Group of people cutting a red ribbon

An historic Houston neighborhood on the rebound

The once-thriving Fifth Ward is reversing decades of decline. In this video, community leaders and residents reveal how

Settled by emancipated slaves after the Civil War, Houston’s Fifth Ward was a thriving Black business and cultural hub well into the mid-20th century. In the decades that followed, however, poor city planning contributed to the decline of this downtown community as new freeways split neighborhoods, motivating many families to move to the suburbs.

The video below introduces some of the leaders working to revitalize the community, including Kathy Flanagan Payton, president and CEO of the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation(CRC). Fifth Ward CRC works to build and preserve an inclusive Fifth Ward community by developing places and opportunities for people to live, work and play.“Our goal is to increase and enhance opportunities for an improving quality of life through the programs that we offer,” says Payton. Real estate development plays a key role in that, as well as programs that celebrate the Fifth Ward’s heritage and build community pride.

The Fifth Ward is emblematic of larger racial and economic disparities in the United States, where 74% of white adults own a home, compared to just 43% of Black and 48% of Hispanic-Latino Americans.1 While a great deal of progress has been made in the community, more than a third of the neighborhood’s predominantly Black/African American and Hispanic-Latino residents live in poverty, and three-quarters earn less than Houston’s median income.2 That disparity puts affordable housing and home ownership out of reach for many residents, along with related benefits such as generational wealth building, higher education and opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.

A critical key to economic progress

“The Houston region is vibrant, one of the most diverse in the country,” says Hong Ogle, president of Bank of America Houston. “But income levels are not growing equally, and many families can’t keep up with the rising cost of housing.” In fact, housing affordability is a growing issue in the United States, where, since 1965, housing prices have increased by 118%, accounting for inflation, while real incomes have grown by only 15%.3 “Organizations like Fifth Ward CRC are critical to addressing the community’s challenges,” adds Ogle. “They teach community members to advocate for themselves for services like economic development, affordable housing, great public schools and arts and culture activities.”

“Organizations like Fifth Ward CRC are critical to addressing the community’s challenges.”

Hong Ogle, President of Bank of America Houston

Hong Igle

The support for Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation is an example of Bank of America’s commitment to help advance racial equality and economic opportunity in local neighborhoods around the country. From funding entrepreneurs and expanding home ownership to offering professional skills training and healthcare access, the bank continues to partner with innovative leaders to help communities find solutions to society’s biggest challenges.

Pew Research Center, “Key facts about housing affordability in the U.S.,” 2022.



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