FORT WORTH — Some groups in Fort Worth, primarily African-Americans and Hispanics, face barriers to fair housing, according to preliminary study results presented at a special meeting called by the Community Development Council on Wednesday.The final results and recommendations for improvement will be available to the city in December, said Robert Gaudin, director of research and planning for Western Economic Services, the Portland, Ore.-based company that is working on the analysis. Preliminary findings, however, indicate that even when African-Americans, Anglos and Hispanics have similar incomes, the minority groups are charged higher interest rates on loans and are disproportionately denied loans.Overall, from 2004 through 2011, 15.2 percent of Anglos were denied a housing loan while 33.1 percent of African-Americans and 25.7 percent of Hispanics were denied loans, according to the study. Those denials were heavily concentrated in the southeast and the near northwest areas of the inner city of Fort Worth.Other issues included having an overconcentration of assisted and lower-income housing in selected areas; lack of coordination between public transit routes, job locations and lower-income residential areas; and discrimination in rental markets related to terms and conditions of leases and refusal to rent outright. Nancy Dahle, director of housing for the women’s shelter Safe Haven, shared many of the same concerns found in the study.“Our clients have a very difficult time finding housing outside of the poverty areas. Those are the areas they find they have to live in,” Dahle said during the meeting. “It seems to me it would be better for these people to go to an area that was more diverse as far as income, ethnicity, job opportunities and so forth. ”Dahle said public transit system needs to be improved, since it can take two to three hours for some people using bus service to get to work.Gaudin also expressed concern over the lack of understanding of fair-housing issues shown by Fort Worth residents who responded to a survey conducted as part of the study. The survey will continue until Oct. 14. It is available at https://www.research.net/s/2013FortWorthFairHousingSurvey.The Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice is required every three to five years by the Housing and Urban Development Department.Cynthia Garcia, acting director for the city Housing and Economic Development Department, said Fort Worth made several improvements after the last study was completed in 2010.Her department will receive about $10 million for this budget year from HUD and uses the money for things like housing counseling, housing partnerships and sponsors housing summits.
Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984 Twitter @catyhirst