Weatherford City Council heard a report on the housing study during its meeting last week.
Naomi Byrne of Stinger Consulting provided the report to council. Last year, council voted to form a committee to review low-income and senior housing, incentives for such, set-aside apartments for low-income families and those in the Housing Choice Voucher program and needs of affordable housing for those of varying incomes.
Byrne also presented some demographic information during the meeting. She pointed out that Weatherford’s median household income amount for 2017, which is $56,362, is below the Parker County’s median income.
About 43 percent of families make $50,000 or less in annual income, which is about $24 an hour for single people and $12 per hour for two people, Byrne said.
“Affordable typically is defined that for a family to be able to spend 30-35 percent of their income on their housing costs,” Byrne said.
The Housing Committee included representatives from the city, Freedom House, Weatherford Housing Authority, Center of Hope and real estate, according to Byrne’s presentation. The purpose of the committee was to make a recommendation to council, define issues, identify objectives to address issues and educate the committee and council.
Byrne proposed three action items during the meeting. The first is to review city ordinances and regulations, and make recommendations for change. The changes would be to incentivize affordable housing development, develop affordable and workforce housing opportunities and develop programs/incentives for low-income rental opportunities for private property owners.
The next proposed item is to develop a long-term affordable housing plan and strategy. This would involve researching trends, explore barriers and incentives and identify implementing programs to rehabilitate and/or develop affordable housing stock.
Lastly, Byrne recommended that the committee serve as an advisory board to council and promote education on this topic. The committee would define what’s affordable in Weatherford, the community’s need and identify partnerships.
Families and people over the age of 65 are in higher need for affordable housing as they are the majority demographic in single family homes under $150,000 or multi-family units for rent less than $1,000, Byrne said.
“That, I think, was a little surprising, but I don’t think that was something that we were too shocked about because we did talk to the Housing Authority and talked about some of the affordable housing properties that are within the city of Weatherford that are targeting elderly individuals and the fact that they have extremely long waiting lists now,” Byrne said.
As far as home production, about 4,500 units are completed, under construction or planned for the future, but most are not targeted for the lower income demographic, Byrne said.
“The need for this demographic continues to increase while the supply that’s coming in is actually targeted toward a higher median income,” Byrne said.
Weatherford Housing Authority Executive Director Rosie Mucino spoke during the meeting about the need for more affordable housing.
“The need for affordable housing is high,” Mucino said. “The city has not supported affordable housing development in more than 15 years. The three affordable housing developments are 100 percent full with a waitlist.”