Fort Worth Housing Solutions (FWHS) is changing the face of affordable housing by providing mixed-income rental and homeownership opportunities that enable our clients to flourish in the community. FWHS is accomplishing this by utilizing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, to preserve and expand affordable housing throughout the City of Fort Worth.
Rental Assistance Demonstration
This program was instituted by HUD to address the underfunded capital needs of public housing developments across the country. Under RAD, housing authorities are able to raise substantial amounts of capital to rehabilitate, redevelop or replace deteriorating public housing. The RAD program effectively converts public housing subsidies into project based rental assistance contracts. These contracts can be leveraged against private debt sources to raise the necessary funds for rehabilitation, renovation or new construction projects.
In 2015, FWHS received HUD approval to convert its entire portfolio of public housing units to the RAD program, and the agency is now focused on transforming its housing stock to HUD’s preferred model of mixed-income communities. The agency currently owns more than 25 multi-family, mixed-income properties, with six under construction and more to be planned by 2019.
The two maps on this page show the overall RAD Development Plan, as well as the Butler Place conversion specifically.
Visit the “Frequently Asked Questions: RAD Relocation and Butler Place” section for more detailed information
FWHS was created in 1938 by the Fort Worth City Council in response to federal legislation (U.S. Housing Act of 1937) that enabled the 45th Texas Legislature (1937) to charge local entities with providing decent, safe and sanitary housing for low to moderate income families and individuals.
Ripley Arnold Place and Butler Place were the agency’s first two public housing communities, opening their doors in 1942, close to the city center of Fort Worth. In the early 1950s, J.A. Cavile Place was built in the Stop Six Neighborhood. As housing needs continued to expand, additional units were built at Ripley Arnold and Butler Place in 1962 and 1963, and in 1971 the housing authority started to purchase properties owned by the private sector.
Today, FWHS owns over 900 public housing units, 4,545 affordable housing units and 665 market-rate units, administers over 5,000 Housing Choice Vouchers, and operates a homeownership program.
One of FWHS’ earliest private-sector purchases was an 11-story, former hotel in downtown Fort Worth. The structure was renovated to accommodate 234 housing units, as well as the housing authority offices. That building, known today as Hunter Plaza Apartments, has been redeveloped once again through public and private partnerships into a new mixed-income apartment building with 164 units. The development also features 10,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.
Butler Place was originally constructed in the 1940s. The federal government’s historical underfunding of public housing capital needs has resulted in the 412-unit community being outdated and requiring significant capital improvements — like much of the nation’s public housing of this era.
FWHS’s use of the RAD program is providing a remedy for the families residing at Butler. Over the next several years, they will all be relocated throughout Fort Worth, to quality, mixed-income apartment complexes. The Butler residents will have the opportunity to choose from numerous properties throughout the city for their relocation. (See maps above).
The Butler relocation plan involves a lottery system to identify residents for each available property with RAD units. Each household can choose to enter the lottery for a specific location; this allows families to take into consideration proximity to childcare, schools, transportation and jobs. Notices are being sent to residents as additional RAD units become available.
In December 2017, the Butler Place relocation got underway, with the first 15 families moving to Stallion Pointe.
Years of planning have gone into this effort at Butler Place, and is still underway. The Agency partnered with the City of Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Independent School District, and Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. (DFWI) to engage the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to provide a study on Butler Place including possible redevelopment plans. The ULI conducted an interactive workshop with a panel of experts in December 2015. The workshop subjects included market potential, development strategies, planning and design, and implementation. In addition, up to 100 other stakeholders were interviewed and ULI drafted a report with a list of findings and recommendations. To date, no decisions have yet been made regarding the long-term future of the Butler Place site.
Additionally, on August 4, 2011, 17 acres of the Butler property were designated a historic district by the Texas Historical Commission (Reference # 11000514). Discussions are underway on how best to preserve the area’s historic value. More Butler history can be found here.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is RAD? And what does it have to do with Butler Place?
The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program was created by HUD, to give public housing authorities a powerful tool to preserve, improve and replace public housing units. Under RAD, Butler Place residents will be permanently relocated into affordable properties throughout the city. There are currently 12 proposed sites and additional sites are being added as they become available.
I read Butler Place is being converted to RAD long-term Section 8 rental assistance. What is that?
Under RAD, the federal assistance source for the Butler Place replacement units converts from HUD’s public housing to HUD’s project-based rental assistance (PBRA), which is funded through the Section 8 program. PBRA is the funding source utilized by private landlords across the country.
Is the property of Butler Place historically designated?
On August 4, 2011, the Texas Historical Commission designated Butler’s 17 acres as a historic district, and discussions are underway to determine how best to preserve the area’s historical value.
The City of Fort Worth provides housing so I am confused about what FWHS does, can you tell me? Or is FWHS part of the City of Fort Worth?
Fort Worth Housing Solutions (FWHS) is a municipal housing authority, not a City department. You can find more information about our history here. FWHS is one of the nation’s 3,900 public housing authorities. While some use only federal funding, FWHS has grown from an owned-and-operated property model to an asset management/property development/resident services-based business model that allows residents greater housing, education, employment and job training choices. With the introduction of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program from HUD, the agency will be one of the largest public housing authorities in the state of Texas to convert its entire public housing portfolio to the RAD program.
Why is FWHS moving people from Butler?
The traditional public housing sites, like Butler, are outdated and require significant capital improvements. In 2012, the amount of capital improvements needed nationwide was
$26 billion. HUD does not have the budget to fund this deferred maintenance backlog, and therefore created the RAD program to leverage public housing properties to address the capital needs.
Many residents are concerned that they will be moved away from jobs, day care, transportation and services like the Amaka Learning Center – a YMCA day care facility located in the heart of Butler. What are you doing about this?
Residents will have choices. FWHS has identified several locations throughout Fort Worth that provide better access to high-performing schools, transportation, job opportunities, and supportive services. FWHS also works closely with Fort Worth Independent School District, the City of Fort Worth, and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority to identify areas where future schools, transportation routes, and economic development are being proposed, to ensure that future developments are also located in areas of opportunities.
Please explain to me how the Butler relocation lottery system will work?
Residents receive notices as RAD units become available at various properties. They return an interest form indicating their preference for a property. Once all forms have been received for each property, names will be entered into a database and lottery numbers will be randomly assigned to each person. FWHS will use software that randomly selects lottery numbers to identify those who will relocate to the new property.
What is FWHS’s ultimate goal?
As our name suggests, we are in the business of providing affordable housing solutions for the residents of Fort Worth. To do this, we develop and maintain properties across the city to improve lives through access to schools, transportation, jobs and services that can lead to self-sufficiency. Our mission goes beyond just housing, we provide a foundation for improving lives.
FWHS partners with organizations that serve children and help parents and individuals move toward self-sufficiency. For seniors who are capable of independent living, we support their effort to age in place. For the special needs population and those who are chronically homeless, we have developed partnerships to secure and maintain housing by leveraging Project-Based Vouchers (PBV) and other resources. We also provide training and vocational assistance to all program participants. Our list of offerings can be found here.
So the locations listed on the map of FW are not Section 8 housing, correct? I’ve heard Section 8 housing increases crime and lowers property values.
The type of housing being proposed at these sites is partially funded through the Section 8 platform. All programs administered by FWHS have criminal background requirements, credit requirements and other program policies that participants must comply with in order to maintain their housing.
Will there be extra security and police presence paid for by FWHS at these locations?
FWHS partners with the Fort Worth Police Department to ensure residents and the communities we serve are safe and protected. The need for additional security at each property is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
What operational experience does FWHS have from Ripley Arnold to apply to this relocation?
We are committed to a transparent process involving the community in our efforts to support our residents. We work with the Fort Worth City Council and city staff on the notifications to neighborhoods and the local community. We have held numerous community meetings and have posted information and videos about Butler Place to our website.
What happens if a resident refuses to move from Butler?
Our staff has been and is working closely with Butler residents to address any concerns residents may have. We understand that change can be difficult, as some of our residents have lived at Butler for over 50 years. We hope that we can help provide reassurances through continued dialogue and personal tours to assist our residents with their choice for permanent relocation.
Will there be an opportunity to voice my concern and be heard?
FWHS holds regular board meetings that often include an opportunity for public comment. Check the website for posting of future meetings. Written comments are accepted and included in the official records of the meetings. These comments can be submitted in person, electronically or by mail.
What are housing choice vouchers?
The “Housing Choice Voucher” program is what the general public typically equates to Section 8. This is a federal program for assisting low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe and affordable housing in the private market.