If you’ve been in downtown Fort Worth over the past week, you may have noticed something a bit unusual: A brand-new home under construction in Sundance Square.
This has become an annual tradition for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. The organization has partnered with XTO Energy to build a house in downtown Fort Worth for the past several years.
On Monday morning, a crew readied to move the home to its permanent location. A handful of guys in safety vests were hard at work, lifting up the freshly-painted moss-green home to slide long steel beams underneath. They were building a custom trailer to haul the three-bedroom house a few miles southeast to the Hillside/Morningside neighborhood.
Building a house smack dab in the middle of downtown helps draw attention to the growing need for affordable housing in Fort Worth. The average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Fort Worth has topped $1,100.
Lydia Traina with Trinity Habitat for Humanity says the organization’s newly minted homeowners pay half that on a 30-year, zero-interest mortgage.
“They’re able to use their funds for other things like groceries and school supplies and clothing for their children,” Traina said. “And a lot of our homeowners go on and get secondary education for themselves and their kids too.”
This is just one of the 30 homes the organization plans to build this year in Tarrant, Parker, Johnson and Wise counties. Trinity Habitat has built 600 homes since 1989, and rehabbed hundreds more. Still, Traina says with more people moving into the area and rents on the rise, there’s a lot of unmet need for affordable housing.
“We are well into next year’s waiting list,” Traina said. “We are approving families as quickly as they come in, but there is definitely a waiting list.”
But for one family -- refugees from Myanmar – the wait is nearly over. Later this year, after work crews finish the interior of the house, they’ll be able to move into that house that was built downtown.