City Considers Spending $400M on Housing

Homelessness and affordable housing | Image by M-SUR, Shutterstock

The City of Dallas is considering a $400 million “affordable housing” plan to combat rising housing costs and a city-wide crisis of homelessness and vagrancy.

During the City Council’s last Housing and Homelessness Solutions Committee meeting, council members heard a presentation that identified “the need for additional funding of up to $400 million on Bond funding and other funds to support affordable housing development and preservation through an equity lens.”

As the City prepares for the upcoming 2024 Bond Program, $150 million has been proposed for housing, according to a presentation delivered by David Noguera, director of the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization.

Noguera proposed spending $400 million on housing over the next decade, funded by the proposed $150 million in the 2024 bond program, $150 million in the 2029 bond program, and $100 million in estimated “revenue” in the next ten years.

Council Member Casey Thomas noted that far fewer dollars were allocated toward housing in previous bonds but he said he supports the increased spending.

In the 2006 Bond Program, $20 million was allocated toward housing, while $23 million was allocated toward housing in the 2012 Bond Program, according to Noguera’s presentation.

Thomas said another $23 million was directed toward housing in the 2017 Bond Program. Fewer than one thousand “affordable housing” units were developed from all of these funds.

“To go from $23 million to $150 million — in some people’s eyes that’s going to be a huge jump,” Thomas said, adding that he thinks the spending is not only justified but necessary.

Thomas even said he “would go as far as” allocating $250 million toward housing in the 2029 Bond Program, but that will have to be a decision made by future council members.

“Let’s go big,” he said, asserting that there is “a lot of support” in the community for spending these dollars on affordable housing projects.

However, Council Member Jesse Moreno said he has “a little bit of hesitation on the amount.”

“I want to make sure that we are able to deliver and that we are able to utilize those dollars so that when we come back for a second bond in 2029, that we can … show our voters that we did hit all our metrics and that were able to bring in additional housing,” he said.

“I just ask that we’re cautious … we want to be successful,” Moreno said. “Let’s make sure we get those numbers right.”

Council Member Cara Mendelsohn added that she is “concerned” about the proposed $300 million in bonds.

“And $150 [million] even for this proposition — I think it’s a lot,” she said. “Not that it’s not an important thing, but so are all our other priorities.”

As City leaders consider whether to allocate such spending toward housing developments, homelessness and vagrancy continue to plague the city. “Housing first” solutions enacted by the local government, such as purchasing hotels for transitional homeless housing, have not solved the problem. The hotels have remained vacant for years after being purchased with taxpayer dollars.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit Haven for Hope in San Antonio has been successful with a “one-stop-shop” approach to helping the homeless that offers supportive services at a single location.

This approach is favored by Dallas residents, according to polling conducted by The Dallas Express, but has yet to be tried in the city, either by the municipality or a local nonprofit.

However, the leader of one up-and-coming facility called The Joshua Center claimed in a prior interview with The Dallas Express that the center would employ this strategy when it launches in roughly two years.

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  1. City Considers Spending $400M on Housing – Round Up DFW - […] Dallas ExpressMay 19, 2023Uncategorized […]

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