August 26, 2014

Fort Worth grants $250,000 to Trinity Habitat for Humanity

The money will help build four additional homes during the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project in October.

Trinity Habitat for Humanity will be able to build four additional homes in east Fort Worth during the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project in October after the city committed Tuesday to giving $250,000 to the effort.

Since 1984, the Carters have dedicated a week each year to helping Habitat for Humanity, and this year, the couple will work with Trinity Habitat for Humanity and Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity from Oct. 5 to Oct. 11.

Council members, acting as the Housing Finance Corp., unanimously approved the grant, with Councilmen Jungus Jordan and W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman absent.

Trinity Habitat is ranked 20th in the nation for new home production, according to city documents.

“As this project started to unfold, it didn’t look like we would be able to participate in the project because we had those dollars earmarked for other projects,” said Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray, whose district includes part of the Central Meadowbrook neighborhood, where 20 Habitat homes are being built.

An application for a tax credit for an affordable-housing project at Renaissance Square fell through, allowing the city to grant the money to Habitat, she said.

“It is quality, safe affordable housing and it is really important for us to participate as we continue to talk about homeownership, permanent supportive housing and all of the different types of housing that we need in order to move our city forward,” Gray said.

Gage Yager, executive director of Trinity Habitat, said construction has started on about half the homes and will begin that week on the other half.

“It exposes more people to our mission and what we do, building homes and hope and partnership with God’s people. That is our mission in life,” Yager said. “And so when you pull somebody in as big as President Carter or his wife …people might get involved that have never swung a hammer at Habitat before.”

He expects 700 to 800 volunteers each day of the project. They will also paint 50 existing homes in the area.

The project begins four days after Carter’s 90th birthday.

Affordable housing

On Tuesday, the Housing Finance Corp. also approved spending $1.3 million in federal funds to build single-family homes in the Diamond Hill-Jarvis neighborhood. The finance corporation will act as the developer for the project, which aims to build 21 affordable homes.

The city acquired a nursing home in the 3600 block of Hardy Street because of a tax foreclosure in 2011 and demolished it the same year, said Jay Chapa, the housing and economic development director.

All the homes will be sold to families who earn 80 percent or less of the area median income. The homes are expected to sell for $90,000 to $125,000.

Gray, who will chair the city’s task force on affordable housing — also created Tuesday — said that the city has focused on building affordable apartments but that family homes are also important.

“For the focus to be shifting to single-family, that is definitely a good thing, especially when we talk about infill in our central city,” Gray said. “That is one of the ways we revitalize our central-city communities, is to do infill housing.”

The 13-member task force is charged with conducting an inventory of permanent supportive housing in Tarrant County, investigating best practices in other cities, formulating criteria for developing permanent supportive housing in Fort Worth and evaluating alternative policies for developing housing.

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