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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth is trying to erase stereotypes of affordable housing. They say it’s a far bigger group of people who needs the housing now. And they’re renting them places in areas where you drive passed subsidized housing areas without knowing it.
“It was an older home and I couldn’t afford to keep it up,” said Ellen Wilson, 80 .
Wilson had to sell her home. She needed city housing vouchers and subsidized housing to afford a place to live.
“And with what I get you can exist but you can’t live, you know? So housing is my life,” Wilson said.
But where she lives is probably not what you think of when you hear the phrase ‘affordable rent-housing.’ The Hillside area is a cluster of tidy, pastel-colored homes with white trim and front porches. Their retro-architecture harks to the early 20th century and they appear to be expensive town homes on the edge of downtown Fort Worth. But they are duplexes with roughly 60 percent of the units rented through some form of subsidy.
“I love it!” Wilson smiled. “I’ve got a front door and back door and I’ve got my roses in the backyard.”
It’s one of dozens of city/private partnerships that blend affordable housing into Fort Worth neighborhoods using a blend of financing including federal dollars. And demand for the space is on the rise.
“Because as prices in North Texas continue to rise we are finding more and more middle and upper middle income families that are being priced out of housing options,” said Fort Worth Housing Solutions’ Naomi Byrne.
FWHS runs Hillside and 29 other properties in Fort Worth.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy price held a Twitter town hall meeting to talk about how affordable housing is changing.
“I have a young son who will be moving out on his own soon,” said an aid as she read one of the Tweets aloud.
They heard first hand who needs the housing and what they can afford.
Byrne said, “It could be a single mother with a minimum wage job and two kids. What’s affordable for her? It could be the new college graduate who is just getting into the work place and moving out of their parents house. What’s affordable to them?”
“I know some from down the line that both people have to work because on one paycheck they couldn’t make it,” Wilson said.