Creating Communities in Affordable Housing Developments

January 15, 2016 | by Michael Wilt

Categories: Rental Housing, Supportive Housing Services, Texas Foundations Fund

Simply building affordable housing is a laudable goal, but community housing organizations and developers are increasingly looking for ways to create vibrant communities in affordable housing developments.   

So, what can community builders and developers do to actively transform an affordable housing development into a community? Main strategies include providing a variety of design features and on-site services to foster a vibrant community for residents.

Design Features

UrbanLand lists 11 strategies for creating community in affordable developments through design. As the article notes, “good design uplifts residents, helping strengthen social connections, relieve stress, and enhance a sense of safety and belonging.” Strategies include thinking about how the development can engage the surrounding neighborhood, including art in common areas, creating worthwhile open spaces, and even thinking carefully about how to make staircases and corridors inviting to promote socializing. 

On-Site Services

Beyond the design of the development, what takes place inside is critical towards creating a community. As a Kresge Foundation article notes, this allows developers and their property managers to accomplish “the whole mission of affordable housing: to provide a platform on which their residents can build a stable, healthy and independent future.” Responding to this mission, many affordable housing properties offer resident services like child care, after school care, and social events to foster tighter knit communities. And they offer supportive housing services like job training, continuing education, and health services to improve the lives of their residents.

TSAHC awards grant funding to help nonprofits provide support services at affordable housing communities through our Texas Foundations Fund. We invite you to read more about the work these organizations are doing across the state and success stories from a few of the more than 8,000 Texans we have assisted through our more than $2.2 million in awards. We celebrate the work these organizations are doing and look forward to our continued collaboration in creating vibrant and healthy communities.


On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

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