Dallas housing committee recommends selling former downtown shelter building

The former Family Gateway building is one of five city-owned properties that the Housing and Homelessness Solutions Committee is reviewing

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A Dallas committee recommends selling a downtown property once used as a homeless shelter.

The Housing and Homelessness Solutions Committee voted to recommend to the City Council selling the property at 711 S. Saint Paul Street.

The city of Dallas purchased the property in 2020 with the intention of allowing a shelter provider to operate there. Family Gateway vacated the shelter in late 2023 as part of a planned transition to a new home in far North Dallas.

Since then, the property has suffered multiple incidents of vandalism and break-ins, requiring the city to retain a cleaning firm to remediate the biohazard waste throughout the building.

On Monday, District 2 Councilmember Jesse Moreno recommended selling the property as quickly as possible.

“This has been a problematic building and the discussions have already been had around selling this,” Moreno said. “I think this will send a clear message to staff that it is a priority and we need to offload it as quickly as possible.”

The property on Saint Paul Street is one of five the city currently owns that were intended to provide permanent supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness.

Some committee members recommended that the city begin considering selling some of the remaining properties, especially in cases where there is limited community support.

“We have to admit, as a city, we are terrible at developing property,” City Councilmember Cara Mendelsohn said. “We have way too much property and not enough resources to deal with some of our challenges.”

One of the properties discussed Monday is the former hospital site on 2929 South Hampton Road in Oak Cliff.  The plan to convert it into permanent supportive housing met neighbor opposition even before the council voted to purchase it for $6.5 million in 2022.

Councilmember Zarin Gracey said that over the last two years, sentiment against the project has only grown in District 3, which covers parts of Oak Cliff.

Gracey advanced the idea Monday of selling the former hospital site to get another city-owned property for homeless housing at 4150 Independence Drive up and running.

“If we sell this property, yes, we will take a loss,” Gracey said. “But we will get more units in permanent supportive housing and address an immediate need in an area that needs it, clearly.”

The housing committee did not recommend the former hospital site to the full council. The City Council is expected to discuss the future of the city-owned sites when it convenes on Wednesday in its final meeting until August.

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