Expensive new homes are squeezing out affordable old ones in many Dallas neighborhoods. It’s also known as gentrification, when the character of a poor urban area is changed by wealthier people moving in, typically displacing current inhabitants in the process. So the city of Dallas is putting together an “Anti-Displacement Toolkit” to combat this.
The toolkit is to be ready by December.
Pastor James Armstrong has been tapped by city officials to help lead this toolkit effort.
“The final result will show us the neighborhoods that are most at risk of displacement,” he said.
Armstrong’s nonprofit ‘Builders of Hope’ has been working in urban neighborhoods where big new homes are quickly replacing affordable old ones.
But his new homes are much lower priced and include immediate equity for buyers who are recruited from those same neighborhoods.
“So that residents are not being forced out, but they are being included in the economic revitalization,” Armstrong said.
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Armstrong attended a Dallas City Council Housing Committee meeting Monday where the anti-displacement toolkit was discussed.
Councilmembers praised the plan.
“We’ve all known it’s been a problem for years but there hasn’t been much discussion about how to cure it, how to slow it down.” Councilman Paul Ridley said.
Carolyn King Arnold said identification of the communities and a program to combat gentrification should have been in place at least 3 years ago and maybe 10.
“This is not a brand new conversation. But we now have an opportunity to be aggressive as a council, aggressive as a staff to get those resources in those communities that need it,” Arnold said.
An early map in the developing plan shows places thought to be the most threatened with displacement.
“To me, the key and the most important thing is to make sure we preserve the existing affordable housing,” Councilman Jesse Moreno said.
Fighting displacement is a goal of the new racial equity plan approved by the Dallas City Council approved in August, to reverse past inequity.
“I’m really glad to see this. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this work progresses,” Councilman Casey Thomas said.
The briefing document presented Monday said Austin has a $300 million anti-displacement fund in place. San Antonio passed a $150 million Affordable Housing Bond fund last year.
The Anti-Displacement toolkit could help boost housing in a new Dallas bond referendum planned for 2024.
“We see this as an opportunity to provide sure solutions that will prevent Black and Brown families from being displaced in these urban communities,” Armstrong said.
Rising taxes for existing residents because of new adjacent development is another concern for the anti-displacement effort.
Corporate donors are helping to cover the cost of developing the toolkit, which is to be finished by December.