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Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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Fort Worth names task force to study permanent supportive housing

By Scott Nishimura snishimura@bizpress.net

The Fort Worth City Council on Tuesday named a 13-member task force that will analyze existing permanent supportive housing in the county and form criteria and strategy for the development of more housing.

The task force is one result of a recent Fort Worth task force on homelessness that recommended the development of 600 more units of permanent supportive housing in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Currently, about 1,900 people live in permanent supportive housing locally, mostly individuals.

Task force members: Chair and Fort Worth City Council member Kelly Allen Gray; Council members Danny Scarth and Dennis Shingleton; Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley; Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. President Andy Taft; retired Fort Worth Housing Authority CEO Barbara Holston; Fort Worth builder Lee Nicol; Perry Pillow, of the Apartment Association of Tarrant County; Alex Jimenez, former Housing Authority chair; Flora Brewer, longtime investor in Fort Worth’s East Lancaster Avenue corridor; Norbert White, CEO of Samaritan House in Fort Worth; MaryEllen Wellbaum; and David Zappasodi, of the Arlington Housing Authority.

The Fort Worth Advisory Commission on Ending Homelessness and the Homelessness Task Force both recommended an examination of permanent supportive housing. Advocates of reducing the concentration of homeless services on East Lancaster have long pressed for more permanent supportive housing, dispersed throughout the county, as a major piece of the solution.

The task force’s duties: conduct an inventory of, and analyze, existing permanent supportive housing in Tarrant County; study best practices among comparable cities and counties in Texas and elsewhere; form criteria for development of more housing locally; and evaluate policies and strategies for development.

The City Council, in naming the task force, asked for an interim report on its findings by Jan. 13 and a final report by April 28. The process will include one or more public hearings.

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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