Dallas Housing Coalition seeks $200 million for affordable housing

Dallas plans a $ 1 billion public improvement bond referendum in 2024.

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A new coalition of Dallas leaders wants $200 million of a planned $1 billion 2024 public improvement bond referendum devoted to affordable housing.

The Dallas Housing Coalition says the money would help ease what it says is an affordable housing crisis in Dallas where home prices and rent are increasingly unaffordable for working families.

D’Andrala Alexander is a mental health worker. Her husband is a teacher.  They are proud of the far Northeast Dallas home they share. D’Andrala was able to buy it 9 years ago when she was single with a down payment and closing cost assistance.

“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. “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.”

In West Dallas, big new homes boost taxes for owners of smaller old homes that used to be affordable.

“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 all over Dallas.

Tenants on fixed income have been left with nowhere to go as older Oak Cliff apartments are purchased for upscale renovation.

New apartment construction with units set aside for fixed income are built with tax breaks and other public support but they are nowhere near the need.

The non-profit Child Poverty Action Lab estimates 33,660 affordable units are needed in Dallas.

“We're at a really pivotal moment in time right now,” said Ashley Brundage with the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

Her organization is part of the coalition that is lobbying for the $200 million in bond money.

Ashley Brundage with the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas talks with NBC 5’s Ken Kalthoff about her organization being part of the coalition that is lobbying for the $200 million in 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.

It would also support the racial equity and housing policies already approved by the Dallas City Council.

“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.

It could include more money for the programs that helped D’Andrala Alexander become a homeowner.

“Bond money and our brains and policy to make changes,” she said.

Public meetings for input and city council decisions are planned in the months ahead with other Dallas needs competing for a share of that bond money.

A Dallas City Council committee talked about $150 million for affordable housing earlier this year as part of a 4-year plan for affordable housing.  The coalition request is even larger.

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