During the late 19th and early 20th century, the Fourth Ward was the center of black cultural and professional life in Houston. Now, a century later, the area has become one of the cityís most dilapidated neighborhoods.
The Fourth Ward lost its preeminence in the 1920ís as the Third Wardís population grew quickly, attracting more black institutions and organizations from surrounding areas. Because the Fourth Ward had an inability to expand, due to the construction of Interstate 45, it began to lose affluent residents to new housing developments. By 1980, almost 50 percent of Fourth Wardís residents lived below the poverty level, and only five percent owned their homes.
More recently, the continued future of the Fourth Ward has been threatened by neglect of much of its housing, along with the reluctance of investors to put capital in the ward. Until now.
Reverend Elmo Johnson has been purchasing old houses around the Fourth Ward since 1995 in hopes of rebuilding his community. Through the help of Compass Bank, Sisters of Charity and Houston Endowment, Johnson secured a Federal Home Loan bank grant to build a mixed-income senior housing project: Crawford W. Kimble Senior Living.
Homes in the 4th Ward prior to construction.
“It was so amazing to see how quickly everyone jumped on board. You just see the heart of people.” -Terry Bryan, Riverstone Residential Group