Monday, January 23, 2006

Developing Affordable Housing

One of the reasons there is such a shortage of fit and affordable housing for low-income Americans today is because this type of housing is so difficult to develop.

No one is lining up to help make it easier either!

In addition to being hard/complicated to produce in almost every respect, affordable housing developers must be content with much smaller profit margins, if there is any margin at all!

As a result, lots of affordable housing is being developed today by non-profit developers like the Central Dallas Community Development Corporation (CDCDC). Take a moment to visit our website to learn more:

John Greenan serves as the Executive Director of our CDCDC.

John is on my "top 10 list" for the smartest, hardest working people I have ever known.

He is beyond patient.

With any luck at all we will break ground in February on a 237-unit housing development in inner city East Dallas that will include over 45,000 square feet of new retail development. John has been providing leadership on this project for over 5 years! Only non-profit developers could survive such a long time! Once completed some time in 2007, it will be a neighborhood transforming project.

Today at noon John and I appear before the Dallas City Council's "Quality of Life" committee.

We will have about 15 minutes to explain our vision for another project.

Our plans call for the development of about 200 units of housing for some of our very lowest income neighbors, as well as some moderately low-income folks as well.

We currently control a 15-story building in downtown Dallas (photo above--check out more details at the following site: where we hope to develop this special studio and 1-bedroom housing. We plan to offer 110 studio apartments to men and women who likely will spend tonight on the street or in a shelter. The remainder of the units will cater to persons of modest income and to those who simply want to live in a great place downtown.

We also plan to move several of our administrative and program division offices into the same building. So, in essence, we will be living with the folks day-by-day.

Our meeting with this special subset of the council is to gain their backing for our tax credit application, as well as political support for our efforts.

We anticipate a bit of opposition to our plans from some of the other property owners downtown.

I feel that we will be able to turn our opponents into allies once they understand that our project will make life better for everyone, especially those interested in seeing dynamic street life return to our downtown streets.

Obviously, we have much work to do before we complete this one! We will need many serious partners.

John seems unphased!

It is a real joy and a downright hoot to get to work with him!

Like most days around here, today should be a real trip.

At times I can't believe I get paid to do this job!

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.


Steve said...

Have you heard of the Congress for the New Urbanism? They believe the "suburbanization" of our nation has harmed our culture deeper than we know are doing many of the things in the urban centers that you are talking about.

Also, my wife and I (who will move to an urban center in June) are reading through Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith. You would devour it, if you haven't already read it.

Larry James said...

Steve, thanks for the post.

Yes, we are very familiar with New Urbanism, as well as the Congress for New Urbanism.

I will take a look at the book you reference.


Jeremy Gregg said...


You might also enjoy Sprawl Kills:

Recently covered at CDM's December 1, 2005 Urban Engagement Book Club.

Jeremy Gregg said...

Excerpt from article:

Homeless population surges in Dallas County

A new count indicates that Dallas County's homeless population has increased dramatically to a record

The same database, which uses information supplied by social service agencies, found 5,410 homeless residents at this time last year.

Full article is available here, under LOCAL NEWS near bottom of page:

Indeed, we have much to do.