As a former teacher who resides in a HUD-subsidized apartment, I feel compelled to provide information and some commentary about housing in Tyler. Additionally, I volunteer with the East Texas Human Needs Network (ETHNN) — primarily the transportation committee. Over the years, ETHNN has assisted the poor of Tyler.

The U.S. census statistics include city population, income, and rent. The Tyler, Texas, 2019 population estimate was 106,985. Tyler median household income was $52,932/year, and the median rent was $923/month. Spending under 30% of your income on rent is considered acceptable. The poverty rate in Tyler is 17.5%.

Section 42 Internal Revenue Code makes apartments affordable through cooperation of private industry and the federal government. Even if I weren’t on HUD, there’s a small discount for those looking for affordable apartments. My complex has the plaque stating this on an office wall. 

Low income housing available in Tyler includes HUD; Section 8; public housing; non-profit senior and family housing; and low income tax credit apartments.

Tyler attracts a wide age range through its three colleges — Texas College, University of Texas at Tyler and Tyler Junior College — and is a senior welcoming city. With two large medical systems, healthcare is the leading employment field of the city. Cities with education and medical profiles like Tyler are nicknamed “Eds & Meds” economies.

There is interest in continued downtown revitalization, spurred by Heart of Tyler, an organization that began in 1987. It became a Main Street program in 1990. The Main Street four-point approach is organization, promotion, economic restructuring and design. Tyler’s center is Houston St. on the south, Beckham Ave. on the east, Palace St. on the west, and Bow St. on the north, according to Neighborhood Scout, a  website analysis based on real estate.  Tyler Center has the potential to grow in population. Real estate prices and rent are low, as is the average income, and vacancy is one-fourth.

Tyler offers substantial affordable housing with Neighborhood Services and East Texas Council for Independent Living (ETCIL) being major forces. This is very welcome to the poor and disabled like myself. Tyler’s health and education focus are welcome trends, too. Continuing advancement in downtown is hailed in urban studies as a city’s anchor for a variety of reasons. Tyler would benefit from assuring affordable housing downtown as revitalization unfolds.

By J.D. Meyer

J.D. has been a teacher of all ages for 20 years - including Texas College (2001-06). His specialties are Developmental English/Writing and ESOL. He wrote and copyrighted a textbook for his writing course. In his academic career, J.D. has received secondary certifications, two degrees, and written a thesis. Originally from Dallas, J.D. now lived in Tyler where volunteers much of his time while on SSDI. He is active in the Smith County Democratic Club.