New Dallas Housing Policy Wins Unanimous Approval Despite Citizen Complaints

New Dallas Housing Policy Wins Unanimous ApprovalThe first ever Dallas housing policy won unanimous approval from the City Council Wednesday after more than a year of meetings and debate. The goal of the policy is to entice private developers to help build within the next few years the 20,000 new units of affordable housing that Dallas desperately needs. But some critics still left the Council meeting unhappy. (Published 29 minutes ago)

The first ever Dallas housing policy won unanimous approval from the City Council Wednesday after more than a year of meetings and debate. The goal of the policy is to entice private developers to help build within the next few years the 20,000 new units of affordable housing that Dallas desperately needs.

But some critics still left the Council meeting unhappy.

“You have a significant affordable housing crisis in this city and this policy did not address such,” said former Dallas City Council Member Diane Ragsdale.

She is unhappy that the Fair Park area where her non-profit group has been building new homes will be excluded from the next round of incentives in the new targeted approach to city spending.

Don’t try this…anywhere! Eric Henderson of New Jersey unleashed a nightmare pollen storm when he tapped a tree branch with his excavator just to see what would happen.

(Published Tuesday, May 8, 2018)

“You prioritize in those communities that you have neglected historically. And so, they chose not to do that,” Ragsdale said.

Instead of enticing new construction in the most disadvantaged areas, the new policy used a market value analysis to determine opportunity areas where city spending might be more likely to attract additional private investment in the near future.

The policy removes some of the politics from decisions about where city investments should be made. Supporters insist the new rules were necessary to get better results.

“We’re growing. We’ve got to have a strong policy. We’ve got to have a policy in place. We’ve got to have a foundation,” said Councilman Tennell Atkins. He received a bottle of pain reliever from Councilman Dwaine Caraway at the meeting as a reward for leading the committee that pushed the new policy to unanimous City Council support.

“We will continue to look after the entire City of Dallas and our respective districts with housing,” Caraway said. “No one will be left out.”

City officials said the new policy also includes housing repair programs which will be available in all neighborhoods, along with a home buying assistance plan for police, firefighters and teachers that will encourage having them live in the neighborhoods they serve.

”I’m thrilled and excited that today we’re going to pass this policy. I know we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. But it’s a start,” said Council Member Jennifer Gates.

Another group of critics speaking before Wednesday’s vote were tenants of affordable apartments. They complained the policy does not reserve enough of the new units for very low income families.

“I wanted City Council to know, it’s a whole, city wide thing,” said tenant Sharon Young. “I am a box away from living on the street and that’s not fair to anyone.”

Young said rent at her Northeast Dallas apartment went from $695 to $935 in just the past year.

“We see new housing going up around town with unaffordable rents for a whole lot of folks,” said Texas Tenant Union Executive Director Sandy Rollins. “We’re not seeing unsubsidized housing being built for the 4, 5, 6 hundred dollar a month range, which is a huge need in this town.”

After hearing from the speakers and debating last minute adjustments, the Dallas City Council vote to approve the housing policy was 15 to 0.

“I’m proud of how we’re working together. That’s what the citizens of Dallas want. Congratulations for that,” Mayor Mike Rawlings said.

City Council members said the policy will be reviewed after a year to consider changes.

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