Competing south Dallas home builders join forces for affordable housing

New homes in the Jeffries Meyers neighborhood near Downtown Dallas.

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A pair of competing south Dallas homebuilders have teamed up to make a bigger impact together.

Their first project is about more than just neighborhood transformation. It’s also about making home buyers wealthy.

“I think it’s a true testament of how we can work together as people to help our community,” said homebuilder Scottie Smith II.

He and Kevin Hemphill have buyers waiting for the affordable duplexes they’re building in the Jeffries Meyers neighborhood near downtown Dallas.

“We’re not building cheap shabby stuff. We’re building high-quality product,” Hemphill said.

After years of working separately on new homes on vacant south Dallas lots, they formed the nonprofit Dallas Housing Foundation.  It acquired 17 Jeffries Meyers lots.

“When we first came out here several years ago, we had homeless people all over,” Hemphill said.

Groundwater contamination and drug dealers were other challenges solved to get construction started.  The city of Dallas sold the lots at a reduced cost and invested over $1 million in the redevelopment project.

Now, instead of south Dallas residents who often rent homes from far away landlords, the new homeowners, who must have limited income, will end up with immediate equity in the duplexes they buy.

The builders say units they sell from the high $200,000’s may have value in the $400,000’s.

Smith said providing keys to new homeowners is a very good feeling.

“We’re walking in our purpose by doing this type of work. And this stuff isn’t easy,” he said.

Hemphill said it is a community-building project to give new homeowners a stake in their community that can extend to future generations as well.

“We’re going to transform wealth into the hands of the families that come into this neighborhood,” he said.

The two builders, one younger, and one older, say that they are learning from each other in the partnership.

The city of Dallas is also working with other builders to finish new homes on all the lots in the Jeffries Meyers neighborhood.

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