A community-developed plan to illuminate and offer solutions for Sunnyside, Houston
Sunnyside, a historically African-American community located in Houston, Texas, is known for its rich heritage, resident pride and neighborly compassion. Because of their resilient and introspective spirit, Sunnyside community leaders have declared a call to action: Improve the quality of life for ALL residents.
Like other predominantly low income African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods in Houston, Sunnyside deals with inadequate city services, high poverty, alarming crime rates, underperforming schools and deteriorating housing. In order to address these conditions and help the community to reach its goals, residents developed a Sunnyside community plan as a blueprint for change.
Alongside partners at the Texas Organizing Project, Sunnyside Plan participants sought to engage community residents and stakeholders, illuminate the root causes of existing problems and offer a concrete set of solutions to affect positive change in the community.
Check out the latest version of the Sunnyside Plan and feel free to provide any feedback by getting in touch below.
Texas Organizing Project and Texas Low Income Housing Information Service provided assistance to Sunnyside residents in the development of this plan.
Sunnyside was originally settled as an African-American subdivision outside of Houston's city limits during the era of redlining, or government-enforced racial segregation. Early residents overcame Jim Crow-era barriers to create a largely rural, close-knit community with churches, businesses, civic clubs, a school and even two small airports. Without access to public services, residents created their own water district and volunteer fire department.
When the City of Houston annexed Sunnyside in 1956, residents expected municipal services to follow. But essential public services and infrastructure improvements were withheld and instead the City concentrated garbage dumps and subsidized housing in Sunnyside, resulting in decades of overall neighborhood decline and disinvestment.
A century of cumulative public policy has led to many of Sunnyside’s current challenges. The City created most of these problems through official policies, and must now correct them. Simply ending these policies will not fix the problems.
It will require remediation on the part of the City to undo the harms.
Current Population (Approximate)
Population Below Poverty Line
Population Statistics: American Community Survey, 2009-2013 5-Year Estimates
The Sunnyside Plan is a blueprint for the future of Sunnyside presented to elected officials, administrators, developers, and other decision makers to demand improvements and better services. The centerpiece is the
Action Plan, focusing on three issues prioritized by the community:
Sunnyside's students face the grave inequity of the Houston public school system, including racial segregation, disinvestment in minority communities, increased criminalization and low performance. Learn More >>
Recently ranked as the second-most dangerous neighborhood in the country, Sunnyside suffers from an unresponsive and often adversarial police presence as well as high rates of incarceration for residents. Learn More >>
HOUSING AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Many of the issues in Sunnyside can be traced to failures of government policy, including the overconcentration of subsidized housing, lack of code enforcement and substandard infrastructure. Learn More >>
Sunnyside residents who created this plan are leading ongoing subcommittee work around these three issues.
Each subcommittee identifies visions, goals and strategies to carry out the plan's priorities through a guided implementation process (see right). The Action Plans for each subcommittee can be found on the issue pages linked above.
If you have questions or comments or would like to get involved, please fill out the form to the right or like the Sunnyside Plan on Facebook!