Texas Department of Transportation
After DRA successfully led and completed the transformative multi-year $900M Port of Corpus Christi, Harbor Bridge project that impacted the historic Hillcrest community it was clear that DRA would be the right choice for the $9.5B North Houston Highway Improvement Program. The NHHIP is multi-year, multistage infrastructure project that will reshape transportation, mobility, and the downtown landscape in the fourth largest city in the U.S. while displacing thousands of residents and business and impacting historic minority communities.
The Texas Department of Transportation, TxDOT selected DRA to handle the Environmental Justice/ Enhanced Relocation Services in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward community. A community that had been decimated in the past by growth US 59 and I-10. Fifth Ward is a diverse minority community with a very politically active population and home to several community activist.
DRA deployed an advanced team that performed an in-market analysis of the project at every level, identified supporters, detractors, community leaders, and gatekeepers. The team then built relationships and goodwill by introducing themselves to local leaders and quashing rumors by providing accurate up to date information on the project status before engaging with any residents. The DRA approach to keeping an open-door policy and reaching out to stakeholders. This allowed DRA to have community leaders and organizations speak on behalf of the work that DRA was set to do in the community. The DRA team sponsored and participated in multiple community events that helped put a softer face on the project while forging alliances with local leaders and organizations that would be necessary on such an ambitious project.
DRA’s network of in-field relationships was critical in quashing bad press, garnering support, and positive testimonials for the NHHIP at a grassroots level that the client could leveraged by the client in public hearings, gaining and maintaining support at the highest levels of government. Due to the solid results of the Environmental Justice work DRA gained scope secured a relocation contract on the Fifth Ward segment of project. The team partnered with the Houston Housing Authority to relocate residents in the historic Clayton Homes housing project. The team ensured Uniform Relocation Act compliance while providing residents with wraparound services. As a result, Clayton Homes residents were able to receive help in workforce development, homeownership, educational, and financial literacy resources