Developers trying to fill urgent need for affordable housing in Lufkin

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Lufkin city officials say there's a huge need for affordable housing and developers plan to build low-income houses to meet the growing demand.

Empty lots with signs notifying the public of proposed multi-family residential communities are popping up across Lufkin.

"It means a prayer answered...when I saw this, I said that's my house," said Bonnie Goodman.

"Many people don't have the opportunity to live in something that's new or something that's low, affordable and quality," said Executive Director of DM Ministries Community Development Corporation Al Shaw.

Goodman said with her circumstances, affording a three-bedroom home is a dream come true.

"I don't know with my income as it is and my health as it is that I could really have a decent place to live if it wasn't for this," said Goodman.

The City of Lufkin said the need for affordable housing is evident.  About 50 percent of Angelina County is low to moderate income.

"It's important to us because the more housing, the more people we can get living in Lufkin," said Lufkin Deputy City Manager Keith Wright.  "It helps everybody as far as the tax base, it keeps our taxes lower.  It provides housing for people who want to employ individuals to work for them."

Wright said since there's no housing authority, the city does what they can to support low-income housing developers like Shaw.

"The need is so tremendous for low, affordable housing for people that are disenfranchised," explained Shaw.

He said they're going to start building on the lots in about 45 days, but he said they already have a waiting list of people ready to move in.

"We have already received people who want this particular lot or that particular lot," he said.

Shaw's group just received a $1 million grant to build 11 affordable rental homes in Lufkin and Hudson.  Across town, near Lotus Lane, there's a sign up notifying the public of Lufkin Pioneer Crossing, a proposed rental community.

"It's really a need for people to have places they can live and feel safe and feel proud and it makes you feel good and have some dignity," Goodman said.

Shaw said he expects the affordable homes to be built by the end of the year.  He said applicants must meet some requirements, for example, a family of four can't make more than $27,000 a year.

©2010 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.