Fort Worth Housing Solutions to Receive $4 Million for Hughes House Public Infrastructure Improvements

By | News, Press Releases, Stop Six CNI

Funding included as part of H.R. 2617, Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 

FORT WORTH, Texas (Jan. 24, 2023) – Fort Worth Housing Solutions will receive $4 million in funding for Hughes House Public infrastructure improvements, as included in H.R. 2617, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. 

“We are so thankful for this funding, which will lead to much-needed improvements for streets and public utilities that have been lacking for decades,” Fort Worth Housing Solutions President Mary-Margaret Lemons said. “The Choice Neighborhood transformation that is happening in historic Stop Six will bring lasting change to our community and new opportunities for our residents.” 

Hughes House, which will reside in District 5 and is a phase of the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative, is a mixed-use development that will feature 162 apartments with a variety of floor plans. The development will rise at the corner of East Rosedale Street and Amanda Avenue, and will include about 7,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space ideal for neighborhood businesses. 

Hughes House takes its name from famed Dunbar High School Coach Robert Hughes Sr., the winningest boys’ basketball coach in history. 

“Coach Hughes’ ability to inspire and motivate young men has been recognized on a global scale,” said Mayor Pro Tem Gyna Bivens, who serves District 5. “The accolades recognizing his contributions have their place in all forms of media, but an apartment complex named in his honor ensures thousands and thousands will see that name for decades to come and associate it with one word: Excellence.” 

Representative Marc Veasey voted to pass the historic Fiscal Year 2023 government funding legislation that delivers historic investments in American families and workers – while strengthening Democracy at home and abroad. The legislation includes $30,478,385 in Community Project Funding that Veasey secured to directly respond to the pressing needs of North Texas.  

“I am proud to vote for a bipartisan government bill that delivers for our nation’s families and includes $30 million in key funding that I secured to address long overdue community needs for North Texas,” said Rep. Veasey. “The investments will make a real difference in North Texas that will foster economic development, improve our infrastructure, bolster access to health care, and so much more. I am proud to have fought for funding that will make better communities across North Texas.” 

Rep. Veasey championed funding for 15 projects that will directly benefit North Texas residents. These include: 

 $2,250,000 for the Center for Transforming Lives’ Riverside Early Childhood Education Economic Mobility Center 

$2,400,000 for the City of Arlington – Neighborhood Wi-Fi 

$1,000,000 for the City of Dallas – Hensley Field Shoreline Modification 

$750,000 for the City of Irving – Southwest Park Renovation Project 

 $500,000 for the Dallas College, Dallas, TX for a teaching residency apprenticeship program 

$2,000,000 for the DART Fuel System Modernization Project 

$1,000,000 for the Emergency Department Renovation and Expansion Request for Medical Equipment 

 $4,000,000 for the Hughes House Public Infrastructure Improvements 

$7,750,000 for the Southern Gateway Park 

$1,439,695 for the Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth, TX for STEM education programs, including lab equipment 

$4,000,000 for the Transform 1012 N. Main Street professional services and expenses for the design phase, Fort Worth, Texas, Tarrant County 

$750,000 for the United Way of Tarrant County – Mission United 

$750,000 for the United Way of Tarrant County Workforce Development 

$400,000 for the United Way of Tarrant County-Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). 

$1,488,690 for the William M. McDonald YMCA Covered Outdoor Gymnasium Space 

The twelve-bill government funding package will create good-paying American jobs, grow opportunities for the middle class and small businesses, and provide a lifeline for working families. Taken together, the funding for Texas’s 33rd District and the funding increases for critical government programs will continue to reverse decades of disinvestment in our communities. 

About Fort Worth Housing Solutions 

Fort Worth Housing Solutions is the premier provider of affordable housing in the City of Fort Worth. The agency’s portfolio includes 380 mixed-income properties across the city with 89 percent of its 6,800 units offered at various levels of affordability to income-eligible residents. The agency also manages federal Housing Choice Vouchers and other rental assistance programs that help about 6,400 families and individuals cover housing costs each year. In all, FWHS ensures that more than 33,000 people have a safe, affordable place to call home each day. Learn more at www.fwhs.org. 

About the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative 

The Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative is a multi-year effort developed by residents, community leaders and stakeholders to transform a historic community in Southeast Fort Worth into a vibrant, safe and sustainable community with access to quality education, healthcare, services and amenities – a “neighborhood of choice.” The effort is guided by a 2019 Transformation Plan that calls for six phases of new, mixed-income housing, commercial space, neighborhood improvements and multi-purpose community hub and aquatics center. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development seeded the transformation with a $35 grant Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant awarded to Fort Worth Housing Solutions and the City of Fort Worth in 2020. In all, the initial HUD grant is expected to trigger more than $345 million in investment and improvements for the Stop Six community. 

Keeping Cool: Tips in Texas

By | News, Uncategorized

Texas heat can be extremely hot in the summer months but there are a few ways to help keep cool.

  • Keep your HVAC system well maintained. 
  • Make sure the area around your outside unit is free of debris. Keep grass and branches cut around the unit. This allows the unit to run efficiently. 
  • Keep your thermostat temperature constant. Changing the temperature every time you leave actually causes the unit to work harder, thus causing your bill to be higher. An average temperature of 75-78 is best between the heat of the day which is from 11am-6pm. Any temperature below 75 can risk unit running all day and not resting in the heat of the day and could also freeze a unit up. It cannot reach those lower temperature when the heat index exceeds in the 3 digits outside.
  • Change your air filter regularly. Read the recommended time on your filter package.
  • Blocking sunlight from coming in your windows by using blinds and/or curtains. Windows that face west or south will bring in the most heat. Consider heat blocking curtains for these windows. 
  • Turn on fans. They help circulate air in the room. Fans are cheaper to run than the air conditioner, and they help you feel cooler..
  • Don’t use the oven to cook on those extremely hot days. Fire up your grill and cook your meat and veggies outside. 
  • If possible, air dry your dishes instead of running the dishwasher every day. Your utility bill (and house temperature) will thank you.
  • Do laundry early in the morning or in the evening and when using your dryer, put it on right before bed so that the heat will be gone by morning.
  • Also selecting a newer and better insulated unit to lease can be more energy efficient and maintain cooler temperatures than an older unit.

Fort Worth Housing Solutions Recognized for Excellence in Financial Reporting

By | News, Press Releases

Government Finance Officers Association awarded FWHS Certificate of Achievement

FORT WORTH, Texas, June 7, 2022 –  Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to Fort Worth Housing Solutions for its annual comprehensive financial report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

The report has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

“Fort Worth Housing Solutions is committed to transparency, accountability and achieving the highest standards in financial reporting,” FWHS President Mary-Margaret Lemons said. “We are so proud of the excellent work being done by our financial and administrative team led by our Vice President for Finance and Administration Hector Ordonez.”

About Fort Worth Housing Solutions

Fort Worth Housing Solutions is the premier provider of affordable housing in the City of Fort Worth. The agency’s portfolio includes 380 mixed-income properties across the city with 89 percent of its 6,800 units offered at various levels of affordability to income-eligible residents. The agency also manages federal Housing Choice Vouchers and other rental assistance programs that help about 6,400 families and individuals cover housing costs each year. In all, FWHS ensures that more than 33,000 people have a safe, affordable place to call home each day. Learn more at www.fwhs.org.

About the Government Finance Officers Association

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) advances excellence in government finance by providing best practices, professional development, resources, and practical research for more than 21,000 members and the communities they serve.

Stop Six Community Hub, Aquatics Center Included in May 7 Bond Election

By | Features, News, Uncategorized

Fort Worth voters will consider five propositions for municipal bond funding in a May 7 election. The propositions are divided into funding for streets and pedestrian mobility infrastructure; park and recreation improvements; public library improvements; police and fire safety improvements and open space conservation.

Proposition B, the parks and recreation item, totals $124 million. That sum includes $17.5 million for design and construction of a 28,000-square-foot community center to replaces the aging Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center on Truman Drive and $8.2 million for design and construction of an adjacent outdoor aquatics center.

The city has scheduled several community meetings this month to share information about the proposed bond program, including:

  • 6-8 p.m. Monday, April 11, East Regional Library, 6301 Bridge St.
  • 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, McDonald YMCA, 2701 Moresby St.
  • 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, April 23, Handley Meadowbrook Community Center, 6201 Beaty

Residents may also submit questions and comments via email at FWConnection@fortworthtexas.gov.

Key dates:

  • Thursday, April 7 – Last day to register to vote in May 7 election
  • April 25-May 3 – Early voting period
  • May 7, 2022 – Election Day

Hughes House Mixed-Use Development Designs Released

By | Features, News, Press Releases, Stop Six CNI, Uncategorized

Community Will Add 210 Residences, Retail Space to East Rosedale Street by 2023

FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 29, 2021 – Fort Worth Housing Solutions and the City of Fort Worth have approved final designs for Phase I of Hughes House, the mixed-use development that will bring 210 apartments and townhomes with a variety of floor plans to the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood by 2023.

The development will rise on a portion of the former Cavile Place public housing site along East Rosedale Street and Amanda Avenue and will include about 12,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space ideal for neighborhood businesses. Crews are expected to break ground in June 2022, with substantial completion planned by Dec. 31, 2023.

Two additional phases also will be part of Hughes House, which takes its name from famed Dunbar High School Coach Robert Hughes Sr., the winningest boys’ basketball coach in history. Basketball-themed bollards are envisioned for the property’s Rosedale-Amanda entrance and in recreational and greenspaces as a tribute to the coaching legend. View a gallery of renderings, the site plan and sample floor plans here.

Mayor Pro Tem Gyna Bivens, who serves District 5 including Stop Six, said Hughes House design approval marks a significant milestone in the transformation of the community.

“Hughes House will be a new center of activity for Stop Six, a place where people can visit from their porch, walk from their homes to neighborhood businesses and services and enjoy playtime with their children – it’s just incredible to see the pieces coming together,” Bivens said. “The overall master plan truly honors the leadership Coach Hughes provided in our community as he mentored generations of players, fans and families.”

Rental units will range in size from a 668-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment to a 1,621-square-foot, four-bedroom townhome on two levels. Units also will be available in two- and three-bedroom configurations. Amenities will include a community swimming pool and splash pad, a fitness center and dog park. Plans also call for a linear park that will connect future phases and provide a pedestrian path east to Rosedale Park and a future community hub.

“All of our partners have poured heart and soul into the vision for Hughes House,” FWHS President Mary-Margaret Lemons said. “Our collective goal is to provide beautiful homes in a desirable community with access to services and amenities that allow people to thrive.

“We can’t wait to see the transformation that will take place.”

Hughes House is the second housing phase called for in the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative. Construction of Cowan Place Senior Living, at East Rosedale and Stalcup Road, began in September. Pre-leasing for the 174-unit community designed for residents 62 and older is scheduled to begin in 2022.

The effort is seeded by a 2020 U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant focused on transforming housing, neighborhood improvements and support for residents who previously lived in J.A. Cavile Place public housing community. Cavile’s 300 units were demolished this year to make room for modern residential development. Former residents relocated to homes of their choice with rental assistance and have the right to return as new communities come online.

Hughes House is designed as a walkable environment. Residential buildings face the street with resident parking tucked away behind the homes and street-facing front porches and sidewalks encouraging interaction with passersby. Parking for the mixed-use buildings along Rosedale will also be tucked behind, connected to the street-facing retail and resident amenities with paseos, said Michael J. Bennett, principal and CEO of Bennett Partners, architect for the development.

“We worked to design a place where anyone would want to live. We focused on creating a great neighborhood and designed the buildings around that,” Bennett said. “There really isn’t another neighborhood like this in town. It will welcome a diversity of incomes and family types and we believe attract other development. We think it will be fabulous for Fort Worth and this community.”

In the coming months, development partner McCormack Baron Salazar of St. Louis, Mo., and general contractor Block Companies, of Houston and Baton Rouge, will finalize construction budgets, secure permits and financing, and conduct an outreach campaign to recruit local subcontractors and workers interested in participating in the construction effort.

Interested subcontractors should contact Wendy Taylor of the Kuniklo Corp. at wendy.taylor@kuniklo.com or 623-505-4855 ext. 6. Potential workers from the Fort Worth area should contact Jerome Johnson, FWHS Workforce Coordinator Jerome Johnson at jjohnson@fwhs.org.

The project timeline is tight and compact to meet the Dec. 31 completion deadline, a requirement of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, said Louis J. Bernardy, MBS senior vice president and Texas development director. The agency awarded Hughes House a competitive, 9 percent tax credit to help finance the project and encourage development of affordable housing.

“A lot will be happening over the next few weeks to engage with businesses, meet with small contractors and keep city leaders up-to-date along the way – all so we can get to our June closing and bring this vision to reality,” Bernardy said. “We know that Hughes House will be an incredible catalyst for Stop Six that will attract the people and economic development needed to create a sustainable, inclusive and desirable neighborhood of choice.”

About the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative

The Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative is a multi-year effort developed by residents, community leaders and stakeholders to transform a historic community in Southeast Fort Worth into a vibrant, safe and sustainable community with access to quality education, healthcare, services and amenities – a “neighborhood of choice.” The effort is guided by a 2019 Transformation Plan that calls for six phases of new, mixed-income housing, commercial space, neighborhood improvements and multi-purpose community hub and aquatics center. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development seeded the transformation with a $35 grant Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant awarded to Fort Worth Housing Solutions and the City of Fort Worth in 2020. In all, the initial HUD grant is expected to trigger more than $345 million in investment and improvements for the Stop Six community.

Kendrick Ladd building new life in The Holston

By | Features, News, Uncategorized

Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report

Kendrick Ladd found himself living out of cars and celebrating holidays alone in the park. The 32-year-old Army veteran admits that he was ill-prepared for life on this own and needed a fresh start.

With the assistance of Fort Worth Housing Solutions counselors, Ladd was introduced to the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program that combines HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Ladd, a FWHS resident for about two years, moved to The Holston in February. The community is the first FWHS mixed-income development serving the thriving Alliance Corridor. The 264-unit property, with units offered at both market and reduced rates, offers high-end amenities in a resort-style community off Texas 170 and Keller Haslet Road in an area near major distribution centers for companies like General Motors, BEHR, Facebook and UPS, and the high-performing Northwest Independent School District.

Ladd, a former Army mechanic, is developing a mobile mechanic business that he plans to launch in 2022. He said The Holston has been more than a home; it’s allowed him to build a new life. Ladd was recently featured in Fort Worth Report’s story “Fort Worth Housing Solutions aim to solve poverty, housing issues in city with projects.” FWHS caught up with Ladd for the following Q&A.

How did you find out about housing assistance?

“I was pretty young when I went into Army at 17, and when I got out I didn’t know how to rent an apartment or pay bills. But I got an apartment, and I wasn’t financially ready for it. I wasn’t prepared.

“Before long I was taking temp jobs and I didn’t have a place to stay. I didn’t want to be a burden to my family. I’ve always just stuck in out on my own. I was searching if there was anything out there for veterans and found out about the HUD-VASH program. I talked to a counselor and they said this would work for me, and I was able to apply.”

What are your impressions of The Holston?

“It’s amazing. When you look at it, you think, ‘This going to be expensive, and how can I afford it?’ It’s a high-class apartment with so many amenities. It’s quiet. They have a pool, game room, exercise equipment, gym area, TVs, interview rooms. There are also tons of resources to motivate you to find a job. The Holston is a kind of place that not only is your apartment, but you can do other things to better yourself.”

What does it mean to have a roof over your head and bed to sleep on?

“I’m extremely thankful. I’ve been outside, slept in my car, slept in other people’s cars. I’ve had holidays where I was homeless. I didn’t want to be a charity case. I would just go to park and grab something to eat and celebrate there.

“To actually have a place to come home and wash my clothes and sleep comfortably … I really can’t put it into words. It’s amazing.”

What is coming next in your life?

“Hopefully next year should be pretty big for me. I want to start my business with help from Fort Worth Housing. I want to start giving back in the community. Without Fort Worth Housing, I wouldn’t be able to financially start a business or do anything. It’s been a big impact on my life, and I want to give back.”

Lanesha Davis Named Vice President of Housing Operations and Client Services

By | News, Press Releases

FORT WORTH, Texas (Oct. 28, 2021) – Fort Worth Housing Solutions has promoted Lanesha Davis, an eight-year agency veteran who previously led all special programs, to Vice President of Housing Operations and Client Services. Davis reports to Deputy Director Sonya A. Barnette, who is also Senior Vice President for Housing and Client Services.

Davis joined FWHS in 2013, and most recently served as Special Programs Director/504 Coordinator. In her new role she will lead the operations of all housing programs – including the Housing Choice Voucher and Rental Assistance Demonstration programs – and grant administration for all programs serving homeless residents and well as oversee Fair Housing and 504/ADA compliance for the agency as a whole.

“We are providing assistance to persons who are at a crisis point, which would be representative of our homeless population,” Davis said. “We’re also assisting those persons who are low-income who need support in maintaining a safe environment.”

Davis is a seasoned administrator with more than 20 years of experience with federal affordable housing programs, Fair Housing compliance and grants management. She has a vast knowledge of community resources and has worked with a variety of target populations. She served as the City of Arlington’s Housing Coordinator for more than a decade before joining FWHS.

“Lanesha is a proven leader who cares for the families and communities we serve,” FWHS President Mary-Margaret Lemons said. “The contributions she’s made to our organization over the last eight years have impacted thousands of lives. She is a welcomed addition to the management team, and I know she will continue to serve our clients with dignity and respect.”

Davis said FWHS has evolved during her tenure while remaining true to its mission to develop housing solutions where people flourish.

“I have seen the actual transformation of us streamlining and taking on new leadership and really working with strong community partners and developers,” she said. “Although we’re moving from a public housing model to a rental assistance model, we are vastly increasing our capacity to aid our community in developing affordable housing, which is a much-needed service.

“I’m very excited about the direction we’re going, and how we can be a much greater community partner.”

Davis currently serves on the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition Improvement, Coordination and Training committee, and serves on the MHMR Homeless Community Advisory Board. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from North Texas University in sociology and an MBA from Texas Woman’s University. She also holds an ADA coordinator certification from the University of Missouri-Great Plains ADA Center.

About Fort Worth Housing Solutions

Fort Worth Housing Solutions is the premier provider of affordable housing in the City of Fort Worth. The agency’s portfolio includes 40 mixed-income properties across the city with 87 percent of its 7,000 units offered at various levels of affordability to income-eligible residents. The agency also manages federal Housing Choice Vouchers and other rental assistance programs that help about 7,000 families and individuals cover housing costs each year. In all, FWHS ensures that more than 28,000 people have a safe, affordable place to call home each day. Learn more at www.fwhs.org.

FSS Graduate Charlotte Jones Motivated to Achieve More

By | Features, News, Uncategorized

The Family Self-Sufficiency Program Wall of Fame in the Fort Worth Housing Solutions Administration Building caught the eye of Charlotte Jones years ago. She wanted to learn more about those smiling faces on the wall.

“I inquired about it and was determined to join once I reached my one-year mark on housing,” Jones said. “I was very surprised when I got accepted on the program. I was very eager to learn anything and everything that would help me excel in my education and building credit.”

The FSS Program provides FWHS residents a pathway toward full-time employment, higher incomes and less dependency on financial assistance. Participants such as Jones set a five-year career and financial plan and work steadily to achieve their goals. FWHS case managers connect residents with services and resources they need to succeed.

Incomes typically grow as participants earn a college degree or technical certifications and gain full-time employment. In many housing programs, that would mean that residents pay a greater portion of their rent.

In the FSS program, however, an interest-bearing escrow account is established for each participating family. Monthly contributions are made to the account based on increases in rent that a tenant would typically pay as their income increases. Program graduates who achieve their goals may leave the program with an escrow payment of $10,000 or more, cash that may be used for any purpose.

Jones, 32, was born in Fort Worth’s Como neighborhood, grew up in Meadowbrook and graduated from Eastern Hills High School. She and her four kids, ages 2 to 13, are living in a Forest Hill duplex .

Jones started the FSS program at 25 and recently graduated, receiving a $27,032 escrow check she plans to use to pay off some debt and purchase a home in 2022. The program’s classes helped Jones build on her talents and confidence. She worked closely with FWHS FSS Specialist Cleisa Ramirez.

“I learned so many different things through the classes that were offered, from building credit, life skills, business skills, budgeting and social skills,” Jones said. “I was also inspired to finish my cosmetology career that I originally started back in my junior year of high school. I would have different life obstacles that would alter my ability to continue, but I never gave up. I went to four different cosmetology schools before graduating from the ITS Academy of Beauty.

“I had various amazing jobs in the industry within that time frame, such as owning a salon, and I also was hired as a brand ambassador/educator by a very well know hair company out of New Jersey that paid for me to travel the world and experience things that I would have never imagined, which kept me motivated to achieve more.”

Currently, she’s self-employed as a hairstylist, works at a salon, and operates two businesses out of her home. She also co-owns a hip-hop step aerobics class. Eventually, she hopes to reopen her salon.

Jones’ entrepreneurial spirit was born out surviving life’s challenges. She lost her mother at the age of 19 to multiple sclerosis and inflammatory breast cancer. She said her father battled drug addiction most of his life.

Now, she hopes to inspire and motivate others to pursue happiness and build financial freedom to pass down to their children.

“Graduating the FSS program has given me a sense of completion,” Jones said. “I’ve encountered many hardships and obstacles growing up, and being a part of this program with the resources and the support of these amazing counselors has literally changed my life.”

Fort Worth Housing Solutions Renames Hillside Apartments “Jennings Place”

By | Features, News, Press Releases

Craftsman-style Community to Permanently Honor Life of Civic Leader Devoyd “Dee” Jennings

FORT WORTH, TEXAS, Sept. 23, 2021 – The Hillside Apartments, one of the first multifamily communities built during a downtown resurgence more than two decades ago, will be renamed “Jennings Place” in honor of a beloved business and civic leader who as a teen dreamed of working in the business district’s gleaming office towers.

Devoyd Jennings

Devoyd “Dee” Jennings grew up in what was then known as “The Hill,” the Rock Island Bottom and Butler Place neighborhoods, and served as president and CEO of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce for more than 20 years. He died July 24 at age 73.

Naming the 172-unit, Craftsman-style community at 300 Crump St. for Jennings is a fitting tribute to a man who loved downtown Fort Worth and dedicated his career and volunteer work to shaping a better city overall, family members said.

“Fort Worth was his city,” said Gwen Barbee, Mr. Jennings wife of 41 years. “When he was growing up in Butler, he always told his friends to look up The Hill toward downtown because that was the future. He told them to believe that they could work hard, go to school and, one day, work in those office buildings.”

Mr. Jennings was an advocate for affordable housing and the mixed-income, multifamily development strategy that has allowed Fort Worth Housing Solutions to de-concentrate poverty and increase opportunity for its residents in recent years, FWHS President Mary-Margaret Lemons said. Most recently, Mr. Jennings served on FWHS’s Butler Place Advisory Committee to guide future development of the former public housing community site. Butler closed in December 2020.

“Dee Jennings was a true friend and a collaborative leader who had the rare ability to engage everyone he met and move our community forward in unity,” Lemons said. “We are thankful for the impact he had on Fort Worth, and we hope that everyone who sees the beautiful Jennings Place community at the eastern edge of downtown will pause and reflect on the positive impact he had on Fort Worth.”

Margaret Jennings, mother of Devoyd Jennings, and her youngest son Jerry Jennings

Mr. Jennings was 6 years old when he moved to a Butler Place apartment with his mother and brothers, Melvin and Jerry. His father had died, and Mrs. Jennings raised the three boys with support from friends across the community. In those years, Butler was segregated. Mr. Jennings’ childhood and teen years revolved around the surrounding neighborhoods and I.M. Terrell High School, the city’s only black high school until 1957.

Mr. Jennings was a proud member of the 1965 I.M. Terrell state championship basketball team, a 1966 graduate and lifelong member of the I.M. Terrell Alumni Association who cherished the “old gold and blue.” He attended Tarrant County College and earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Texas Wesleyan University in 1971. Mr. Jennings spent 27 years as a TXU community affairs specialist and was the first black lobbyist for Texas Electric before joining the chamber in 2001.

“He would be humbled to be remembered in this way,” said Margaret Jennings, Mr. Jennings’ mother, who moved to the Hillside Apartments in 2019 and lives there today. “This was a community where a lot of nice people lived. Everyone was kind to each other. We loved living here.”

Hillside property history

The Hillside Apartments were built in 1997 on 12 acres bordered by East First Street on the north, East Fourth Street on the south, Nichols Street on the east and the railroad tracks on the west. The site includes the historic Greater St. James Baptist Church, and a former Knights of Pythias Hall that was renovated and opened in 2013 as an 18-unit FWHS residential community.

The property was originally financed by a partnership spearheaded by Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives Inc., an affiliate of Downtown Fort Worth Inc. The partnership secured tax credits to guarantee that 60 percent of the units would be reserved for families earning less than 60 percent of the Area Median Income. St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar, FWHS’s lead housing partner on the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative, developed the Hillside Apartments.

Fort Worth Housing Solutions partnered with Downtown Fort Worth Initiative Inc. and bought the property in 2014 after some initial investors expressed an interest in selling. Today, the community is managed by RPM Living, an Austin-based real estate management services firm.

Larry Anfin, chairman of the Downtown Fort Worth Inc. Board of Directors, said: “Our organization was privileged to help develop the Hillside community more than two decades ago, and our Board could not be more pleased to see the property named for our good friend Dee Jennings.

“High-quality, mixed-income housing is an essential part of our city’s vibrant downtown. We are glad to see that Jennings Place will continue that tradition in association with Dee,” Anfin said.

The Hillside rebranding follows other efforts to honor Mr. Jennings. The Fort Worth City Council adopted a resolution Sept. 21 renaming the city’s Business Assistance Center in honor of Mr. Jennings. A public memorial to commemorate his life is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, at I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA, which Jennings was instrumental in supporting leading up to its 2018 opening.

About Fort Worth Housing Solutions

Fort Worth Housing Solutions is the premier provider of affordable housing in the City of Fort Worth. The agency’s portfolio includes 40 mixed-income properties across the city with 87 percent of its 7,000 units offered at various levels of affordability to income-eligible residents. The agency also manages federal Housing Choice Vouchers and other rental assistance programs that help about 7,000 families and individuals cover housing costs each year. In all, FWHS ensures that more than 28,000 people have a safe, affordable place to call home each day. Learn more at www.fwhs.org.

Media contact:
Kristin Sullivan, Ksullivan@fwhs.org, cell 817-706-9811

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Stop Six Community, Fort Worth Leaders Kick Off Choice Neighborhood Construction

By | News, Press Releases, Stop Six CNI

174-unit Cowan Place Senior Living is the first of six modern, mixed-income communities

earmarked for the historic Southeast Fort Worth neighborhood

Photo Album 

FORT WORTH, Texas (Sept. 16, 2021) – Stop Six residents, Fort Worth city leaders, developers and supporters celebrated the start of construction today of Cowan Place Senior Living, a 174-unit, mixed-income community that launches six phases of new residential housing planned as part of the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative.

The groundbreaking event signals the beginning of a comprehensive transformation of one of the city’s treasured, African-American communities. Cowan Place is named for Alonzo and Sarah Cowan, two of the first land owners in the Southeast Fort Worth community and for whom the neighborhood was once named.

The multi-year Choice Neighborhood effort is seeded by a $35 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant and includes 1,042 new residential units, neighborhood improvements and a multipurpose community hub with aquatics center that voters will consider as part of the 2022 municipal bond program.

“Cowan Place Senior Living is the result of true community collaboration and has been carefully designed by Stop Six residents and a host of committed partners,” said Mary-Margaret Lemons, Fort Worth Housing Solutions president. “This property will complement new home construction already under way in one of Fort Worth’s most cherished neighborhoods and leads the way for a full community transformation sparked by HUD’s Choice Neighborhood Initiative.”

Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said the Cowan Place development is evidence of the city’s commitment to strengthening its neighborhoods and ensuring that all residents have the opportunity to live in communities where families thrive.

“We say that it’s Go Time in Fort Worth, and Cowan Place and the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative are another big win for a better, brighter future in our city,” Parker said. “Our vision is that all residents will be able to live in neighborhoods with access to safe and affordable housing, jobs, recreational facilities, quality schools, healthcare and grocery stores. And in Cowan Place, we have an incredible opportunity to begin to revitalize a neighborhood while honoring the African-American families who built it.”

Mayor Pro Tem Gyna M. Bivens, who grew up in Stop Six, has represented the area on the Fort Worth City Council since 2013 and has long advocated for investment in the area, which lies 15 minutes east of Downtown Fort Worth and the Southside Medical District, and northwest of Lake Arlington.

“I’m thrilled to see Cowan Place Senior Living construction get under way,” Bivens said. “Fort Worth residents have a deep affection for Stop Six, and many who have moved away over the years – especially our seniors – long to return to a neighborhood filled with the people they love. Cowan Place Senior Living will give them that new opportunity and will be a beautiful prelude to the housing developments to come.”

Cowan Place will take about 24 months to build with leasing expected to begin in 2023. A 2020 market study showed strong demand for affordable senior rental in the area regardless of future population growth. Cowan Place represents a $43 million investment in Stop Six and is supported in part by low-income housing tax credits that guarantee affordable rents for at least 30 years. View the architect’s animated rendering of the community at https://youtu.be/65dMoGqG06o.

McCormack Baron Salazar of St. Louis, Mo., the nation’s leading for-profit developer, manager and asset manager of economically integrated, urban neighborhoods, is spearheading the Housing portion of the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative and the Cowan Place development. BLOCK Cos., with headquarters in Houston and Baton Rouge, La., is the general contractor on Cowan Place. Bennett Benner Partners of Fort Worth is the architect.

Richard Baron, McCormack Baron co-founder and chairman, said Cowan Place and the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative, are precisely the developments he envisioned as he focused his career on rebuilding lower-income communities in the early 1970s. A one-time legal aid lawyer to public housing residents, Baron’s company developed the Hillside Apartments just east of Downtown Fort Worth in 1997 and has become the premier developer for communities supported by HUD Choice Neighborhood grants across the United States.

“McCormack Baron is pleased to return to Fort Worth to assist in the transformation of the Stop Six neighborhood. It’s about building unity and impacting the lives of families in the community,” Baron said. “This collaborative effort wouldn’t be possible without our partners. Most importantly, we are touching lives through much-needed revitalization for this community.”

Cowan Place will feature one- and two-bedroom apartments designed with residents 62 and older in mind. The four-story development south of East Rosedale Street and facing Stalcup Road will feature stucco, brick and metal facades in a contemporary design notable for its lighted “lantern” that signals a bright, modern future for one of Fort Worth’s historic communities.

Apartment residences will wrap around a central courtyard terraced to fit the site’s natural terrain. Ground-level community spaces will include rooms for a library and theater, fitness studio, salon, billiards, crafts and space for private meetings with healthcare professionals.

About the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative

The Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative was developed by residents, community leaders and stakeholders to capture a shared vision for a vibrant, safe and sustainable community with access to quality education, healthcare, services and amenities – a “neighborhood of choice.” The neighborhood Transformation Plan adopted in fall 2019 calls for the replacement of a former public housing community with new, mixed-income rental residences in six phases of development, a neighborhood hub for recreation, educational, health and safety services; as well as a commercial district and space for healthcare and educational, economic and other support services.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded project sponsors Fort Worth Housing Solutions and the City of Fort Worth a competitive, $35 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant in April 2020 to seed the effort. Visit StopSixCNI.org to learn more.

About Fort Worth Housing Solutions

Fort Worth Housing Solutions is the premier provider of affordable housing in the City of Fort Worth. The agency’s portfolio includes 40 mixed-income properties across the city with 87 percent of its 7,000 units offered at various levels of affordability to income-eligible residents. The agency also manages federal Housing Choice Vouchers and other rental assistance programs that help about 7,000 families and individuals cover housing costs each year. In all, FWHS ensures that more than 28,000 people have a safe, affordable place to call home each day. Learn more at www.fwhs.org.

Media contact:

Kristin Sullivan, ksullivan@fwhs.org, c 817-706-9811

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Fort Worth Housing Solutions, AMCAL break ground on Alliance Multi-Family Housing

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Dennison Returns to Fort Worth Housing Solutions as SVP of Development and Asset Management

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Fort Worth Housing Solutions marks 80th anniversary

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Fort Worth’s public housing authority is overhauling itself

Next City: July 18, 2018

Fort Worth’s solution to affordable housing crisis: Build its own

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Changing the model: Fort Worth Housing Solutions seeks to fund renovations and new affordable housing for those in need.

Fort Worth Business Press: November 24, 2017

For first time in six years, Fort Worth Housing voucher waitlist opens

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How to apply for Fort Worth housing vouchers

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Butler Place redevelopment gets boost with hiring of a master developer

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: March 22, 2017

Fort Worth erasing stereotypes of affordable housing

CBS DFW Channel 11: March 20, 2017

Developers named for Butler Place redevelopment plan

Fort Worth Business Press: March 21, 2017

Fort Worth Housing Solutions picks developer to rework massive Butler Place site

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Fort Worth’s Butler Place housing project may close

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The changing face of Fort Worth public housing

NBC DFW Channel 5: October 26, 2016

Pace picking up on plans to redevelop World War II-era…

Fort Worth Star Telegram: September 10, 2016

Affordable housing: Not just for the poor

FWinc.: July 15, 2016

Fort Worth Housing Solutions preserves development

Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits:  April, 2016

New name, new game plan for affordable housing in Fort Worth

Fort Worth Business Press:  March 18, 2016

Hunter Plaza affordable housing reopens in downtown Fort Worth

Fort Worth Star Telegram:  February 24, 2016

Downtown Fort Worth apartments reopen

CBS Channel 11:  February 24, 2016

 

Media inquiries:

Art Garcia
Communications Manager
artgarcia@fwhs.org, w 817-333-2104