Fort Worth

Fort Worth's Solution to Affordable Housing Crisis: Build Its Own

Fort Worth’s housing authority has come up with a solution to the affordable housing crisis – building its own apartment complexes for low-income residents.

Some 25 developments have quietly gone up in the last few years. Another five are under construction.

“It’s just a real nice community,” said Takeisha Holmes, a single mother of three who recently moved into the new Stallion Pointe Apartments near Everman.

Holmes had lived for four years in Butler, a sprawling public housing complex near downtown Fort Worth that the city has decided to close.

About 400 other families are still at Butler, which was built nearly 80 years ago. The relocation process could take another two-and-a-half years.

But like many cities, Fort Worth has a shortage of affordable housing.

So the authority, Fort Worth Housing Solutions, decided to start building their own.

"We're kind of the only ones doing it this way,” said President Mary Margaret Lemons. "We're a builder, we're an owner, we're a manager, and we're a housing authority. So we do a little bit of everything."

The complexes are being built through public-private partnerships. The arrangement varies, but a subsidiary of Fort Worth Housing Solutions owns a part of most of the projects.

The private investors get tax breaks and banks the profits.

The city gets affordable housing for people who otherwise couldn't find it.

"Everybody deserves a nice place to live,” Lemons said. “Everybody deserves a safe place to live."

The rent varies based on income. Some pay full-market price.

Holmes pays $400 dollars a month for a three-bedroom apartment.

For her friends back at Butler, she has this advice: "Just be patient. Your time is coming."

Meanwhile, Fort Worth Housing Solutions is still working on a plan for what to do with the Butler property after it is closed and ultimately torn down.

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