Dallas Housing Authority Considers Sale of Housing Projects

Dallas Housing Authority claims critics spread misinformation

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The Dallas Housing Authority this week considered the possible sale of two public housing projects with hundreds of occupied units, according to documents obtained by affordable housing advocates.

A DHA document obtained by the Texas Tenants Union shows Little Mexico Village, on Harry Hines Boulevard with 102 occupied units, and Cedar Springs Place, on Lucas Drive with 182 occupied units, were on a list of planned demolition/disposition proposals to be sold at fair market value via public bid.

The board voted against moving forward with the plan, but advocates believe DHA may return to the plan in the future.

“The residents who are going to be most directly impacted by this knew nothing about it,” said Texas Tenant Union Executive Director Sandy Rollins.

A DHA notice of public hearing about the Monday meeting said only that public comment would be taken on “Draft Amendment #1 to DHA’s 2020 PHA Plan.”

Rollins said details about the draft amendment were difficult to locate on the DHA website.

“It’s almost like this was the nuclear codes they were keeping under wraps,” Rollins said.

Her agency obtained a spread sheet copy of the details.

The Texas Tenants Union then posted fliers about the meeting for residents at Little Mexico Village and Cedar Springs Place last weekend, stating that “DHA wants HUD approval to sell Little Mexico Village and Cedar Springs Place.”

The flier said the Texas Tenants Union is a nonprofit organization concerned about the lack of affordable housing.

A photo posted on the Inclusive Communities Project Twitter page showed the crowd of residents that attended the meeting and spoke against the sale of the public housing projects which was voted down at the meeting.

Little Mexico Village, in particular, could be valuable to developers. It is surrounded by booming Uptown Dallas and the Katy Trail, close to American Airlines Center.

“It’s in a very nice neighborhood, surrounded by job opportunities, very close to downtown and that’s exactly where low income housing should be located,” Rollins said.

Wednesday evening, DHA spokesperson Jacqueline Chen replied to NBC 5’s morning telephone message with an email that said sale of Little Mexico was still under review. The email claimed the Texas Tenants Union information was inaccurate. The entire DHA email is included below.

Unfortunately, the notice from the TX Tenants Union stating that DHA is selling Little Mexico Village was inaccurate. No decision has been made to sell Little Mexico Village and there is no impact to our families residing there at this time.

DHA is committed to providing quality affordable housing for the families we serve, and that’s why we have determined that Little Mexico Village, built in 1940 and last updated in 1995, needs to be updated to meet the needs of our residents.

In order for us to do that, we want to explore all of our options, which includes possible redevelopment, possible sale + redevelopment through a public-private partnership, or possible public sale with use of proceeds to develop new affordable housing. Even though we have not yet determined a path forward, we’re required to notify HUD if we are planning to redevelop or sell any public housing property we own. All of these options require HUD approval, which is why the board reviewed the amendment on Monday night.

As we announced last year, DHA is looking to redevelop eight of our properties that need updating. DHA is seeking to redevelop the properties to their highest and best use, including both market and subsidized rental housing.

Of the eight properties identified for redevelopment, Brooks Manor is the only redevelopment project currently underway.  This property is a vacant lot, zoned for senior housing. Brooks Manor is being redeveloped to provide both affordable and market rate housing for seniors and a health clinic is being built on-site to provide our residents and the surrounding community with access to healthcare services. This is a public-private partnership with Volunteers of America.

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