Report Suggests McAlester Should Consider More Affordable Housing

A City of McAlester department investigated the possible need for more affordable housing. It found that hundreds of renters could benefit from between 361 and 385 additional units.

McAlester's city council tasked the Community and Economic Development Department with the investigation. It took into consideration the length of apartment waiting lists, current infrastructure, and the number of renters that are eligible for assistance through HUD.

"This is just merely an answer to the question, 'Is there excess demand in McAlester for housing?' It appears there is, yes," said project manager Kirk Ridenour.

The department said about five percent of renters are currently paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing without any kind of housing assistance. That leaves little money for other basic needs.

The report offers no proposed plan on how to move forward, but residents Channel 8 spoke with seemed open to the idea of additional housing

"Yes, I would," said student James Ales. He rents an apartment where he spends about 20 percent of his income on rent.

The report also looked into the ages of homes. It identified that about 40 percent of housing units in McAlester are more than 50 years old. The state average is closer to 26 percent. Adding new units could impact that.