Monday, February 23, 2009


I suppose all living things possess the instinct to "nest." Everyone wants a home--a place that provides rest, safety and renewal, a place for young to arrive and thrive.

A family of Mockingbirds built this nest in a tree just outside our front door. Throughout the year I've watched and listened as the birds would come and go from the home they built for themselves and their young.


Powerful idea.

Nothing shapes a child more than the environment in and around a house. And, I am coming to understand that the physical environment plays an extremely important role in the development of children and communities.

Here are some sobbering facts of life about housing in the city of Dallas.

9,386 families (1.71%) in our city are classified as "extremely low income"--meaning they earn below 30% of the Median Family Income (MFI) of the area or less than $19,500.

72,406 families (13.19%) in Dallas are classified as "very low income"--meaning their earn between 30 and 50% MFI or between $19,500 and $32,500.

164,946 families (30.05%) in the city are classified as "low income"--meaning they earn between 50 and 80% MFI or between $32,500 and $52,000.

Of course, income levels tell only a small part of the story. Another key consideration involves the concentration of poverty in dense pockets across the inner city. Ironically, in many of the neighborhoods where poverty is the most dense, there are opportunities for more people to return, to live and to help renew such areas. People would enjoy higher quality lives for themselves and their children if we learned how to create mixed income neighborhoods all across the city.

One thing is certain: we must face the challenges of inner city housing together if we are going to make progress as a community.


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