Friday, November 17, 2006


Not everyone likes what we do or plan to do.

On Tuesday, the day after our closing, The Dallas Business Journal posted a report on the progress we've made on our CityWalk @ Akard project.

Before the day was over, John Greenan (Executive Director of the Central Dallas Community Development Corporation) received this email message:

Dear Sir:

Although I applaud your interest in meeting the needs of Dallas County's poor, I read with horror the news article in the Dallas Business Journal today regarding the purchase of a downtown building to house low income and homeless persons.

Now that we're finally seeing some improvement downtown, including luxury condo development, you want to offer downtown housing to bums, crazies and drug addicts.


I noticed that 9 units will be priced at market value. Who in their right mind would rent an apartment in a tower of homeless people?

You've got to be kidding!

For that matter, how long do you think even moderately poor people will stay in your building?

I guarantee you that the building will be trashed and the project declared a failure within 12 months of opening.

Are you even going to rehabilitate the outside of the building? If so, at least some good will come of this Quixotian nightmare.

Please consider finding another outlet for your altruism before you stop the progress downtown.


As is often the case with critics, this gentleman gets the facts all wrong. CityWalk @ Akard will not be a "tower of homeless people." Fifty units of the 209 will be leased by formerly homeless persons. This ratio is well below some of the best national models. To be clear, we wanted the ratio to be closer to 50%, but the Mayor and City Council had other ideas.

I respect this fellow's right to express his point of view.

But, as I know you would expect, I couldn't disagree more.

It is clear he personally knows no one who is poor or homeless. If he did, his worldview would be much kinder and better informed.


Anonymous said...

The letter is not entirely without merit. We leased out a house several times a few years ago and everytime it was leased to a low income person it was trashed and we spent thousands of dollars to bring it up to par to lease again. Once we had to hire a truck to haul trash away.

Daniel Gray said...

I look forward to the 13th month when he's proven wrong... :)

Another case of "Not In My Backyard" Do it, but not in downtown Dallas -- ship 'em off somewhere else like they don't matter...

Unknown said...

I think what is not being appreciated here, by the gentleman and many others, is the vision of economic integration. This type of integration will introduce resources and a sense of community that is not present in standard low-income housing situations. (I do realize that I'm preaching to the choir here.) For me, this is the beauty and power of the CityWalk @ Akard project.

The gentleman is logical in suggesting that no one would willingly move there if they possess resources to do otherwise. What he is not that some people will see it as an opportunity for mission and service. There is where the power of Christ can be expressed for all to see.

May God bless this work.

owldog said...


we also leased our home (while we lived in Illinois for 2 years) to a wealthy family thinking we would not need to worry about it and it was trashed. Every group of people has some good and some bad but Jesus says love everybody.....

Larry I hope you respond to the person and give the same advise you have given before, the history of theft and violence downtown was not committed by "homeless people"

I agree with Daniel I can't wait until the 13th month and prove them wrong.

RC said...


When I read this I thought about Nehemiah. I know I don't have to tell you to fight. By the way, my surgery went perfectly. I think about how blessed I am to have an insurance card. I now have hopefully years of life without pain in my neck and I can just go back to being a pain in the neck. You have helped make me become aware of so much. I am again amazed at the way you handle people who disagree with you. You stick to the facts and never lash out. One reason why I think that is so important is that people can change the way they think, but they will never change if they are just belittled. Thanks for all the prayers. Everyone deserves the medical treatment I just received.

Justin said...

renting lends itself (no pun intended) to people destroying property. They don't own it and they don't have to clean it when they leave, so if your deposit isn't high enough, they have no incentive to keep it nice.

"Not in my backyard" wow, that seems to go across political lines. Whether its Ted Kennedy not wanting wind turbines put in the ocean near his home, or celebrities who tell me to get rid of my suv, but who ride on private jets which waste more gas than I will in my life.

Hypocricy. Love it.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of hypocricy, have you heard about John Edwards, who is always bashing Wal-Mart? He sent a volunteer to Wal-Mart to buy a Playstation 3 for his son.

Heather said...

As much as the letter, and other NIMBY critics, lights my fire, really, all they do is inspire me to keep educating and advocating. Sometimes it does fall on deaf ears, but just thinking about the potential power of if what I have to say might actually change someone's view....

But then...I'm known as the one City employee who invites her critics to join citizen commissions, empowering them to do more than

Justin said...

just wanted to make sure it was clear that I was saying that all renters are more likely to destroy property than owners, whether you're struggling to pay 350 a month for a studio or you're in a penthouse in downtown nashville paying 3000 a month.

Jeff said...

Here's an Interesting Book.

A synopsis:

"The book’s basic findings are that conservatives who practice religion, live in traditional nuclear families and reject the notion that the government should engage in income redistribution are the most generous Americans, by any measure.

Conversely, secular liberals who believe fervently in government entitlement programs give far less to charity. They want everyone’s tax dollars to support charitable causes and are reluctant to write checks to those causes, even when governments don’t provide them with enough money.

Such an attitude, he writes, not only shortchanges the nonprofits but also diminishes the positive fallout of giving, including personal health, wealth and happiness for the donor and overall economic growth.

All of this, he said, he backs up with statistical analysis."

Larry James said...

RC, great news! We will keep you in our prayers. I agree about the benefit of that insurance card! And, yes, we will keep fighting!

Anonymous said...

A similar program in Seattle has actually brought some of their communities together in respect for the homeless and unfortuante. The old cliche of "One bad apple spoils the hole basket full." may be proper for this situation.
Come on I've seen those who have money destroy and abuse rental properties throughout the nation.
Keep your head up CityWalk for the Akard project may just prove many wrong.

Turning It Over

Eric Livingston said...

First of all, I think this guy's terminology is funny. They're not homeless people if they live in the building.

Secondly, let's just give this guy the benefit of the doubt and for argument's sake say this project fails. I'm wondering how many altruistic successes the writer of the letter has had. I think it's better to act and fail than to not act at all.

The success of the project is almost secondary to CDM's willingness to take risk and try to help the poor.

Press on, Larry!

By the way, I just received CDM's annual statement. While I appreciate that you need and want to send that information out to people, I would just assume you save the postage and printing cost on me. If I was a part of the Dallas community I might feel differently. But as an outsider to your local community, you might as well save that bit of cash.