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Dallas Working On New Plan For More Affordable Housing

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - George Shaw wants to put his East Dallas home on the market.

He and his wife are planning for retirement. He says he's seen his property value increase at rapid pace over the past three years. But downsizing could be costly, too.

"People who want to live in this area, working class people like us, can't afford to buy a house here anymore," Shaw said.

House affordability is at the core of Dallas' Comprehensive Housing Policy, recently passed by the Dallas City Council. But "affordable" has become a word of controversy.

"Yes, there's a shortage of housing , and a shortage of housing that's affordable to families," Maureen Milligan, Special Advisor for Dallas Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization, said during a recent interview.

According to Dallas housing analysts, there is a 20,000 unit shortage of houses and apartments, based on the increasing demand to find houses families can afford. The Dallas plan has several goals, including the incorporation of improving current rental stock, partnering with developers to offer incentives to build below market rate homes, and assist residents who live below median income levels with mortgage assistance and rent vouchers. "Affordable Housing must be not burdening your family. "You should not have to choose between paying your rent and buying groceries", Maureen Milligan, Special Advisor for Dallas' Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Department. Dallas would initiate plans to build an average of 3,700 houses and 3,000 apartment units a year for three years.

"This is a giveaway for wealthy developers, at the expense of people in need," criticized affordable housing advocate Sandy Rollins. Rollins heads Texas Tenants Union. She has argued that the city's plan builds market rate houses at twice the rate it builds houses for residents who earn less than $30,000 a year. "There are plenty of units being developed for people who can afford to pay $1,500 a month or more, but there is not housing being developed for people who can afford to pay $700 or less," Rollins stated.

The City plan bypasses home mortgage assistance for low income earners. Instead, the city proposes an incentive program to apartment operators, to get them to accept rental vouchers. Throughout Dallas, dozens of apartment operators decline to accept vouchers. The Dallas Housing Authority continues to have a waiting list for residents seeking housing assistance.

The complete Comprehensive Dallas Housing Plan can be found on the Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Department by clicking here.


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