More than 100,000 households in Fort Worth are paying too much for their housing, a new report prepared for the city shows. 

The pressure on the Fort Worth housing market has already created impediments to housing for both owners and renters, changing the city’s neighborhoods. As city staff begins preparing the 2024 fiscal year budget, tackling the obstacles to affordable housing is a top priority for staff and council members. 

Interface Studio prepared the report and looked at issues affecting housing affordability across Fort Worth’s neighborhoods using data. It then presents recommendations for the city. The company will present a briefing of the findings to city council at their Aug. 15 worksession with a resolution to be voted on by Aug. 24.

This document offers a roadmap for the city and partners to guide their efforts in tackling affordable housing needs and limit the displacement of residents, Victor Turner, neighborhood services director, said. 

Fort Worth’s job market is growing much faster than its housing market, which is one of the many contributing factors to the growing pressure. About 80% of homes in the city of Fort Worth are out of reach for the median income household, which was around $68,000 in 2021, according to U.S. Census data

As of May 2023, the median price of homes in Fort Worth is just below $345,000. 

“We know that that pressure on the market is leading some folks to purchase and rent properties in neighborhoods where those properties might be a little bit more affordable,” said Scott Page of Interface Studio to the Neighborhood Quality and Revitalization Committee on June 13. “Those folks have higher incomes than traditional folks that are living in these communities and that’s when the displacement starts to occur.”

The rising cost of living has also led to an increase in evictions and people experiencing homelessness, according to the report. 

Councilmember Jared Williams, who chairs the committee, said this is an important step in providing a vision framework along with tangible actions for the city to improve neighborhood wellbeing. 

Williams said in a statement that this plan will “enhance the vitality of every neighborhood across our city, especially neighborhoods in flux and distress” as the city and staff work to adopt a strategy plan that meets current and future needs. 

Tackling the barriers to fair and affordable housing will require a variety of solutions, the report said. 

Gentrification v. Displacement: What’s the difference?

  • Gentrification is when higher-income residents move into a neighborhood with historically low property values and vulnerable residents. This causes housing costs to rise, thus transforming the character of a neighborhood. 
  • Displacement is the direct effect of rising housing costs pushing out residents, in the form of either evictions, non-renewal of leases, poor conditions or demolition of property. Displacement can also be indirectly caused by vacant units no longer being available to people who they previously belonged to. 
  • Gentrification may or may not aggravate direct displacement and can happen with no intervention from the local government. But it can be accelerated as a result of actions taken by the local government, whether intentional or not. 

Source: The University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture’s Community and Regional Planning program. 

When it comes to building and preserving affordable housing in Fort Worth, Interface Studio recommended things like a land bank, which the city is currently exploring, or creating an open space partnership program. A land bank is a way for a government entity to buy underused, abandoned or foreclosed property, maintain it, and then sell it at a lower cost to approved developers. 

As for addressing the rising costs of keeping people in homes, the report also recommended solutions such as property tax assistance for low-income homeowners, homestead exemptions for income-qualified owners, expanding city rehabilitation programs or even offering tax abatement for property improvements.

Turner said the comprehensive report highlighted some areas the city needs to refocus its attention on. It also presented new ideas to preserve affordability like a community land trust.

Other solutions, like focusing resources on rehabilitating homes is something the city has already implemented but hopes to dedicate more to the Priority Repair Program

The city’s neighborhood services department is also working on its Consolidated Plan. The goal is to incorporate some of the recommendations from this report by Interface into the department’s efforts

“We think we’re pretty efficient now,” Turner said. “These are just some other things that we can do.”

As for budget priorities, Turner said that is still in the discussion stages and no decisions have been made. One potential area he would like to see more resources for is adding a community to the Neighborhood Improvement Program

“Some of the things that we want may be accomplished through other departments’ budgets so all of that will be coordinated with the council and management team. There are ways to get to it, it doesn’t necessarily have to be through neighborhood services,” Turner said. 

Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at or on Twitter at @ssadek19

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Sandra Sadek is the growth reporter for the Fort Worth Report and a Report for America corps member. She writes about Fort Worth's affordable housing crisis, infrastructure and development. Originally...