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Beyonce, Kelly Rowland team with Harris County to build homes for unhoused

Klaudia//July 2, 2023
Harris County officials and Houston natives Beyonce and Kelly Rowland are collaborating to create 31 permanent housing units in Midtown. The initiative was announced Tuesday by county leaders, who will use $7.2 million in American Rescue Plan funds to develop housing at the Bread of Life gymnasium at 2019 Crawford Street.

Judge Lina Hidalgo said an "even bigger launch" on the housing units would be announced in September when Beyonce is in Houston for her Renaissance World Tour. Beyonce's two tour dates in the city are Saturday, Sept. 23, and Sunday, Sept. 24, at NRG Stadium.

"Harris County and the city of Houston, jointly with the coalition for the homeless, have reduced homeless in the middle of the pandemic by 20 percent, and we've been able to hold that reduction," Hidalgo said in a press conference Tuesday morning. "We just did the homeless count again, so it's initiatives like this one I certainly will be supportive of it no matter whose behind it, but it's especially interesting, I think, because there are these names of Beyonce and Kelly Rowland, who, of course, have been supportive of the community for a very long time."

According to a May Point-in-Time survey by the Coalition for the Homeless, Houston's unhoused population has declined by an estimated 17 percent since 2022.

In addition to the 31 housing units, the Knowles-Rowland House permanent housing project will have case managers, peer specialists, service specialists, and support services, like transportation, mental health, physical and behavioral health support, county records note.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said the project plans to break ground in October and will total around $8.4 million in estimated costs, with the additional funds coming from outside groups, including Rice University.

Local Pastor and executive director of Bread of Life Rudy Rasmus said he was "grateful" for the county's collaboration and said the Knowles-Rowland Project was spurred when Destiny's Child singers Beyonce, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams used money from one of their first hit single, "No, No, No" to build a youth center in the city.

"This will be our fifth housing development in downtown in Precinct 1 over these last 17 years, and just really grateful to continue to help end homeless in our county," Rasmus said.