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Southern Dallas Home Ownership: Changing Mindsets and Learning to Dream

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By Diane Ragsdale, Gerald Carlton, Ted Lawe, and Norman Henry (Dallas Home Connection Partners)

Kirk Franklin speaking at Central Dallas Ministries about the under-served community in our city, said, “THEY CAN’T AFFORD TO DREAM.” Meaning, many people in our low income population have lost hope of a fuller life experience for themselves and their children beyond day to day survival. The Dallas Home Connection’s mission is to change these long held beliefs and plant seeds of possibility for this under-served population.

The Dallas Home Connection (DHC) is a group of four nonprofit home builders who have partnered with Capital One Bank, Urban League of Greater Dallas and Enterprise Community Partners to create a strategic, collaborative alliance to identify qualified home buyers in Southern Dallas communities, including Oak Cliff. They have been working as a grassroots effort, and now need to reach more Dallas centers of influence in the business, health, education, and church communities.

The DHC’s approach is one that empowers people to help themselves. They educate their clients as to the value of home ownership, and then work with them to establish the commitment necessary to walk the path to making that a reality. It often means building or repairing credit, establishing work history, learning to live on a budget and walking through the loan process.

They provide the tools that transform lives through mentoring and ongoing support – long after their clients move into a home. For the DHC, it’s not just about building affordable houses. It’s about building up the psyche of Southern Dallas residents and providing a container where dreams are achievable. They know it takes time to help their clientele gain a foothold in a landscape in which they are very unfamiliar – sound financial planning and home ownership. They provide the tools to not only get a home and keep one, but to also become part of a neighborhood alliance for better communities.

In order for the Dallas Home Connection to have a greater impact, they need the support of the City of Dallas and the business community. The work of transformation in these neighborhoods requires a cohesive effort from all sectors of the city. Maybe then, just maybe, the mental bridge between North and South will meet in a place that is based on respect, understanding, and equality of opportunity.

The development of new homes is a major contributor to economic development. Based upon HUD formulae, the impact of affordable housing development is considerable.For every 1,500 single family units:

  • 3,672 full-time jobs in construction and construction-related industries are created.
  • $119.1 million in wages are earned.
  • $63.75 million in combined federal, state, and local tax revenues and fees are created.

The presence of affordable housing in Dallas is critical to the long-term economic health of the city. Building an additional 30,000 affordable homes within Dallas would generate an additional $12 – 16M per year in property taxes alone (Report on Affordable Housing in Dallas). Concentrated investment in neighborhoods can have a contagious effect that accelerates neighborhood revitalization.

If you employ, teach or serve residents of Southern Dallas, let them know about the Dallas Home Connection. There is a Home Buyer fair Saturday, June 4, from 11am – 2pm, at The Martin Luther King, Jr Center, Building E, 2922 MLK, Jr. Blvd. Invite the partners of the Dallas Home Connection in to talk to people who are afraid to dream. And watch them grow dreams into reality.

  • Mike Hubbard

    If none of the dollars referenced in this article funnel directly back into the immediate communities that these homes will be built in then this project won’t amount to a hill of beans. Most successful planned developments are built around good schools and we all know the current state of DISD. Until we start focusing on fixing DISD and bringing some real business development to urban Dallas that will produce jobs (not construction) affordable housing is a waste of time. How many of the workers and contractors that will be building these homes actually live in these neighborhoods? Where do you think that 100 plus million dollars in wages you referenced will be spent? Not in the areas these homes will be built because there are no businesses there. Unless you count chicken shacks and liquor stores. This is a noble idea, but as a lifelong resident of Dallas, I have yet to see a project like this have any significant impact on the community.

  • Chico

    Previous responder said it all!!!

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