Honoring Reverend Lawson’s Legacy on Affordable Housing

Reverend William A. Lawson was a beacon of hope, justice, and equality. His legacy spans civil rights activism, community empowerment, and profound spiritual leadership. As a trailblazer who stood alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Reverend Lawson’s impact on the socio-political landscape of Houston and the nation is immeasurable. His tireless efforts in fostering economic development, securing educational opportunities, and advocating for social justice have left an indelible mark on history. But did you know that providing safe, affordable housing was also part of his mission?

WALIPP, the nonprofit William A. Lawson Institute for Peace and Prosperity, is among the recipients of land from the Midtown Redevelopment Authority (MRA). MRA grants land from its inventory to nonprofits and for-profit builders who agree to build affordable housing in Greater Third Ward, OST/South Union, and MacGregor.

WALIPP’s planned project on Grantwood Street in the Third Ward will be the home of 102 much-needed senior housing units adjacent to the current WALIPP Senior Residence, a four-story structure opened in 2004. The WALIPP Senior Residence offers independent living for adults aged 55 and above. The facility features 42 two-bedroom and eight one-bedroom apartments, all compliant with the American Disabilities Act. Situated on Scott Street near Southmore Boulevard, the 1.88-acre site is a vital part of the Third Ward community. Many of the residents of WALIPP Senior Residence relocated from single-family homes within Third Ward. Providing affordable options for long-time residents to stay or return to the area where they grew up is a priority for MRA and its affordable housing program partner, the Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement (CCPPI).

Reverend Lawson’s influence on affordable housing is not limited to the WALIPP Senior Residence and the proposed project for the MRA-awarded land. From Muntu Village on North MacGregor Street in the 1980s to Nubia Square on Southmore Boulevard in the 1990s, and numerous other initiatives, his dedication to providing homes for those in need has been unwavering.

The new project on the MRA-awarded land aims to continue this legacy, offering more seniors a place to call home. Though financing is still in progress, MRA and CCPPI are honored to support this project, ensuring that Reverend Lawson’s dream of a thriving, inclusive community remains alive. Learn more about the MRA/CCPPI affordable housing program here.