn more  about ADAPT at and disability organizing at 
Since the innovation of major highways in the mid-20th century, there has been a legacy of erasure and erosion of Black and Brown neighborhoods. Nearly 70 years later, communities of color are still fighting those battles in areas like Houston, where the efforts of Stop TxDOT I-45 aim to give these neighborhoods agency and choice regarding the future of their homes. On this episode of A Little Louder, Michael Depland is joined by former (and forever) Houser Sophie Dulberg, Ally Smither from Stop TxDOT I-45, and Kendra London from Our Afrikan Family to talk about the history of fighting this expansion, where things currently stand, and what the affected neighborhoods want for their communities. You can learn more about Stop TxDOT I-45 here, Air Alliance Houston here, and Our Afrikan Family here.
In this halftime report from the 88th Session of the Texas Legislature, or maybe a little later in the game, Texas Housers' research director Ben Martin joins the show to provide updates on bills regarding eviction preemption, funding for renters, and other tenant protections. Also, Ben and Michael discuss how renters can make themselves seen as equally as homeowners at the State Capitol.
A Little Louder is back to talk about the latest in housing from the 88th Session. Texas Housers has been tracking a number of specific bills at the 2023 Texas Legislature that directly impact those who interface with the eviction process. Jessica Vittorio, managing attorney at the Dallas Eviction Advocacy Center, has a unique perspective as someone who both works in Justice of the Peace courts as well as at the Texas Legislature in order to bring balance and equity for tenants in the eviction process. In this episode, we are talking about proposed legislation that could preempt great strides made locally here in Texas as well as other more positive opportunities to give renters in this state rights which are enjoyed almost everywhere else in our country.
This supersized episode of A Little Louder features two special guests to talk about bills affecting low-income households at the 88th session of the Texas Legislature. Eric Samuels, President and CEO of Texas Homeless Network and Tanya Lavelle, Policy Specialist from Disability Rights Texas each have worked in the Texas Legislature (and beside Texas Housers) for many years and both joined the show to talk about the legislation they are championing that will help low-income households, what they are optimistic about following a down 2021 session, and how everyone can get involved in the legislative process.
It's a new year and a new session, the 88th to be exact, of the Texas Legislature. Communications Manager Michael Depland sits down with Research Director Ben Martin to break down the housing bills with the biggest potential impacts this session including issues regarding the construction of affordable housing, fighting for tenants' rights, and much more including how you can get involved and keep up with what's happening at the Capitol. Follow housing bills on our website: Texas Tenants For Change petition for Renters' Rights:
The Department of Treasury launched its Emergency Rental Assistance Program in March of 2021 with Texas receiving $2.4 billion dollars to aid with families and individuals struggling to stay housed during the pandemic. Now nearly 18 months later, Texas Housers has observed the manner in which the State of Texas and 37 localities within have distributed this essential rental assistance and closely reviewed 10 major programs in our latest report ‘Emergency Rental Assistance in Texas: How it went and what happens now.’ On today's Buzz Session of A Little Louder, we hear from the report's author, research analyst Erin Hahn, to ask her how the ERA program was seen in different regions of Texas, how the Federal government's hands off approach had pros and cons, and what should be done to prevent displacement and evictions in the future using lessons from this program. You can read the report on our blog and keep posted here on Texas Housers' website for a companion report on evictions in January.
This week, Texas Housers communications manager Michael Depland speaks with two members of Texas Tenants For Change – Myra and Beeper. The two Houser Academy fellows talk about what went into forming a group, their common experiences as tenants despite living hundreds of miles away, and what they hope to accomplish with their foray into statewide advocacy, including their petition for tenants' rights and livestreams to give voice to renters everywhere. You can find the group's petition here and join Texas Tenants For Change on their next livestream on Dec. 1.
As the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) ramps up its process to update the rules and scoring criteria by which proposed Tax Credit developments are evaluated – one of the largest creators of affordable housing in the state of Texas – via the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP), Texas Housers has released a new report of recommendations to ensure that the best standards and most equitable guidelines are in place to build more affordable housing.  Our research director Ben Martin joins the podcast in order to break down the recent report, declare what should change in the process in general, and how everyday people like you can join in the process to help shape affordable housing in Texas. You can read the report on our blog as well learn how to submit comments by the October 14th, 2022 deadline.
In A Little Louder Buzz Session #5, Texas Housers’ community equity analyst in San Antonio Uel Trejo was joined by communications manager Michael Depland to discuss her work in shaping this most recent SAPMC, how residents feel Code Enforcement abuses its power and does not provide residents proper information, and how everyone learn more about these sorts of violations. You can read Uel’s recent editorial on code violations at the San Antonio Report as well as the Ousted report which also deals with similar issues.
On this episode of A Little Louder, Texas Housers' Southeast Texas Regional Director Julia Orduña joins fellow Houser and Communications Manager Michael Depland to explore more than just a simple look back at Hurricane Harvey, but the work that survivors have put in to seize their own power and make their homes whole again.  Several members of the Harvey Forgotten Survivors Caucus sat with Julia for interviews to explain why the Caucus is so important, how they managed to keep organizing through COVID-19, and their upcoming event 'Hurricane Harvey: 5 Years Of Survival - We Are Still Here' on Saturday, September 3rd. More information on this event can be found at
John welcomes Ann Lott from Inclusive Communities Project in Dallas as well as our advocacy director David Wheaton to talk about a troubling trend starting in Denton regarding Homeowners Associations. The local HOA for Providence Village determined last month that housing choice vouchers will no longer be accepted in their community and landlords who do will be fined for doing so. The bulk of recipients of HCVs in the area are Black families and the majority population of Providence Village are white, non-hispanic families. After major pushback from county officials, the situation on the ground has shifted, but voucher holders in Providence Village are still in danger of displacement. Ann tells gives us the details of what is happening in North Texas, and how ICP, Texas Housers, and local residents are fighting back against this discrimination and civil rights violation.
On this episode, John welcomes Texas Housers educator Riley Metcalfe to the show to talk about the Houser Academy, our tenant-focused initiative centered on gathering budding advocates from around the state to consolidate people power. We explore the origins of the Houser Academy, what this second year of the project is seeking to accomplish, and how Texas Housers wants newcomers to get involved.
John is joined by Texas Housers' Advocacy Director David Wheaton on this episode to discuss the recent final determination from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that the Texas General Land Office discriminated against Black and Hispanic Texans in their distribution of CDBG-MIT funds to protect their neighborhoods from future storms and disasters. John and David break down the creation of these dollars, how the discrimination happened, and what needs to come next to protect these neglected communities.
For this Buzz Session episode, John is joined by Texas Housers' Tori Tavormina and Erin Hahn who both are observing eviction court in Houston and San Antonio respectively. What they are seeing there is that while tenant protections exist for those who are receiving rent relief, they are not necessarily observed. We dive deep into what's happening and what needs to come next for eviction court.
On this episode, John explores issues we have heard personally, as well as in the media, regarding the Texas Rent Relief program. While it has been stellar in distributing funds quickly to those who need it, how can they improve accuracy and targeting? And how can we ensure that those seeking help aren't lost in the shuffle and displaced from their homes? We're joined by Texas Housers eviction prevention specialist Tori Tavormina and research analyst Erin Hahn to learn more.
Texas Housers, alongside community members and Texas Organizing Project, have strongly declared together that San Antonio needs a Tenant Bill of Rights. We outlined on our blog what the items in a Tenant Bill of Rights in San Antonio would be, but what does that look like in detail? On this episode of A Little Louder, John is joined by Texas Housers' advocacy director David Wheaton and Texas Organizing Project's Geoffrey Okolo to explain how a Tenant Bill of Rights could effect real, practical change in the city of San Antonio.
In A Little Louder Buzz Session #3, Texas Housers’ Senior Researcher Ben Martin and Research Analyst Erin Hahn discuss the confusion caused by the Treasury Department. They make the case for why it is important to clarify the federal policies on clawing back Emergency Rent Assistance. The US Treasury Department oversees state and local government expenditures of federal Emergency Rent Assistance funds. Texas Housers has discovered inconsistencies in the Treasury Department’s administration of these funds that is causing confusion on when unexpended funds will be taken away from local programs who have not spent all the funds they were allocated. Listen now!
In our latest Buzz Session from A Little Louder, host John Henneberger sits with Texas Housers' Southeast Texas regional director Julia Orduña, communications manager Michael Depland, and research analyst Erin Hahn to talk about what are the takeaways we've learned as advocates and those fighting for housing justice under this unique crisis. What are the temporary changes that need to become permanent? The group talks about what is happening now, with nearly two years under these circumstances, and what needs to happen next. You can watch the video of 'A Little Louder Video Buzz Session 2: Lessons to learn from COVID' on our website, or you can listen to the audio version wherever you get your podcasts.
On this episode, John is joined by Shoshana Krieger of BASTA Austin who stops by to talk about the fights for tenants' rights happening in both Austin City Council and alongside fellow organizers on the ground. Krieger spoke with us about demanding more protections for tenants in Austin and the hurdles BASTA faces individually as renters as well as a progressive organization in a tenant-hostile state.
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