Affordable Housing Choices

Learn more about sustainABLEhouse and our work in the RGV.

Working in partnership with the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB), bcWORKSHOP is able to implement the sustainABLEhouse process at scale in Cameron County, Texas. CDCB is the largest non-profit producers of single-family affordable housing for homeownership in the State of Texas. Their Colonia Redevelopment program replaces homes in colonias that are substandard due to poor construction and/or natural disasters. The CDCB/ bcWORKSHOP partnership was formed to provide greater choice to clients in need of new housing while offering more environmentally friendly practices and enhancing the design of local affordable housing. Each client is an integral part of the design process helping guide design decisions ranging from basic layout to landscape and finishes. Families participating in this program now have the choice to select from a new home design catalogue or collaborate on custom, site-specific designs meeting their needs.

The design catalogue is an ever evolving set of designs influenced by previous client engagement. bcWORKSHOP provides family engagement,  designs and construction administration services while CDCB provides client enrollment, financial, and construction management services. The home design catalogue is reviewed and updated as development continues, increasing the choices for sustainable and affordable housing typologies available in the area. The partnership is well on track to reach its goal to construct more than forty homes during 2013 through the sustainABLEhouse model.

Anticipated outcomes:

  • Homeowners are empowered by the design process, investing more in their homes, and strengthening neighborhoods.
  • Design and construction quality of affordable homes in the LRGV region will rise, and knowledge of sustainable practices will increase among local contractors.
  • Homes tailored to each family will have higher functionality, resulting in lower long-term utility costs and environmental impact.
  • A design catalogue is developed to supplement limited, outdated options for homebuilders. This catalogue will offer designs sensitive to both local context and culture, as a direct result of collaboration with colonia residents and families.
  • Diversity of homes will maintain the existing vibrant communities, and strengthen colonia identity.
  • Capacity of both CDCB and bcWORKSHOP will increase. CDCB’s programs will offer more design choice to its clients, and bcWORKSHOP will gain experience to scale the sustainABLEhouse initiative in the North Texas region.