Peoples United Summit
P.O. Box 23332, Houston, TX 77228
Founded and established in 1996
Rev. James E. Nash, President
Shirley J. King, Secretary
Carla Y. Nash, Homebuyers Coordinator
Excerpt taken from Building Hope: Revitalizing Houston's Historic Neighborhoods, Houston Hope Homes
Reverend James Nash has lived in Sunnyside his entire life. To hear him tell it, he grew up in a neighborhood that was so depressed “tears flooded the streets.” Now that same neighborhood beams with life.
The charismatic pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist Church has seen his community through thick and thin. “I deliberately built my church in the Old Sunnyside area because that’s where I was raised up. I’ve been pastor of this church now for thirty years.” Nash’s roots in Sunnyside mean that he’s deeply committed to helping the neighborhood flourish, and now a whole new generation of residents has begun planting roots in the area as well.
Sunnyside’s comeback owes a lot to the efforts of Reverend Nash, whose larger-than-life presence in the community has been instrumental in rallying support and kindling community pride. After establishing Sunnyside Place CDC and partnering with Houston HOPE, Reverend Nash helped transform the downtrodden Sunnyside of his childhood into a thriving neighborhood that continues to attract new affordable home construction and new residents eager to call the place home. “This community has been neglected for so long but now it’s beautiful. When you get so many new residents coming in, it really tells you what kind of community we’re building.” Reverend Nash’s story illustrates just how indispensable the roles of community leaders and organizations are to growing the Houston HOPE program. Nash was determined to get the revitalization cause on the city’s radar. “I personally went around and took a lot of photos of the blight, the old houses, the weeded lots and brought them to Bill White while he was still campaigning for Mayor. And lo and behold, he did become Mayor and created the Houston HOPE program.”
Reverend Nash continues to work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for the people of Sunnyside. His church works with the Houston Food Bank to donate a trailer full of food once a month to anyone who wants it. “We feed about 300 to 400 people each month, and that’s my way of giving back to the community,” said Nash.
Nash also realized how important it was that residents feel safe, so he worked with the Houston Police Department to increase police visibility and clean up crime in the area. After helping close down a hotsheet motel, his CDC bought the property and is now in the process of replacing the demolished motel with four single family homes. It’s a perfect metaphor for the Houston HOPE philosophy that every once-blighted neighborhood has the potential to turn over a new leaf – or turn over new ground, as the case may be. Reverend Nash remarked that he’s still amazed to drive through his neighborhood and see all the positive changes the area has gone through. “We in the Sunnyside area are very proud of what our neighborhood is becoming.”
For more information or to make a donation, contact:
Rev. James E. Nash or Versie Green 713-731-7050
Versie M. Green, Executive Director
Sunnyside Place CDC was formed in 2001 to provide outreach to seniors, children and families and has partnered with organizations, the City of Houston and developers to create affordable housing.
Established by St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church at Brandon is the Marcie L. Keys Activity Center , an 80 x 65 square foot facility, intended to accommodate community concerts, stage plays, graduations, weddings, stage plays, meetings and conferences.
Stella Nash, Senior Citizens Coordinator