With an air of hope and relief in the room at Tuesday’s meeting, the Kerrville City Council adopted a plan that aims to increase workforce housing in the city.

The plan is based on a comprehensive study on the state of Kerrville’s housing situation. The study was conducted by city consultant Community Development Strategies and includes information on Kerrville’s growth, demographics, employment and housing.

Kerrville is in major need of affordable housing, with the 2017 median household income of $44,113 and the median listing price for a house in August at $297,500, the study says.

“(The housing market) goes from tight to tighter as you go down the income scale,” said Community Development Strategies President Steven Spillette at the meeting. “Employees are having a terrible time trying to find a place to rent when they are hired on.”

The plan includes nine major strategies the city will implement that will allow for more housing opportunities in the area, Spillette said. 

Here they are:

 

SMALLER SPACES, MORE DENSITY

The first two strategies call for taking advantage of smaller spaces to build smaller homes, Spillette said.

“It’s just things like taking a single-family lot that’s vacant or has a structure that needs to be torn down,” Spillette said. “We could put a duplex or a triplex there.”

Such constructions — duplexes, apartments or live/work spaces — make for denser living, which seemingly goes against an “everything’s bigger in Texas” attitude, but Spillette said that’s not the case.

“Folks who said they would consider moving here in the near or middle term ... were willing to consider some pretty small homes,” Spillette said. “It didn’t bother a lot of people.”

 

MAINTAIN WHAT’S HERE

One way to help the housing “crisis,” as Mayor Bill Blackburn would call it, is to address homes that already exist in Kerrville. That means looking into creating or accessing funds that can help maintain affordable housing.

“The most affordable way of having affordable housing in a community is to work with the affordable housing you already have,” Spillette said.

 

FIND HELP FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

The federal government has a low-income housing tax credit program, which gives select state and local agencies authority to issue tax credits for building, acquiring or rehabilitating low-income housing, according to the office of policy development and research.

While the city plans to support developers who apply for the program, it’s important not to rely too much on it, Spillette said.

“We can’t rely on that for large quantities, because it’s a very competitive program,” he said. “But having stated community support from the council and the overall community ... is very important for them to have a chance to compete.”

 

ACCOMMODATE SPECIAL RENTER POPULATIONS

Kerrville has a high rehabilitation community, and when people graduate from rehab programs, they often choose to stay in the area, Spillette said. They make up an important part of Kerrville’s workforce.

But one issue the recovery community often has is that they can’t meet qualifications for housing around here, such as minimum credit scores.

If the city aims to support housing that will accommodate people hitting these obstacles, then the recovery community may have more of a chance of finding their home, Spillette said.

CREATE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

The city council supports getting together with employers, financial institutions, the real estate community and developers to set up an educational program to help people learn about housing.

“Get them educated and into a position where they are going to be able to qualify for that mortgage and be ready to strike when that house becomes available,” Spillette said.

This goal will help people become more competitive against investors in the market that buy up houses, which is a problem in Kerrville, Spillette said.

 

AND MORE

Other strategies listed in the plan include making an incentive policy to encourage developers to build here, using publicly owned land or land owned by philanthropic organizations to develop housing — which in some cases means making partnerships with said organizations — and periodically checking on codes and regulations to ensure that they are as housing-friendly as can be.

 

(12) comments

Conservative

While there is plenty of talk about developer incentives, I have not seen the slightest discussion as to how the City can facilitate housing within the Kerrville City limits that a family with a total income of less than $44,000.00 can afford. My understanding is the Thompson Drive Partners project will yield bottom end rents of + $1300.00 per month, hardly affordable for a family with an annual income of

Conservative

One future use of housing complexes subsidized by the City of Kerrville will be a venue for left wing political rallies. Does this sound farfetched? If so, turn the clock back to 2018 and note the MacDonald Companies (ever heard of them?) sponsored political rallies held at The Meadows, The Gardens at Clearwater, Heritage Oaks Apartments and Paseo De Paz complexes in Kerrville. The events were meet and greets for Bill Blackburn, and apartment residents received a $20.0 rebate rebate for voting. This was a brilliant strategy and ultimately led the election of Blackburn, in my opinion. One can be sure the bosses will go back to this well for another drink of water. Blackburn holds a staunch anti-Trump view, but was able to get elected in a City and County that is overwhelmingly Conservative. One way to build support for these leftist policies is to create a perpetual underclass, dependent on government. Just promise them more free stuff and the votes will come.

Mary Lou Shelton

a little paranoid there are you conservative?

also pretty much fact free. gene

PistolPositive

I was saddened to read the concept of replacing single family residences with multi-family commercial operations. Those who bought homes in single family residential neighborhoods should not have to fight to maintain the "integrity" of their neighborhoods.

Conservative

Pistol, this plan will benefit the developers, and damage everyone else. Fair and free democracy, you know.

Conservative

I have watched every major city in Texas and every small town south of IH 10 transform from a conservative government into a liberal government over the last 30 years. This “fundamental transformation” as Obama called it in 2008 has created many problems and has not solved one issue. What we are seeing in Bill Blackburn’s vision for Kerrville is an exact clone of the process. Once we create a permanent underclass dependent on government, there is no going back. It should come as no surprise, as it is the rule, not the exception for large Texas Cities and small towns south of IH10 nowadays.

Mary Lou Shelton

then I guess you better pack It up and head for the hills. we can only hope the liberals get back in charge. gene

Mary Lou Shelton

well conservative, you made up my mind. I always have mixed feelings on these kind of things, but since they will become hotbeds of liberalism, I am all for them. time to throw off the shackles of ignorance and fear and get this country back on the right track before conservatives do irreparable damage to the moral soul of our country. gene

Conservative

Gene, you asked for factual backup...here it is my friend:

https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/DA-refers-rent-rebate-for-vote-complaint-to-12865195.php

Conservative

Gene, if you love a liberal takeover of a small Texas Town, just hike on down to Crystal City Texas, former home of José Ángel Gutiérrez. Do some fact checking on that one as well as La Raza Unida...a real utopia those guys created.

Conservative

Maybe the key is to pay 25 dollars a vote?

Mary Lou Shelton

actually I didn't ask for factual backup and I was already familiar with the situation there. those small border cities have always been problematic politically, and it wouldn't make a bit of difference which party was running them. yea I know the mantra: conservative good, liberals bad. you make some very sweeping conclusions from very little data. gene

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