Subsidized housing: 350 units under review

The Dallas Housing Authority planned to announce the locations for 350 more permanent supportive housing units in December, but when the proposals came in, “it turned out to be impossible to compare them — apples and Chevrolets (never mind apples and oranges),” says Dallas Housing Authority CEO MaryAnn Russ.

“We had let the entities submitting proposals respond in a way that was very unstructured and, consequently, ended up with eight inches of material that was too different to compare — some entities had no data, only flowery prose; others had nothing but data, and we were left in doubt about how they intended to achieve their goals,” Russ says. “To fix the problem, we developed a very comprehensive questionnaire that all proposers had to submit this time.”

The new proposals are under review by the DHA review committee, and Russ says the committee “will contact the affected city council members before making any public announcement.” Such action may help prevent the backlash that ensued the last time the DHA announced new permanent supportive housing units, and also complies with a proposed ordinance on a recent city council agenda:

41. Authorize modifications to the Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Program Statement to: (1) remove references to a goal to create an exact number of PSH units; (2) provide for City consideration of assistance for PSH units when existing units have been absorbed and services for existing units are stabilized; (3) encourage developers and applicants to brief key neighborhood and community groups; (4) provide for staff to notify the City Council when staff receives PSH project proposals seeking City assistance; and (5) provide maximum level of funding per PSH unit and a minimum percentage of PSH units required for multifamily projects for developers willing to provide PSH units and seeking assistance from City programs – Financing: No cost consideration to the City

According to this DMN editorial, at least two councilmen (including Oak Cliff’s Dave Neumann) planned to ask the council to defer action on this item, both for funding reasons and to discuss how to disperse subsidized housing equally throughout the city. When we asked Russ about it, she told us that she believes the Metro Dallas Housing Authority submitted the ordinance, and that the DHA and other housing providers made some fairly general suggestions.


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