The Tulsa Development Authority heard a preview Thursday of how the city plans to develop and preserve affordable housing.
Becky Gligo, who was hired in June as the city’s first housing policy director, said the municipality’s strategy will be rolled out officially in two to three weeks. It will allow for economic growth and innovation while ensuring all Tulsans have access to decent, safe and appropriate housing that meets their needs.
When it comes to housing, more than 30% of Tulsans are cost-burdened, Gligo said. That phenomenon, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), describes families who pay more than 30% of their income for housing and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.
An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households in the country now pay more than 50% of their annual incomes for housing, HUD said.
Tulsa’s housing strategy will lay out a series of 10 goals and supportive action steps that will take place from 2020-2024.
Among the areas of focus are homelessness and eviction, said Gligo, adding that Tulsa has the 11th-highest eviction rate in the country.
“We’re looking at how the lack of affordable housing is feeding the eviction crisis and how we can mitigate some of that impact,” she said.
Another priority will be the preservation of existing affordable housing, which will “incorporate some of the work WIN (Working in Neighborhoods) is doing with the housing opportunity partnership program, which takes vacant and abandoned properties, partners with nonprofit developers and creates affordable housing opportunities with those,” Gligo said.
Cooperating with groups such as Tulsa Public Schools and the Tulsa Housing Authority, the city also plans to see how it can strengthen neighborhoods.
Gligo is a longtime housing finance and policy expert, having worked across the country on different fair housing projects. Before being hired by the city, she served as the director of portfolio management for Tulsa Public Schools, where she monitored seven charter schools and Oklahoma’s first partnership school. In this role, she also served as the TPS liaison to the Tulsa Housing Authority and Urban Strategies, Inc. for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.