National Equity Fund

St. Elizabeth Place Apartment’s Historic Origins Will Breathe New Life Into Houston’s Fifth Ward

September 27, 2021

Congratulations to Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation (FWCRC) on last Friday’s (September 27th) groundbreaking of St. Elizabeth Place Apartments in the Fifth Ward district of Houston, Texas. The development consists of the rehabilitation and repurposing of St. Elizabeth Hospital, which was originally constructed to in 1947 by the Archdiocese of Galveston to serve the marginalized communities of a segregated Houston, particularly its African American population. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at the groundbreaking, “The development we are breaking ground on has a similar objective, [to the original hospital] to give disadvantaged residents of the Fifth Ward access to attractive homes and opportunities for personal and professional growth.” With Houston still recovering from the effects of 2019’s Hurricane Harvey, St. Elizabeth Place Apartments will be an essential new source of affordable housing.

The original building of the hospital is in the shape of a capital “E,” symbolizing Elizabeth, and was constructed in the elegant, less-ornamented Art Décoratifs-style that was popular in the late 1940s. A chapel separated the two wings, and a Convent was constructed to the east of the main building, which is now connected by a steel concourse walkway. The hospital originally accommodated 60 beds. Additional floors and wings were added during the 1950s and a non-historic structure to the southwest of the building was added in the late 1980s. This mix of historic construction and later additions will now contain 85 units of supportive housing.

Organized in 1989, developer FWCRC is “a catalytic organization dedicated to the collaborative fostering of holistic community development”. Committed specifically to the preservation and rehabilitation of Houston’s historic Fifth Ward, FWCRC “seeks to enhance quality of life for individuals and families, eliminate blight, attract investment and resources, encourage commercial and business development, coordinate government and public service, and offer a sense of destination and creative place-making.”

Partners like FWCRC are vital to the well-being of the affordable housing industry, with their particular focus and expertise resulting in excellent developments designed specifically to support the surrounding community. We are proud to work with FWCRC to create innovative solutions to the housing crisis affecting individuals and families in Houston and across the country.

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