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.

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 Hous

 

ton 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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FWHS, AMTEX, Greystar Celebrate Opening of The Holston in Alliance Corridor

By | News, Press Releases, Uncategorized

Demand Strong for Multifamily Community Serving Workforce in North Fort Worth Job Center

FORT WORTH, Texas, June 16, 2021 – Fort Worth Housing Solutions, the public housing authority for the nation’s 12th largest city, celebrated the grand opening today of The Holston, a luxury, mixed-income development serving residents in the thriving Alliance Corridor with nationally recognized development partner AMTEX and Greystar, a global rental housing company.

The 264-unit property 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. It is managed by Greystar, a global leader in the rental housing sector.

Half of the Holston’s one-, two- and three-bedroom units will be leased at market rate; the other half will be available to households earning 80 percent or less of the Area Median Income. In 2021, an individual earning $45,300 or less a year meets the 80 percent threshold. A three-person household earning $58,200 or less would also qualify for the workforce rate.

Barbara Holston

Barbara Holston

The Holston is named in honor of Barbara Holston, who served as president of the Fort Worth Housing Authority from 1993 to 2014. Ms. Holston is credited with re-positioning the agency that later became Fort Worth Housing Solutions from a traditional public housing model to its current mission of developing mixed-income residential properties in high opportunity areas throughout Fort Worth and de-concentrating poverty in the process.

“We are thrilled to celebrate The Holston and the legacy of Barbara Holston with today’s grand opening event,” said Mary-Margaret Lemons, Fort Worth Housing Solutions president since 2017. “Ms. Holston was an advocate for self-sufficiency who encouraged our residents to participate in programs designed to help them succeed. It is fitting to name such a beautiful property in one of our city’s hottest job centers for her.”

AMTEX President Arjun Nagarkatti noted that The Holston already is 90 percent leased with the first residents signing on in December. The property is the first of two phases of mixed-income housing at Keller Haslet and Texas 170.
Construction is expected to begin on an adjacent second phase, to be named The Opal, in fall 2021 or early 2022. The Opal will feature 339 units with a similar 50-50 split of market-rate and workforce-rate apartments. Construction is scheduled to take about 24 months with leasing to begin in 2023.

“We are elated with the success of The Holston – our fifth new apartment community collaboration with Fort Worth Housing Solutions,” Nagarkatti said. “By 2023, we look forward to building on the success of The Holston by also completing The Holston’s sister community — The Opal — that will provide 339 more market-rate and workforce-rate apartments to the Fort Worth residential market.”

Victoria Morgan, Greystar’s senior director for the Central North region said: “We are extremely excited about the success of The Holston’s lease-up. In short order the Greystar team has been able to partner with both Fort Worth Housing Solutions and AMTEX to deliver incredible results through operational excellence. We believe in the product, the demand for both workforce and market-rate rental housing. and we have exceeded the absorption schedule while positioning The Holston as a leader in the market.”

Leasing information is available at https://liveholston.com/.

Ms. Holston was known as a supportive leader and mentor who encouraged housing program participants to seek education and training and work toward self-sufficiency. She grew up in Birmingham, Ala., and as a 16-year-old high school student participated in the April 1963 segregation protests at the urging of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For that, she and a friend were jailed with many other young people.

She graduated from high school that year and earned her undergraduate degree in sociology at age 20 from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Holston landed her first job with the Los Angeles City Housing Authority and served in a variety of roles for more than two decades.

Michael Hanratty, then executive director for the Fort Worth Housing Authority, recruited Holston to Texas in 1990 and named her Deputy Director. When he died unexpectedly the next year, she was promoted to the agency’s top post.

“When I think of all the people who became self-sufficient over the years and were able to buy homes or get a college degree, those were all great things to witness,” said Holston, who lives in Fort Worth. “To see where Fort Worth Housing Solutions is today and consider where we started is very gratifying.”

View a photo gallery of the grand opening event at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmW1ZDfr.

About Fort Worth Housing Solutions
Fort Worth Housing Solutions provides mixed-income rental and home ownership opportunities that provide the foundation to improve lives. The agency was established in 1938 to provide decent, safe housing for low- to moderate-income residents. Today, the FWHS portfolio includes 40 properties with almost 6,700 affordable units. The agency manages Housing Choice Vouchers that help families and individuals cover rental costs. FWHS works closely with numerous partners to promote economic independence and positive change in the lives of the more than 28,000 individuals we serve on a daily basis. Learn more at www.fwhs.org.

About AMTEX Development, LLC
AMTEX Development, LLC, is a Dallas-based, real estate development company that develops apartment homes in Texas and is part of the AMCAL Group of Companies. Founded in 1978, the AMCAL Group of Companies is one of the nation’s leading housing development companies, developing quality rental and ownership residential properties throughout California, Texas and Washington, including affordable housing, luxury apartment housing and student housing. The company has developed more than $2.5 billion in multifamily housing projects consisting of more than 10,000 apartment homes and is currently listed sixth on Affordable Housing Finance Magazine’s list of top developers. The organization’s mission is to improve the lives of residents and enhance their futures. Visit www.amcalhousing.com to learn more.

About Greystar
Greystar is a leading, fully integrated, global real estate company offering expertise in investment management, development and management of rental housing properties. Headquartered in Charleston, S.C., Greystar manages and operates more than $220 billion of real estate in nearly 200 markets with offices throughout the United States, Europe, South America and the Asia-Pacific region. Greystar is the largest operator of apartments in the United States, managing about 729,000 units and beds, and has a robust institutional investment management platform with $39.8 billion in assets under management, including over $18.3 billion of assets under development. Greystar was founded by Bob Faith in 1993 with the intent to become a provider of world-class service in the rental residential real estate business. Learn more at www.greystar.com.

Media contacts:

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

Jennifer Gordon
jgordon@amcalhousing.com
818-706-0694 x169

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New Luxury, Multifamily Community to Honor Juneteenth Advocate Opal Lee

By | News

FORT WORTH, Texas, June 4, 2021 – Fort Worth Housing Solutions, the public housing authority for the nation’s 12th largest city, and nationally recognized development partner AMTEX have finalized a deal to build a 339-unit, luxury, mixed-income community off Westport Parkway and what will become far North Beach Street.

The 19-acre development is the sister property to The Holston, a resort-style community of 265 units that opened in December and is currently 75 percent leased. The Holston is named for Barbara Holston, the longtime chief executive of the Fort Worth Housing Authority, the predecessor of FWHS.

The Opal will be named for Fort Worth’s Opal Lee, a 94-year-old retired educator and community leader who leads a national awareness campaign to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. The Opal will be the sixth property developed by FWHS and AMTEX, a company that ranks No. 6 in affordable housing production nationally, through a relationship that began eight years ago with development of the mixed-income Avondale Apartments in northwest Fort Worth.

The Opal announcement comes on the eve of national and local Juneteenth Celebrations, with Tarrant County events organized by Lee and the nonprofit she leads, Unity Unlimited Inc. The 2021 Juneteenth celebration gets under way Saturday, June 5, with a traditional Miss Juneteenth pageant at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth.

“We are thrilled to be able to recognize a woman who has become a national icon in the Juneteenth movement by naming a beautiful new community in honor of Opal Lee,” FWHS President Mary-Margaret Lemons said. “Ms. Opal has always advocated for opportunity, and residents who choose to make The Opal their home will love the access this community has to job centers, great schools and the thriving Alliance Airport area.”

AMTEX Founder and Chief Executive Officer Percy Vaz said that the tremendous demand for units at The Holston encouraged partners to fast-track development of The Opal. Construction is scheduled to begin by Nov. 1 with construction to take about 24 months and leasing to begin in 2023.

“AMTEX has been impressed with Fort Worth’s collaborative spirit that paved the way for The Holston and the tremendous demand for our Class A property that includes units reserved for moderate-income individuals and families,” Vaz said. “We’re proud to name the new development after Opal Lee and intend this to be a permanent recognition of her life’s work as a teacher, school counselor and advocate for history. She is a true inspiration.”

In a May 2021 video interview published by Southern Living, Ms. Opal – as she prefers to be called – recounts the story of how a mob, 500 strong, assembled at her family’s Fort Worth home when she was 12 and demanded that her family leave.

The family fled, and the mob “tore the place apart and burned the furniture,” she said. Since then Ms. Opal has always had a heart for people seeking safe, affordable housing.

“If we had been allowed to stay, they would have found out that we wanted the same thing they wanted: a decent job, a decent place to stay, food on the table,” Ms. Opal told Southern Living, later sharing: “I’m humbled by the naming of this property for me. I’ve lived in some really bad housing in my lifetime, and I am thankful that others are reaping the benefit of excellent housing developed today.”

Similar to the Holston, The Opal will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units to individuals and families who live and work in the thriving Alliance Corridor. The properties are near major employers including McKesson Corp., UPS, Nestlé and the Facebook Data Center.

Half of the units will be offered at market rate; the other half will be available to households earning 80 percent or less of the Area Median Income. The Opal will reserve 5 percent of the units for households earning 50 percent or less of AMI. In 2021, an individual earning $45,300 or less a year meets the 80 percent threshold; an annual income of $28,300 or less is 50 percent of AMI.

About Fort Worth Housing Solutions

Fort Worth Housing Solutions provides mixed-income rental and home ownership opportunities that provide the foundation to improve lives. The agency was established in 1938 to provide decent, safe housing for low- to moderate-income residents. Today, the FWHS portfolio includes 40 properties with almost 6,700 affordable units. The agency manages Housing Choice Vouchers that help families and individuals cover rental costs. FWHS works closely with numerous partners to promote economic independence and positive change in the lives of the more than 28,000 individuals we serve on a daily basis. Learn more at www.fwhs.org.

About AMTEX Development, LLC

AMTEX Development, LLC, is a Dallas-based, real estate development company that develops apartment homes in Texas and is part of the AMCAL Group of Companies. Founded in 1978, the AMCAL Group of Companies is one of the nation’s leading housing development companies, developing quality rental and ownership residential properties throughout California, Texas and Washington, including affordable housing, luxury apartment housing and student housing. The company has developed more than $2.5 billion in multifamily housing projects consisting of more than 10,000 apartment homes and is currently listed sixth on Affordable Housing Finance Magazine’s list of top developers. The organization’s mission is to improve the lives of residents and enhance their futures. Visit www.amcalhousing.com to learn more.

Media contacts:
Kristin Sullivan
ksullivan@fwhs.org
817-706-9811

Jennifer Gordon
jgordon@amcalhousing.com
818-706-0694 x 169

FWHS Appoints Hector Ordonez Vice President of Finance and Accounting

By | News

Fort Worth Housing Solutions has named Hector Ordonez, a finance and accounting professional with nearly two decades of public and private sector experience, Vice President of Finance and Accounting beginning June 1. Ordonez succeeds Riza Nolasco, who is retiring after 19 years with the agency.

Ordonez has served as assistant Chief Financial Officer for the Dallas Housing Authority since January 2020. He previously served as Director of Finance & Chief Procurement Officer for the Regional Transit District in Santa Fe, N.M., and as the Deputy Finance Director – Housing Controller in Eagle County, Colo. His early career included accounting positions with a Las Vegas resort and a CPA firm.

Ordonez describes himself as a servant leader with a business-like and values-driven approach. His work is shaped in part by his experience growing up in the Riverview Apartments in Avon, Colo., the community’s only “government apartments,” which he said gave his parents the ability to save for their own home.

“I am thrilled to join Fort Worth Housing Solutions and am looking forward to working with such an amazing and innovative group of people,” Ordonez said. “What a beautiful opportunity to be part of an organization that is in direct alignment of who I am as a person. I want my job to have meaning and to put my talents to work for something that matters.”

“FWHS President Mary-Margaret Lemons said Ordonez’s experience in the affordable housing arena and in the private sector made him the perfect fit for the agency as it moves beyond the era of traditional public housing communities and expands its portfolio of mixed-income, multifamily properties dispersed throughout the city.

“Hector is a consummate professional and a seasoned financial officer with a heart for, and a personal understanding of, the people we serve,” Lemons said. “We are fortunate to attract a talent like his to our organization. Hector will help ensure that our agency continues to provide safe, affordable housing solutions in areas of economic opportunity that help people flourish.”

At FWHS, Ordonez will lead and manage the agency’s fiscal business operations in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and current business trends, as well as direct the agency’s administrative services including Information Technology.

During his tenure at DHA, Ordonez helped lead a finance team responsible for a $245 million operating budget and a $100 million investment portfolio.

He possesses extensive knowledge of governmental financial reporting; multi-fund accounting; investment management; CAFR, PAFR & Budget Book preparation; grant application and administration management; strategic planning and the budgeting process. In addition, Ordonez is experienced in procuring, acquiring, implementing and completing large scale Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System implementations and other industry and department specific software in a timely, budget adherent and efficient manner.

Ordonez earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration-Accounting from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and earned his MBA with a dual specialization in accounting and finance from Regis University in Denver.

Officials Celebrate Opening of Fort Worth’s Newest Affordable Housing Communities

By | News, Press Releases

Majority of units available to residents who qualify for rental assistance

FORT WORTH, Texas, April 21, 2021 – Local and federal officials joined Fort Worth Housing Solutions and LDG Development, one of the nation’s largest developers of affordable housing, to officially open two of Fort Worth’s newest affordable housing communities – Patriot Pointe, off SE Loop 820, and Stallion Ridge, near the Fort Worth-Everman border.

Patriot Pointe, a multifamily community at 2151 S.E. Loop 820, near the Fort Worth VA Clinic.

“Patriot Pointe and Stallion Ridge represent an expansion of the Fort Worth Housing Solutions portfolio and will allow our agency to help more individuals and families find safe, affordable housing,” FWHS President Mary-Margaret Lemons said. “These beautiful, new communities are in desirable locations with access to quality schools, job centers and amenities that families need. And we are especially pleased to reserve units for veterans who have given so much to our nation.”

The two, mixed-income, multifamily communities add 424 high-quality units to the city’s affordable housing inventory. The majority of units at both properties will be leased to working families with household incomes at 80 percent or less of the Area Median Income. Patriot Pointe offers units to residents participating in a special U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program that helps homeless veterans and their families find permanent housing.

Patriot Pointe is a 220-unit property at 2151 S.E. Loop 820, just west of the new Fort Worth VA Clinic. Stallion Ridge includes 204 units and is near Everman ISD schools and businesses along Everman Parkway and I-35 West.

Stallion Ridge, a mixed-income, multifamily community at 9000 Balch St., Fort Worth, Texas, 76140

Both properties offer business and fitness centers; large spacious floor plans with upgraded flooring, walk-in closets and energy efficient appliances; and a large swimming pool and playground area. Each location also has onsite property management staff focused on supporting the needs of families residing in the development. Monthly rental rates for the sites range between $820-$1350. Patriot Pointe welcomed its first resident in October 2020, while Stallion Ridge welcomed its first resident last month.

“LDG prides itself on ensuring that our properties are well maintained and that the families we serve have access to many amenities that are not often found in affordable housing developments,” said Justin Hartz, development director for LDG’s Texas market. “Having a dedicated on-site staff at each location that is focused on the needs of the residents they support also helps to ensure that over the years, our properties remain a place that residents are proud to call home.”

Financing for Patriot Pointe and Stallion Ridge was provided through Red Stone Company and Enterprise Community. FWHS also providing funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD, program.

Chris Dischinger, co-founder and co-principal of LDG Development, says that as the country continues to work to identify ways to meet the growing demand for affordable housing, the partnership between FWHS is a model for other communities. LDG and FWHS previously partnered to develop the nearby Stallion Pointe community at 9053 S Race St.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was a vivid reminder that more needs to be done to ensure working families, especially members of the military who are making the ultimate sacrifice and are working to protect our country, have access to quality housing,” Dischinger said. “We are proud to once again partner with FWHS as it works to address the needs of the Fort Worth area.”

About Fort Worth Housing Solutions

Fort Worth Housing Solutions is changing the face of affordable housing by providing mixed-income rental and home ownership opportunities that provide the foundation to improve lives. The agency was established in 1938 to provide decent, safe housing for low- to moderate-income residents. Today, the FWHS portfolio includes 40 properties with almost 6,700 affordable units. The agency manages Housing Choice Vouchers that help families and individuals cover rental costs. FWHS works closely with numerous partners to promote economic independence and positive change in the lives of the more than 28,000 individuals we touch on a daily basis. Learn more at www.fwhs.org.

About LDG Development

LDG Development is the nation’s largest developer of affordable housing. The company was founded more than 25 years ago by Chris Dischinger and Mark Lechner based on their shared belief that everyone deserves a quality place to live. Headquartered in Louisville, Ky., the company has created more than 16,000 units of high-quality affordable housing for working families and active seniors in seven states. The work of LDG is supported by more than 100 employees who are in the company’s Louisville; Austin; Nashville and Atlanta offices.  For more information about LDG Development, please visit www.ldgdevelopment.com.

Media contacts:

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

Christi L. Robinson
crobinson@ldgdevelopment.com
c 502-609-9141

$500 Landlord Sign-Up Bonus through June 30, 2021

By | Landlord News, News

Landlords Needed for Family Unification Program

FWHS is offering a $500 bonus now through June 30, 2021, to landlord partners with homes, duplexes and townhomes available to voucher holders participating in the Family Unification Program.

Rent payments to landlords are guaranteed.

The program provides rental assistance to parents working to unite their children in one household and to youth who are aging out of the foster care system.

The FWHS Family Unification Program is a federally-funded rental assistance program operated in partnership with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. DFPS refers families and youth to FWHS and provides supportive services and guidance that leads clients to self-sufficiency.

Email RaVonda Thompson at rthompson@fwhs.org today to enroll and receive your $500 bonus.

 

FWHS Opens Emergency Rental Assistance Application Portal

By | News, Press Releases

Housing Authority Partners with City of Fort Worth to Distribute Federal Relief Funds

Fort Worth, Texas, March 8, 2021 – Fort Worth Housing Solutions has opened its portal for the federally-funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program and is now accepting applications for relief funds for residents who have fallen behind on rent or utilities payments because they have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Landlords whose tenants have fallen two months or more behind on payments since March 13, 2020, the date of the federal COVID-19 disaster declaration, also can apply for relief on behalf of their tenants. All payments will be made directly to landlords or utility companies. FWHS awards will not duplicate any other federally-funded rental assistance the applicant has received.

“Fort Worth Housing Solutions is pleased to partner with the City of Fort Worth to process applications for back rent and utility bill relief for individuals who have experienced loss of income during these difficult times,” President Mary-Margaret Lemons said. “Each person needs stable housing to flourish, and we are glad to play a role in helping people get back on their feet during this pandemic.”

View an outline of the program, eligibility criteria and a list of required documents at https://fwhs.org/erap/. The page also includes a link to the Fort Worth application portal. Potential applicants who are unable to upload documents or complete the online application may email Fort Worth Housing Solutions at ERAP@fwhs.org for assistance.

Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional three months if the grantee determines the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability and grantee funds are available.

Funding for the program is provided by the U.S. Treasury Department through the City of Fort Worth, which has contracted with Fort Worth Housing Solutions, Housing Channel and Samaritan House locally to process applications and administer awards. Similar assistance is available through other municipalities and the Texas Rent Relief Program.

About Fort Worth Housing Solutions

Fort Worth Housing Solutions is changing the face of affordable housing by providing mixed-income rental and home ownership opportunities that provide the foundation to improve lives. The agency was established by the City of Fort Worth in 1938 to provide decent, safe housing for low- to moderate-income residents. Today, the FWHS portfolio includes 40 properties with almost 6,700 affordable units. The agency manages Housing Choice Vouchers that help families and individuals cover rental costs. FWHS works closely with numerous partners to promote economic independence and positive change in the lives of the more than 28,000 individuals we touch on a daily basis. Learn more at www.fwhs.org.

Media contact:
ksullivan@fwhs.org, cell 817-706-9811

In the News

Sneak Peek: Cowan Place, Stop Six

Fort Worth Inc. Magazine, Oct. 16, 2020

Historic Fort Worth neighborhood receives $35 million HUD grant

Fox 4/KDFW-TV, April 27, 2020

Persevering for the East Side: Religious and nonprofit groups pull together to feed a pandemic-ravaged but undaunted Stop Six community

Fort Worth Weekly, April 26, 2020

‘A great day’ $35 million will help restore this Fort Worth Neighborhood

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 24, 2020

Fort Worth Neighborhood Wins $35 million HUD grant

Fort Worth Business Press, April 24, 2020

HUD Awards $35 Million to Fort Worth Neighborhood Revitalization

NBC5/KXAS-TV, April 23, 2020

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

Fort Worth Business Press: Dec. 20, 2019

Rebirth in Stop Six? Cavile Place Redevelopment Plans Are Taking Shape

Star-Telegram: Oct. 21, 2019

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

Fort Worth Business Press:  April 4, 2019

Once Homeless, Fort Worth Special Olympian Headed to World Games

NBC 5: Jan. 31, 2019

Fort Worth Housing Solutions marks 80th anniversary

Fort Worth Business Press: November 1, 2018

City coming together for affordable housing solutions

Star-Telegram: October 26, 2018

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

NBC5: May 31, 2018

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

NBC DFW Channel 5: November 14, 2017

How to apply for Fort Worth housing vouchers

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: November 1, 2017

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

NBC DFW Channel 5: March 20, 2017

Fort Worth’s Butler Place housing project may close

NBC DFW Channel 5: January 3, 2017

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:

Kristin SullivanCommunications Manager Kristin Sullivan
Communications Manager
ksullivan@fwhs.org, w 817-333-3405