New Door-to-Door Approach Aims at Addressing Code Concerns in Dallas

High grass, illegal dumping, vacant buildings have become a nuisance some Dallas communities.

The city's new code compliance director, Carl Simpson is excited about a recent initiative to clean up Dallas.

Priscilla Chambliss describes what she's doing as a neighborhood code representative is more than a job. It's personal. She has roots in South Dallas, and memories of summers at grandma's house.

"She's been here, over here, 60 years born and raised," said Chambliss.

So, for her, going door to door in District 4 is like visiting old friends.

She's becoming a familiar face in the first phase of the Community Clean program – a new initiative from the Department of Code Compliance.

The goal is to educate and assist neighborhoods with code compliance concerns. And they're starting in Southern Dallas.

"We do want to focus on our southern sector as well as our northern sector that's why this team was spearheaded," said Chambliss.

The department's new director, Carl Simpson, said he's optimistic about the door-to-door approach.

"The new initiative is an attempt to try to re-engage some of our communities that may feel like they've kind of been left behind or forgotten," said Simpson.

Simpson, a newcomer to Dallas, is learning about the unique needs and concerns on Dallas' South Side.

"There's a lot of our communities that are plagued still with illegal dumping and overgrown vegetation and those similar type of code violations that have been going on for years," he said.

While the initiative is underway, admittedly, manpower is down.

"We don't have enough code officers to stand on every corner," said Simpson.

Some 54 positions are vacant. Simpson is working to fill them, but even then, training could take up to 60 days. He said the plan is to go to four-day work weeks and 10-hour shifts, as well as extend visibility to weekends.

They're looking for more people like Priscilla to walk, engage and educate people.

Simpson said it's about establishing trust and showing people that they've received the message about what's going on, and they're answering the call.

Sam Brown lives in District 4 and said he welcomes the presence of code enforcement.

"It's good you know to see that they make sure the neighborhood stays up."

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