Affordable Housing Options to Tarrant County – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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With the growing need for more affordable housing in Tarrant County, county leaders are now accepting proposals for new developments.

Tarrant County Commissioners have allocated $32.5 million to increase affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness. Tarrant County Deputy Administrator Kristen Camareno, homelessness is a county-wide issue.

“While you may have a greater prevalence of homeless families or families without a permanent home in one city, in other cities…you may have a greater number of young people who might be more of the ‘invisible’ homeless population. “. Maybe they’re sleeping on someone’s couch. They sleep in their car or with a family member,” Camareno explained.

The county is asking for proposals from developers who want to develop new affordable housing. The $32.5 million in funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLRFF).

There are existing units in Tarrant County, but Camareno said demand exceeds what is currently available.

“The affordable housing inventory in Tarrant County is almost non-existent. Available units, rather,” she said. “We have seen the need for these units increase the pandemic. So the effort is really trying to fill that need with some of our other big cities.

Catholic Charities Fort Worth serves low-income individuals and families who need help with utilities and sometimes with rent and mortgages. The organization also facilitates referral to long-term programs.

Courtney Walker, program director, said the need for their services has increased. On average, they receive up to 800 calls per week.

“The second request from our candidates is housing assistance. It could be access to affordable housing, helping them stay in their current home, avoiding eviction,” Walker said. “Many of those [calls] do not result in an application as we do not have rental funds available. We strategically use utility funding in its place. Maybe we can pay a big utility bill, they can spend their finances on maintaining their home.

Since January, Walker said he has been able to help more than 1,000 people.

“The lingering effects of a COVID economy, inflation on basic goods and services like groceries, gas, and just not having access to gainful employment are really contributing to this,” he said. she declared.

New affordable housing options are only part of the equation, Walker added. Although they are not the ultimate solution, she said they are a step towards integrating people into homes.

“When people can earn more and they can work, and they can earn a living and be sustainable. It’s the best-case scenario,” she said. “I think there are a lot of reasons why it’s not happening. Yes, there are plenty of jobs available, but these are not jobs where people can live and work. It’s like they can’t afford this job.

The first set of full proposals to Tarrant County will be reviewed, scored and awarded by the end of the calendar year. Full proposals received after November 4, 2022 will be evaluated by March 31, 2023.

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