Dallas, Texas – In the midst of the burgeoning urban landscape of Dallas, a cry for affordable housing has resounded, igniting a collective endeavor to address the escalating crisis. A newly-formed coalition of influential Dallas leaders has proposed the allocation of $200 million from a planned $1 billion public improvement bond referendum slated for 2024, specifically targeting the acute demand for affordable living spaces.
Dallas Housing Coalition is trying to combat the affordable housing in Dallas
This concerted effort is spearheaded by the Dallas Housing Coalition, which contends that the allocated sum would significantly mitigate the housing dilemma that has engulfed the city. As home prices and rent in Dallas continue to soar, increasingly marginalizing working families, the coalition’s initiative represents a tangible solution to a crisis that threatens the social fabric of the community.
Meanwhile, a recent report has shown that condo sales in Dallas and Fort Worth are up compared to last year showing that Dallas residents are increasingly interested in less expensive housing due to skyrocketing prices.
A testament to the severity of this crisis can be found in the personal narrative of D’Andrala Alexander, a mental health worker, and her husband, a teacher. The couple’s sense of pride in their far Northeast Dallas home, which D’Andrala managed to purchase nine years ago through assistance with a down payment and closing costs, is intermingled with a recognition of their rare fortune.
“For many people in my age range, the American dream is no longer. And I feel very fortunate to have part of the American dream,” she said, as reported by NBC DFW. “It makes me feel real safe about where I’m going to live. It’s allowed me to focus on other things like being active in the community.”
Expansion of new homes has inflated taxes causing problems to affordable housing owners
In West Dallas, the erection of expansive new homes has inflated taxes, disproportionately burdening owners of smaller, previously affordable residences. This troubling dynamic underscores the broader implications of the housing situation on the quality of life for many residents.
“It also affects the quality of life they have. Do I buy groceries or do I pay taxes?” said Raul Reyes, President of the neighborhood group West Dallas One. “The work that we’re trying to do here in the community is, how do we preserve it.”
Evidence of the housing challenge is indeed omnipresent throughout Dallas. Tenants on fixed incomes find themselves stranded as older Oak Cliff apartments fall prey to upscale renovation. Despite the construction of new apartments with units earmarked for fixed income, supported by tax breaks and other public backing, the supply falls woefully short of the actual need.
The City of Dallas is in dire need of at least 34,000 affordable housing units, report shows
The non-profit Child Poverty Action Lab has estimated a staggering shortfall of 33,660 affordable units in Dallas. The city now finds itself at a critical juncture, where decisive action must be taken to avert a social catastrophe, and the coalition’s proposal represents an essential step in that direction.
“We’re at a really pivotal moment in time right now,” said Ashley Brundage with the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.
The Dallas Housing Coalition is seeking the allocation of $200 million from the planned bond referendum to fight affordable housing in Dallas
The coalition seeking the allocation of $200 million from the planned bond referendum, in a determined quest to alleviate Dallas’s affordable housing crisis, comprises various organizations, united by a common cause. Among them is the organization represented by Raul Reyes, who has articulated a vision for the deployment of the bond money.
“And a portion of that would be dedicated to neighborhood preservation, whether it’s programming or strategies, to help legacy neighbors stay in communities like West Dallas,” Reyes said.
In addition to buttressing the neighborhoods, the proposed allocation would further galvanize racial equity and housing policies that have already received the Dallas City Council’s endorsement. The practical realization of these objectives, however, hinges on the critical component of financial backing.
“But in order for any of those things to be implemented successfully we have to have the money behind them. We have to be able to invest in the strategies they have identified that will result in affordable housing and increased workforce coming into the City of Dallas,” Brundage said.
The proposed financial commitment could even bolster existing programs that have proven successful, such as those that enabled D’Andrala Alexander to ascend to homeownership.
“Bond money and our brains and policy to make changes,” she said.
As the coalition forges ahead, public meetings for garnering input and city council decisions loom on the horizon. The forthcoming months promise a complex interplay of various Dallas needs, all vying for a portion of the bond money, thereby highlighting the inherent tension in allocating limited resources for multifaceted civic needs.
Earlier this year, a Dallas City Council committee engaged in deliberations over earmarking $150 million for affordable housing, constituting part of a strategic 4-year plan. Remarkably, the coalition’s request surpasses this amount, illustrating the scale and urgency of the demand for affordable housing solutions.