Longview needs at least 1,000 homes or apartments to meet affordable housing needs, a local official said Tuesday.
“We’re still in a deficit,” Community Healthcore Housing Navigator Karen Holt said at the weekly Rotary Club of Longview meeting.
Three tax credit properties that opened recently or are under construction are adding about 160 housing units to Longview’s housing availability. Despite those and other “great strides,” Holt said many Longview residents fall into the housing affordability gap.
“I think a lot of it is our area median income versus what our cost is for housing,” she said. “It’s kind of out of whack.”
“In order to afford a fair market rent two-bedroom here at $908, someone would have to make $17.50 an hour to afford that, so anybody making less than that, they’re not going to be able to afford it,” she added, “and that’s a good majority of our folks that live here.”
The state housing wage needed to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment in Texas is $20.29 an hour.
According to the federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median hourly wage in Longview in 2018 was $16.22, which is $1.62 below the statewide average.
Several local and federally backed programs provide housing solutions for local residents, particularly those who may be homeless, Holt said.
Among the programs are the Housing Choice Voucher program, housing initiatives for homeless people or those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, along with Community Healthcore, which is the local mental health authority in Longview. They are part of about $750,000 in funding provided to the city each year, she said.
“There are a lot of things that our community can do to work on affordability factors,” Holt said.