Fort Worth takes important steps on housing

08/29/2014 6:14 PM

08/29/2014 6:16 PM

The City Council took two more important steps this week toward creating more affordable housing in Fort Worth — specifically, single-family homes.

The council found a way to contribute $250,000 to Trinity Habitat for Humanity. That will enable the organization to build four additional homes in east Fort Worth during an October project led by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn.

Star-Telegram writer Caty Hirst reported that an application for an affordable housing project at Renaissance Square fell through, freeing up funds for a grant to Habitat.

The money comes from the city’s Housing Finance Corp., for which the council is the board of directors.

Earlier this year, the council changed the city’s tax abatement policy to enable more contributions from developers to flow to the Housing Finance Corp.

Fort Worth faces a 17,000-unit shortfall of housing for families living at 30 percent of the area median income.

Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray’s District 8 includes part of the Central Meadowbrook neighborhood where Habitat plans to build 20 homes. She also chairs the city’s task force on affordable housing.

The Housing Finance Corp. typically focuses on building apartments, but single-family homes are also an important part of the affordable housing mix.

“That is one of the ways we revitalize our central-city communities, is to do infill housing,” Gray said.

The corporation also will spend $1.3 million from federal grant funds to build single-family homes in the north side Diamond Hill-Jarvis neighborhood.

The goal is to build 21 homes to sell for $90,000 to $125,000 each. Buyers will be families that earn 80 percent of the area’s median family income or less.

The land for the homes, in the 3600 block of Hardy Street, was formerly occupied by a nursing home. The city acquired it in a 2011 tax foreclosure and demolished the nursing home.

The city is whittling away at its housing problems.

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