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Fort Worth Housing Solutions marks 80th anniversary

🕐 3 min read

Fort Worth Housing Solutions will celebrate its 80th anniversary this year with the grand opening of its newest multi-family affordable property, Alton Park, in northwest Fort Worth.

Alton Park joins four other mixed-income apartment communities opening this year thanks to the housing authority’s aggressive efforts to expand the supply of affordable housing in Fort Worth.

“We are happy to be working with both the city and a few select developers to deliver high-quality, affordable housing options for the residents of our rapidly growing city,” Mary-Margaret Lemons, the housing authority’s president, said in a news release. “Never in our 80 years of history have public/private partnerships been so critical to fulfilling our mission.

The agency worked with Amtex Development, LDG Development, Ojala Partners and Palladium USA to develop the five properties opening this year.

In addition to Alton Park, Harmon Senior Villas in far north Fort Worth and Campus Apartments near the TCC South Campus are nearly complete.

The Standard at Boswell near Saginaw in northwest Fort Worth and Stallion Pointe in south Fort Worth opened earlier this year.

Between 90 to 95 percent of all the new apartments are for households earning less than 60 percent of the area’s annual median income.

Three other projects are in the pipeline: Katy Lofts, a transit-oriented, mixed-income development at Vickery and Main; Patriot Pointe, an ideal home for veterans because it is adjacent to the Veteran Affairs clinic; and Palladium, which opens next year in the far western end of Fort Worth.

All of the projects received Low-Income Tax Credits from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

Administered by the Internal Revenue Service, the tax incentive program is the largest source of new affordable housing in Fort Worth and the U.S. All the tax-credit apartment communities offer different types of services to residents such as a business center with computers and after-school, financial literary and employment programs.

Partnerships with the private sector enable the housing authority to fulfill its original mandate. In 1938 the City of Fort Worth established the authority to find the means of supplying “safe and sanitary dwellings for every family in the city,” in the words of its first executive director, Homer L. Hunter.

Collaboration with the city began immediately when the housing authority constructed public housing at two locations: Butler Place and Ripley Arnold, and in later years developed J.A. Cavile Place.

Since that time the housing authority has evolved into a full-service agency that administers more than 5,500 Housing Choice Vouchers and offers a myriad of programs to help individuals and families move toward self-sufficiency and thrive in the community, the organization said in a news release.

“These include a Homeownership and Family Self-Sufficiency program, job fairs, a summer music camp for children, and Boys & Girls Clubs at several properties. The agency helps veterans and others struggling with homelessness by providing housing assistance in collaboration with partner agencies, the organization said.

Fort Worth Housing Solutions owns 38 properties with 5,033 affordable and market-rate apartments and 998 public housing units. A total 1,643 apartment units are in development. The agency works with approximately 1,300 landlords in the private market, sending $36.9 million in direct payments to them in 2017.

Over the past few years the agency has begun deconcentrating public housing through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program (RAD). The program operates by converting public housing subsidies into project-based rental assistance contracts.

“This initiative will improve the quality of life for more than 1,000 residents who live at the aging Butler Place,” the housing authority said. “In a phased approach, Butler’s residents are moving to quality, mixed-income developments across the city. They have the opportunity to choose their new home from among 20 apartment complexes, including the five opening this year.”

Fifteen of the families are moving to Alton Park, where the agency will hold its 80th anniversary celebration in mid-November.

Because oak is the symbol for the 80th anniversary, an oak tree will be planted near the property’s swimming pool to commemorate the occasion. Numerous other trees are already growing strong at the property, the agency said.

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