Dallas Business Journal: Dallas Experts Discuss Challenges Facing Affordable Housing
Affordable housing is a multifaceted issue that can affect transportation, education and local business, according to panelists at Dallas Habitat for Humanity on Thursday morning.
The event, which featured experts from the City of Dallas, the Dallas Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity and MetroTex Association of Realtors, aimed to educate community members about sustainable, affordable housing, in addition to ways organizations and the city are trying to combat a lack of affordable housing.
Councilman Omar Narvaez of District 6 said before the panel began that over the last two years there’s been a “renaissance” in some of the lower income communities where people are able to own homes.
“We just passed our first ever housing policy a year ago which is fantastic, but now we’ve got to implement it,” Narvaez said. “And if we can’t implement it, it means nothing.”
The Comprehensive Housing Policy, which was adopted by the Dallas City Council in May 2018, is meant to instill a guide to ease affordable housing. According to the policy, there is a housing shortage of about 20,000 units in Dallas.
Maureen Milligan, assistant director of the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization, said she thinks the policy will increase single-family housing. She added Dallas has $20 million to put into single family houses for the fall.
Tosha Herron-Bruff, vice president of Government Relations and Public Affairs at the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, said the city was taking initiative in addressing affordable housing. She said that Habitat for Humanity not only builds houses, but works to prepare people to own and sustain homes.
“We can build houses all day, but if our neighborhoods are failing, struggling, if there’s no transportation, there aren’t stores, if we can’t support the neighborhoods, building a house doesn’t really add much value to that community as a whole,” Herron-Bruff said.
Matthew Church, Government Affairs director for MetroTex, said in an interview that to understand how to increase affordable housing, people need to understand what that means because it’s a complicated topic.
Director of Housing Services for Dallas Housing Authority Myriam Igoufe said in policy, “affordable” is defined as no more than 30 percent of a household income, but she said that’s not an accurate measure.
Church added that it’s important to know what goes into housing costs, such as the school district.
All the panelists agreed that community affordable housing education needs to be emphasized in order to increase services, such as first-time homebuyer’s assistance.
Some program attendees expressed concern about groups working together on policy and whether people were being displaced from their homes, which Igoufe said was happening around Dallas.
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