Denton Citizen Survey Highlights Need for Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is an issue in many North Texas cities. Results of a recent survey of Denton citizens confirms it's also a top concern for residents there.

Affordable housing was one of the main needs highlighted in the annual National Citizen Survey, a collaborative effort between National Research Center, and the International City/County Management Association. Experts say the working poor, people with disabilities and victims of domestic violence often find it hard to find a safe, affordable place to live.

"The rents in Denton match the rents in Dallas," said Rudolph Garza, executive director of Denton Affordable Housing Corporation. "They're all high here. It's a matter of supply and demand."

"We have gotten a lot of feedback in the area of affordable housing," said Jessica Rogers, deputy communications director for the city of Denton. "And taking then next steps can be difficult."

The annual survey gives city leaders insight on what people like and don't like about Denton. Folks appear to be drawn by the quality of life, and ratings show they're generally happy with city government services and their police department.

Survey results showed satisfaction with education and community engagement at levels higher than the national average. Recreation and wellness, however, ranked lower. Also receiving low marks -- predictable measures like road construction and traffic flow -- or lack thereof.

The survey will give Denton leaders a chance to look at policy for the upcoming year, Rogers said.

"We get the results, and we can sit down as a city and see areas where we need to improve or areas we are doing well and look at what we need to do to improve, or maybe continue doing what we're doing," she said.

The Denton Affordable Housing Corporation owns 91 affordable housing rental units -- a drop in the bucket, Garza said, compared to the need.

"Probably 10 times that," he said. "The need is so exponential, it's hard to define."

According to the survey, people want to live in Denton. Paying for it may be a problem. A solution takes a village, Garza said.

"Nobody can do this alone," he said. "Nobody has the talent or the knowledge or even the resources to do it on their own."

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