A veteran housing project is inflaming tensions in this Fort Worth neighborhood

The Fort Worth City Council will decide Tuesday whether a veteran housing project can go forward as neighbors raise concerns about its impact on the Rosemont neighborhood south of downtown.

The American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program, a San Antonio-based nonprofit, wants to convert a church at 4041 Ryan Ave. into 20 units of affordable housing for veterans.

The project is designed for those transitioning out of military service, but can also be used by veterans looking for housing while they go to school or reservists coming back from active deployment, said Steven Gonzalez, a representative for the nonprofit.

The units will all be one bedroom and will be priced at around $400 to $500 per month, Gonzalez said, adding the development could open as early as October if it gets council approval.

The project received push back from some residents concerned about communication with the developers and its potential impact on gentrification.

The first time people in the neighborhood heard about the project was when the city put up a notice about a proposed zoning change, said Calin Huezo, the newly elected president of Las Familias de Rosemont neighborhood association.

Huezo accused the previous president, Fernando Peralta, of not doing enough to inform the neighborhood.

Peralta said he told the neighborhood organization’s board and its active members about a week before an April 12 hearing before the city’s zoning comission.

While Peralta, a staff sergent in the Texas Army National Guard, said he was personally in support of the project, the neighborhood association itself never took an official position, because it was never voted on at an official meeting.

Peralta was voted out of office during a May 4 neighborhood association meeting.

Neighbors are also opposed because of the kind of zoning the nonprofit requested, Huezo said. The high-density zoning classification would allow the American GI Forum to build nearly 60 units on the 1.9-acre property, which Huezo said would impact traffic and change the character of mostly single family home neighborhood.

There is no guarentee the American GI Forum won’t turn around and sell it to an apartment developer sometime in the future, he said.

Gonzalez responded his group is trying to leave room to possibly build more units in the future.

Gentrification is a huge fear with residents like Loretta Snoke-Huezo. She said Rosemont doesn’t want to become the next Linwood or Rock Island. Both used to be mostly working class neighborhoods before residents got pushed out by development, she said.

The median household income in Rosemont is $42,122, and the poverty rate is 26.4%, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Snoke-Huezo acknowledged the charitable nature of the project, but argued it would do little to benefit residents living in and around the neighborhood.

“Developers always come under the guise of charity,” she said.