HUMBLE– Houston Golf Association has received a $10,000 grant from the United States Golf Association to be utilized for after-school programming for children at the Haverstock Hills Apartment Complex, a once crime-riddled government public housing project. The funding will be used primary to transport children from the Haverstock Hills Community Center to Houston Golf Association’s youth programming facilities adjacent to Redstone Golf Club, home of the Shell Houston Open PGA TOUR event.
Their first visit to the complex was March 27, as an activity in conjunction with the Shell Houston Open. Haverstock Hills is located at the corner of U.S. Highway 59 (Eastex Freeway) and Aldine Bender Road and was once called “the most dangerous apartments in the entire country,” in reports by Houston ABC affiliate KTRK-TV, Ch. 13. In 2009 alone authorities received more than 3,000 calls from residents reporting gang violence, burglary, drug trafficking and prostitution. Much has changed over the last two years, thanks to the efforts of the Harris County District Attorney’s office and the Rainbow Housing Assistance Corporation, who have helped establish The Paggi Community Center for Haverstock Hills residents.
“This generous grant from the United States Golf Association enables the youth of this community to dream bigger and bolder. Not only will the youth be transported to the Houston Golf Association’s facilities, but it also has the potential to carry them out of poverty by building a bridge to opportunities otherwise not available to them” said Rainbow Executive Director Flynann Janisse. “Our role in this is to give young people in our community the opportunity for activities in a safe environment,” said Steve Timms, president/CEO of the Houston Golf Association. “Our outreach program can make a real difference in the lives of the young people at the Haverstock Hills Apartments, who face challenges daily due to their environment.”
The Harris County District Attorney’s office made history in 2010 by filing the first-ever civil injunction against gang activity in the county, creating a 57-acre “safety zone” that encompassed the Haverstock Hills Complex, neighboring elementary school and local businesses. This action helped develop community-wide safety initiatives that led to a reduction of calls to authorities for service by 67%. A community center, run by Rainbow, is now in place to serve the residents in the 700-unit complex. Between 800-1,000 children reside at the Haverstock Hills Complex.
“Realistically we would be thrilled if between 50-100 kids showed keen interest,” said Dianne Overstreet, Director of HGA Youth Programs. “What we offer besides an introduction to our youth programming will be round trip transportation between the Community Center and our facilities. If 5-to-15 children decide they want to further participate in our programming, then we’ll consider this a large-scale success.”