‘Builders of Hope' Makes Affordable Homes a Reality in Dallas

Changing history with affordable homes for families

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In booming North Texas where homebuilders can make big money, non-profit homebuilders are rare, and affordable workforce housing is scarce.

Only three non-profit builders are currently operating in Dallas. They are Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities and Builders of Hope.

Builders of Hope is the calling of a West Dallas pastor who saw the need for affordable housing.

“I saw the poverty, saw the disinvestment, saw how communities weren’t getting the rightful resources,” Armstrong said.

His mom was a first-time homeowner.

Now, Builders of Hope is expanding to provide new home for more families.

The group broke ground in September for 300 new affordable homes to be completed the next few years in the South Dallas Mill City neighborhood.

The first one is ready for new owners. Ann Harrington with Builders of Hope works with new buyers.

“We have over 300 people on a waiting list, and people calling every day to get added on,” Harrington said.

Granite countertops and modern lighting in the homes make them look like the work of upscale for-profit builders.

The Mill City houses will be priced around $200,000 which is very reasonable in the current Dallas real estate market.

A for-profit builder might charge much more but the savings go into the buyer’s pocket and not the builder.

“The appraised value will be $25,000 to $30,000 more. And that’s equity. That’s real wealth for the homeowner that will one day call this place home,” Armstrong said. “We create economic mobility for families. A family will walk into this house on day one with instant equity that hopefully they can pass on to their children. And that’s what we call generational wealth. And we know that generational wealth is dismal for people of color.”

Buyers of limited income quality for Builders of Hope homes but must have the income to pay a mortgage.

“Homeownership is one of the keys ways we build wealth,” City of Dallas Housing Director David Noguera said.

The city provides lots for non-profit homes on very favorable terms.

“Because of the subsidies that the city has provided to this home, the homebuilder can offer it for sale at a lower price,” Noguera said.

The Housing director said the city hopes to help more non-profits do what James Armstrong is doing.

“He’s setting the example,” Noguria said.

Builders of Hope is going a step further, sponsoring community events like a MLK holiday clean up in the South Dallas Mill City neighborhood.

“You have to show up. It’s not enough for us to build affordable housing and then leave. You have to deal with the root causes of the neighborhood,” Armstrong said.

Sophia Goines lives with her children in a West Dallas home built by Builders of Hope.

It is the first home anyone in her family has actually owned.

“It’s still surreal. yea, it’s a lot different to actually own a nice home,” Goines said.

“Because it’s not the landlord’s house, she does extra things that boost the neighborhood, like having her address painted on the curb.

Growth underway in West Dallas by for-profit builders is rapidly changing that part of the city.

Though it will increase her taxes, Sophia Goines who came from South Dallas will also benefit as her West Dallas home value rises.

“It’s very exciting because I get to see where it came from and where it’s going and I hope I’ll be here in the midst of it, so I get to see it all to be able to tell the story,” Goines said.

It is a story of history-changing, one affordable home at a time.

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