MIDLAND, Texas — Affordable housing is a serious issue in Midland, and the steep prices have made it difficult to recruit and retain first responders.
Midland is 21 firefighters short while the police department has 32 openings as of October 2019.
One mayoral candidate offered a possible solution to this problem during the first Basin PBS forum.
"One of my developers that's actually here tonight told me that over in Granbury… when a new apartment complex comes online that the city actually makes a request of them to have a certain number of units available for free to police officers and firefighters,” said Jenny Cudd. “There's no reason why we couldn't do that either."
The proposed solution sounds promising, but does the City of Grandbury actually do this? We set out to Verify.
Does the city of Grandbury have a housing program for first responders that Midland could replicate?
No, Grandbury does not have a program like this. However, it turns out Cudd actually meant Grand Prarie.
Grand Prairie also does not have a program in place, but some developers are voluntarily offering housing to first responders.
WHAT WE FOUND
After the initial statement from Cudd, we reached out to the City of Grandbury.
"The City of Granbury does not have any program like you have described where a developer would be required to provide free apartments to police or fire personnel," they told us.
We then reached out to Cudd, who clarified she meant Grand Prairies. She told us her information came from Grand Prairie City Council Member Jeff Copeland.
Grand Prairie’s Communication Director Amy Sprinkles told us the city does not ask apartment developers for free units for first responders.
However, some developers in the city will offer free apartments to police officers in exchange for extra security at the complexes. It’s entirely up to the officer if they want to live there.
We also talked to Copeland, who confirmed for us that the city does not aske for free units for first responders.
He did tell us Rodney DeBaun, a developer in Grand Prairie, does offer free housing for police officers. As a member of the city council development committee, Copeland also talks to new developers and tells them about Debaun’s offer.
In the end, it’s entirely up to developers if they offer free units to first responders.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Neither the City of Grandbury nor the City of Grand Prairie request free apartments for first responders from new developers.
A local developer in Grand Prairie does offer free housing for police officers, and a city councilman mentions the idea to new developers in the area. The process is entirely voluntary.