Historic African American church joins affordable housing program during Black History Month

In the heart of Houston’s Greater Third Ward sits a church founded in 1880 by former slaves. Boynton Chapel Methodist Church at the corner of Milby Street and Tuam Street has a long history of achievements and a steadfast commitment to the neighborhood it has called home for 143 years.

A history of service

The current chapel, part of the National Fund for Sacred Places, was designed in 1957 by John Saunders Chase, the first Black architect licensed in Texas and one of the founders of the National Organization of Minority Architects. Labeled a beacon of hope and service to Houston’s Black community, the church now welcomes 270 people to worship each week and conducts substantial community outreach. The church is a COVID-19 testing and vaccination site, offers a free dental clinic, and distributes food and clothing.

From housing advocate to housing builder

The church has long been an advocate for affordable housing. In 2023, it will move from advocating to building affordable housing.  

“Boynton is the newest partner in our affordable housing program,” said Midtown Redevelopment Authority (MRA) Real Estate Director Todd Edwards. “There are still some steps to finalize before we break ground on Boynton’s first homes, but we didn’t want to miss the chance to highlight their addition to our program during Black History Month.”

Boynton will start with five homes near the church. The lots were provided free of charge by MRA, which makes vacant land available to developers who commit to building affordably priced workforce housing. Houston Business Development Inc., a longtime partner in the affordable housing program, will help guide Boynton in this new venture.  

How to qualify

“Third Ward means a lot to this church,” said Boynton Chapel Pastor Linda Davis. “I know there are many current and former residents who would like to be able to buy a home here. It is a great opportunity, and we are jumping in feet first.”   

Pastor Davis urged her church members and residents in the area to find out if they qualify for the program. The homes are available for sale to buyers with incomes ranging from 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) to 120% of AMI. For a family of four, that translates to an annual income of between $70,850 and $106,300. Pastor Davis 

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