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Dallas Unveils New Plan To Build Affordable Housing

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - To many residents, finding affordable housing in Dallas is easier said than done.

There's a housing shortage in Dallas of about 20,000 units.

The city says six of ten city residents spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, which hits the working poor hard.

On Monday, city administrators unveiled their long-awaited plan to build more affordable housing to the city council's Economic Development & Housing Committee.

Dallas resident Kathy Duncan was among those at the briefing. She says owning a home, "Is a dream of mine. I pass homes and my heart just wishes."

But Duncan doubts her dream will ever become reality. She pays $928 a month for a three bedroom apartment in Dallas' Pleasant Grove and she wants city leaders who are now considering a new housing policy to remember this: "To keep low income housing because people like me depend on it."

Under the city's three year proposal, the goal is to have more than 3,700 affordable homes created each year, which the city estimates would cost more than $538 million dollars each year in subsidized loans to homeowners and developers.

The city also wants nearly 3,000 affordable apartments built each year during the same three year period, which would cost more than $250 million dollars in subsidies.
But it wouldn't be all city money -- administrators hope private foundations will help fund the program.

Administrators say they want the homes and apartments built in strong markets such as downtown Dallas and emerging areas such as West Dallas and others.

Raquel Favela, the city's Chief of Economic Development & Neighborhood Services says, "What we are suggesting is that you build to the market quality, so that we don't have an inferior product that the city is subsidizing... Because then there's no negative impact on the tax base."

Council members really want to study the plan.

Committee chair Tennell Atkins says, "We've got to make sure it's done right. We're not going to rush it. We're going to have some more stakeholder meetings, more committee meetings to get it right."

On Monday evening, Atkins said he hopes to have a timetable later this week for council members to make any changes to the proposal and vote on it.

Under the city's plan, the lowest income earners, like Kathy Duncan, would be eligible for renting affordable apartments, but not owning a home.

Duncan says, "They really need to get together with the people, low income people, not the businessmen, to find out what we need, what we can contribute. I'm not asking for no handout."

Follow Jack on Twitter & Facebook: @cbs11jack

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