The face of public housing is changing in Fort Worth. The housing authority is working to redevelop large-scale projects into mixed-income housing.
Fort Worth Housing Solutions says salaries haven't come close to keeping up with housing costs. So, as they're working to meet more need for affordable housing, they're also integrating it into the rest of the city.
There’s a new sign of progress toward that goal in Fort Worth’s Stop Six area, where crews demolished a rundown store Wednesday to make way for mixed-income housing.
It was just one corner, one rundown building, but the demolition crews at work there were clearing the way for a larger vision.
"It feels great because it shows that there is going to be some changes in the Stop Six neighborhood," said Naomi Byrne, President of Fort Worth Housing Solutions, the city’s affordable housing authority.
Fort Worth Housing Solutions is buying up every lot it can, piecing together land for new mixed-income housing.
They're hoping to break ground early next year on the first units by the Cavile Place housing projects in Stop Six.
"Redefining what affordable housing looks like in the city of Fort Worth," said Byrne.
To Rebecca Scott it's a leg up.
"I want to get to the next step, I want it to be better than what it is," said Scott.
She's been in Butler Place public housing a year and a half now, looking for a job and a better life for her son.
"I thought it would be more peaceful and quieter, but it's more drama, fights and stuff," said Scott.
The housing authority just started the process of hiring a master developer to come up with a vision for turning the 40-acre, 400-unit Butler site into a mixed-income, mixed-use development right on the eastern edge of downtown.
"Families of extremely low income indistinguishably living next to families of moderate income and higher," said Byrne.
It’s something that's already happening in 25 mixed income properties across the city.
The plan for Butler Place would also provide better access to businesses and job opportunities, helping folks like Scott reach higher ground.
“I’m not trying to live just hand free,” said Scott, who pays a portion of her rent, like every other Fort Worth public housing tenant. “I know what I’m trying to do, what I’m trying to pursue and what goals I’m trying to achieve.”
This will be a long process. Fort Worth Housing Solutions plans to move people out of the two projects they're redeveloping in stages, to be sure there's enough housing elsewhere for them to move into while construction is underway.