U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development
Consolidated Plan Contact
Abilene, Texas, located in west central Texas, 183 miles west of Dallas, is the center
of a 22-county area called the "Big Country." As the largest city between Fort Worth and
El Paso on Interstate 20, Abilene is the hub of a diversified economy which includes
manufacturing, retail trade, farming and ranching, medical care, and petroleum. In 1993,
Money magazine ranked Abilene the 19th most livable city in the United States.
The City of Abilene's Consolidated Plan presents a strategic plan that demonstrates the
city's efforts to enhance the quality of life for all of its residents. To achieve this goal, the
city will maximize the use of available resources in order to expand and preserve the
availability of safe, decent, and affordable housing. The Consolidated Plan includes a one-year action plan for spending approximately $2.2 million of Community Development Block
Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership Program funds, as well as program income
Three public hearings were held at different stages to receive input from interested parties
on housing and community development needs, review goals, strategies and objectives, and
receive input from agencies requesting funds for FY 1995. In addition to citizen and
organization input, the city used existing documents to determine the priority needs in the
Consolidated Plan. The existing documents included:
The City of Abilene amended its Citizen Participation Plan to further encourage and provide
for participation by all residents in the development of the Consolidated Plan. The amended
Citizen Participation Plan was approved by the Abilene City Council on April 27, 1995.
- Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) Citizen board: Abilene
Affordability Housing Task Force
- Abilene's Children Today
- Overall Economic Development Plan (OEDP)
- Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA) Plan & Work Program
- United Way Focus Needs Assessment Survey of Abilene and Taylor County Sponsors: City of Abilene, Dodge Jones Foundation, Taylor County, United
Way of Abilene, Community Foundation of Abilene, Abilene Independent
School District, Texas Department of Human Services, and Abilene Financial
Residents affected by the plan were invited and encouraged to participate in the
Consolidated Plan process through announcements in the media, posted notices,
announcements at community and civic meetings, etc. Participation by citizens consisted of
general suggestions delivered either orally or in writing or specific project proposals
delivered in writing. All forms of comments and suggestions from residents of Abilene were
received and considered by the city staff. A 30-day comment period was provided to
receive comments on any substantial amendment to the Consolidated Plan.
Abilene is primarily located in Taylor County with a small portion of the city located
in Jones County. Abilene is a home rule city with an elected mayor and six-member City
Council, plus an appointed city manager. According to the U.S. Census in 1990, Abilene
had 106,665 residents, and the city has continued to grow at a rate of approximately seven
percent since 1980 when the population was 98,315. In 1990, the average Abilene
household had 2.6 residents, and nearly 90 percent of Abilene's households had four or
Abilene's median age has continually dropped. In 1990, the median age was 29.7.
Throughout the next 20 years, the age group of 25-44 year-olds is expected to be the
largest age group, and the percentage of Abilene residents aged 65 and older is expected to
grow at a slow pace.
In 1990, Abilene's median family income was $29,316, and Abilene's median
household income was $24,725. Forty percent of Abilene's households are either very low-
or low-income households. In addition, Abilene has very few moderate-income households
(only nine percent of total households).
HOUSING AND COMMUNITY
According to Texas Employment Commission statistics, the overall 1992 unemployment rate
for the Abilene Metropolitan Statistical Area was 6.5 percent. During the 1970's, Abilene's
labor force was founded on the oil industry. Over the years, the city has adjusted to the
declining oil industry. Today, professional, technical, and service workers constitute a
growing portion of the area's labor force. Education, health care, clerical, administrative
support, and sales-related occupations are also showing an upward trend.
The largest priority identified in the Consolidated Plan is to increase the affordability of
housing. To address the affordable housing needs, funds are needed to help low-income
persons maintain and repair their homes. Very low-income people are more likely to pay an
excessive amount of their income (more than 30 percent) on housing. Some pay 50 percent
or more of their income for housing, leaving very little money for food, clothing, and
In addition, another priority of Abilene is to increase the housing stock of larger homes. The
housing stock reveals that a majority (79 percent) of the units with three or more bedrooms
in Abilene are owner-occupied. There are few large homes available, particularly for families
with lower incomes. Thus, large families and minority households have the greatest need.
Housing Market Conditions
According to the 1990 U.S. Census, Abilene has a total of 44,422 dwelling units. Of the
occupied units, 35 percent are rental units and 51 percent are owner-occupied. The
percentage of vacant homes is approximately 14 percent.
Substandard housing units are estimated at six percent. Approximately 88 percent of these
units are suitable for rehabilitation. In 1990 it was estimated that there were a total of 213
public housing units available for people of low- and moderate-income status.
Affordable Housing Needs
Low-income individuals in households can have difficulty affording their housing. Of the
755 low-income renters in Abilene, 523 (56 percent) in 1990 were paying more than 30
percent of their income for housing and 42 (5.6 percent) were paying more than 50 percent
of their income for housing. These are the households that have the greatest housing cost
burden. They need rental assistance and affordable housing options, while owners need
rehabilitation assistance. Low-income first-time homebuyers need credit counseling and
There is no accurate count of the number of homeless in Abilene. Information available to
the city regarding the scope of this issue is mostly based on speculation. The U.S. Census
conducted a count of the homeless during a specific 24-hour time frame in every
metropolitan community in the spring of 1990 to determine the number of homeless families
and individuals. As a result of this analysis, the Census identified 27 individuals in
emergency shelters, 33 people in shelters for abused women, and 25 individuals in shelters
for runaway, neglected, and homeless children. The survey only located 2 homeless
individuals visible in street locations. This data was clearly an inaccurate reflection of the
homeless population in Abilene.
The homeless are in need of permanent, affordable, and decent housing. Many need other
supplemental services such as food, subsidized child care, housing search assistance, and
employment training. Additional regional shelter and transitional housing with support
services is necessary to meet the expected growing numbers of homeless families and
Public and Assisted Housing Needs
The public housing organization for Abilene is the Abilene Housing Authority which was
founded in 1968. The Housing Authority has five low Income Public Housing (LIPH)
buildings with a total of 213 public housing units. The Abilene Housing Authority does not
anticipate any losses to the public housing inventory for any reason, including losses
through public housing demolition or conversion of homeownership. There are
approximately 350-400 applicants on the public housing waiting list. Approximately 50 to
75 percent of all applicants on the waiting list have claimed at least one federal preference.
Abilene's Section 8 program assists 523 families -- 97.85 percent of which are very low-income, 1.96 percent of which are low-income, and 0.18 percent of which are moderate-income. The city anticipates no losses to its Section 8 program for any reason,
prepayment or voluntary termination. In addition, the Housing Authority has requested
assistance for additional Section 8 units from HUD. There are approximately 700 families
on the Section 8 waiting list, and 50 to 75 percent of all families on this list have claimed
one or more federal preferences.
Barriers to Affordable Housing
A lack of funds is one of the largest barriers to affordable homeownership. Insufficient
funds for downpayment, lack of credit, and poor credit are often barriers for people of low-
and moderate income status to owning a home. In addition, the long-term affordability of a
home, such as the required monthly principal, interest, taxes, and insurance payments, are
often too high compared with available income for a low-income household. Common
barriers to affordable housing are the lack of available funding to the jurisdiction and
inconsistent rules and regulations of federal agencies.
Federal agencies often have rules and regulations that prohibit affordable housing
opportunities. For example, the city, along with the Abilene Housing Authority, recently
pursued the purchase of a RTC multi-family complex. HUD required notification to residents
that the property may be purchased with federal dollars and displacement may occur. RTC
was the owner of the property and stated, "A notice shall not be sent to residents." As a
result, federal funds were not used in the project. If nonfederal funds had not been
available, the Housing Authority would not have been able to purchase the complex and the
additional affordable units for low-income families would not be available. Often this has
been a large barrier for our city.
The Board of Realtor's Fair Housing Group is the organization that primarily focuses on fair
housing issues. This group provides a roundtable discussion on issues of affordable housing
for interested members of the community. Members of the Board of Realtors Fair Housing
Group include bankers, realtors, and social services providers. This organization is
responsible for providing education and outreach to potential low- and moderate-income
homebuyers citywide. At this time, there is not a study available in Abilene that identifies
the number of discrimination cases within the city.
There is no accurate information on the incidence of lead-based paint in the City of Abilene;
however, the City realizes that lead-based paint poses a serious health threat and must be
addressed. Abilene's public housing units are free from lead-based paint and always have
been. The Housing Authority will continue to notify Section 8 recipients about the dangers
of lead-based paint and refer them to the local health department for testing. The city will
also encourage residents and property owners to test for and abate lead paint.
Community Development Needs
As a result of public hearings and existing planning documents, the following have been
identified as community development needs: assistance for homebuyers and renters,
rehabilitation of housing, and improvement of neighborhoods through beautification and
social services provided to neighborhoods. In addition, many communities look toward
services that will benefit the youth and the seniors who live in their areas (i.e., community
centers, transportation, etc.). Other needs include historic preservation and code
enforcement to ensure the safety of residents and to improve the quality of life for these
HOUSING AND COMMUNITY
Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities
The majority of the housing objectives and priorities focus on the expansion and
preservation of safe, decent, and affordable housing and the creation of a positive image of
low- and moderate-income neighborhoods through improving the quality of the housing
stock. Community development objectives are to remove slum and blight in central
business districts and to revitalize residential and neighborhood areas of low- and moderate-
income individuals. Economic development priorities include the development and
implementation of programs to address defined needs including creation and retention of
jobs and the expansion of the tax base.
Priorities for affordable housing include reducing the housing cost burdens of low-income
families through downpayment and closing cost assistance and by establishing partnerships
with local banks to provide assistance with mortgage payments. In addition, a priority for
affordable housing is to assist public housing residents to become more self-sufficient
through community service programs and by creating an environment in neighborhoods
where residents provide support to one another.
Priorities for homelessness alleviation include the provision of transitional, emergency, and
permanent housing for homeless persons. Social service providers and nonprofit
organizations will continue to provide their array of services to various segments of
Abilene's homeless population. In addition, the city will be conducting a comprehensive
homeless study to determine the number of homeless people who live in Abilene. According
to the 1990 U.S. Census, only two homeless individuals were visible in the streets; thus,
the study will be conducted to provide a more realistic count of the number of homeless
people in the streets.
Priorities for non-homeless persons with special needs includes health care, home
maintenance, transportation, shopping, food preparation, and other supportive housing
needs. Abilene has an extensive network of social service providers that assist persons with
Non-Housing Community Development Priorities
Abilene's non-housing community development priorities include the provision of quality
preventive, educational, and professional health services and the provision of quality and
affordable child care. In addition, a high priority of the city is to encourage private sector
investment in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods and to promote business
development investment and job creation and retention in the community. An additional
priority is to encourage pride in and preservation of neighborhoods in the city.
The anti-poverty strategy is an economic development plan that increases the incomes and
job opportunities for low-income households. The economic changes in Abilene have led to
growth in the number of low- as well as high-paying jobs; therefore, housing is a major
component of the plan, since a secure and affordable residence allows household members
to pursue jobs, education, and training without having to worry of the threat of
It is important to recognize that the anti-poverty strategy is not a housing plan; it is an
economic development plan that increases the incomes and job opportunities for low-income
households. Implementation of anti-poverty efforts is a cooperative effort between city
agencies, including the Department of Economic Development, the Planning Department,
Abilene Housing Authority, Chamber of Commerce, and local nonprofit service
organizations. Abilene's CDBG and HOME programs are instrumental to the anti-poverty
plan. Other programs that assist in eliminating poverty include community homebuyers,
rental rehabilitation, single-family rehabilitation, drug elimination, emergency repair, and
Very low-income households, particularly renters, are rated a top priority throughout the
Consolidated Plan, and homeless persons are also given high priority. The city will focus its
resources on assisting these families and individuals through economic development
programs. However, poor housing is a result of poverty, not a cause of it. Therefore, the
thrust of its anti-poverty plan must be economic growth and the creation of decent jobs.
Housing and Community Development Resources
The primary funding that has been received from the Federal government for housing and
community development projects has been through CDBG. For fiscal year 1995, the City of
Abilene's entitlement was $1,559,000. The city also receives funding through HUD's
HOME Investment Partnership program. For FY 1995, the HOME entitlement is $488,000.
These grants are utilized to fund single family rehabilitation programs, emergency repairs,
neighborhood improvement programs, rental rehabilitation, homeownership programs,
program administration, and new home construction projects through the city's Community
Housing Development Organization (CHDO), Habitat for Humanity.
The Housing Authority administers several additional programs through federal funding
through a Comprehensive Improvement Assistance Grant (CIAP) and through a Federal Drug
Elimination Grant which is used for drug elimination, prevention, and intervention program
for public housing residents. The Housing Authority also receives a tenant assistance grant,
which was used to provide technical assistance for the public housing tenant association.
Coordination of Strategic Plan
The various agencies and organizations responsible for carrying out the city's housing
priorities are discussed at length throughout the Consolidated Plan. Clearly, coordination
between these organizations is critical to the success of the city's housing initiatives. The
Department of Economic Development will strive for efficient and effective coordination
between the Department and the Housing Authority; the Department and nonprofit social
service providers; and the Department and for profit developers. Wherever possible, the city
will promote coordination and cooperation between the nonprofit and for-profit sectors,
including developers and lenders.
ONE-YEAR ACTION PLAN
Description of Key Projects
The City of Abilene's one-year action plan outlines the proposed use of approximately $2.2
million in CDBG and HOME funds, in addition to program income. These funds will be spent
on an array of projects including the following:
- $75,000 for housing rental rehabilitation
- $75,000 for housing emergency repair
- $100,000 for housing home buyer and closing cost assistance
- $118,590 for neighborhood improvement programs, such as the paint-up
program and comprehensive neighborhood studies
- $40,000 for family self-sufficiency programs
Approximately 92 percent of the total proposed funds will be spent to directly benefit low-
and moderate-income citizens. In addition, HOME funds are allocated to Habitat for
Humanity, the city's Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) to rehabilitate
homes and to increase the housing stock in Abilene.
The housing goals for FY 1995 include the completion of construction on public units with
$750,000 CIAP funds. In addition, a new homeownership program will be implemented
under the HOME grant. Other housing goals include the provision of emergency repair
assistance, rental rehabilitation, and family self-sufficiency.
The housing goals for FY 1995 include preserving, rehabilitating, and expanding the city's
existing single and multi-family housing stock. The city's goal is to rehabilitate 108 units
through the single-family rehabilitation, rental rehabilitation and emergency repair programs.
In addition, the city plans to assist 59 homeowners through the homebuyer program. The
city has previously funded this program through CDBG; however, policy changes may result
in funding this program through HOME.
MAP 1 shows points of interest in the City of Abilene.
MAP 2 shows points of interest in the City of Abilene with low- and moderate-income
MAP 3 shows areas of minority concentration
with low- and moderate-income areas
MAP 4 shows unemployment data (1990) by block group, with low- and moderate-income areas outlined.
MAP 5 and MAP 5A show selected CDBG projects to be funded by the City of Abilene
during its 1995 program year, with unemployment data shaded by block group and
low- and moderate-income areas outlined.
For additional information, contact Wanda C. Merritt or Maria Elena Leos at 915/676-6366.
Return to Texas' Consolidated Plans.