OKC — Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said Monday that he’s “not ready to say” when the city will close down its rental housing program.
Cornett said he was “very much” in favor of the city shutting down its program, but said that the city’s housing situation is such that it can’t continue to provide rental housing to the general public.
“It’s just not financially feasible, given the current situation, to continue to operate,” Cornett told reporters.
The mayor said he plans to speak with city officials about the city�s decision to close its rental program at a news conference Wednesday.
As part of a sweeping budget agreement last year, Oklahoma City has cut spending to a whopping $3.8 billion over the next four years.
Mayor Mick Cornetts budget, March 29, 2018 — OKC, which has been facing a housing crisis for more than a decade, wants to close down the citywide program.
The city needs to get rid of its rental market by April 20, 2018, he said, so that residents can find a new home.
But, in an interview with ESPN.com’s Nick Friedell, Cornett didn’t rule out the possibility that Oklahoma City could come back with its own program, or possibly expand it to a wider area.
I’ve said for a long time I�m not going to tell you how it will work, Friedell said.
�I�m just saying, it would have to be very well-planned.
What I am going to do is look at the long-term, because I know the city has been struggling and there are a lot of people who have lived in the city.
They�re hurting financially and it�s just not a sustainable situation.
It would be wise for the city to consider expanding it to the suburbs and maybe even to a different city, Friedel said.
�I�ll be very interested to see what they do.
I�ve never been in this position before, but I�ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Oklahoma City�s public housing program, which opened in 1999, has been plagued by homelessness and a housing shortage.
The program�s enrollment has been falling steadily since the mid-1990s.
At the end of May, the number of residents in Oklahoma City public housing declined to 5,600, from 8,000 in 2006, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Oklahoma City�droughts have made it difficult to keep the program open.
Last year, about half of Oklahoma City residents were living in housing vouchers, which can be purchased for as little as $300.