Asks Larry James, How Can People Help People If There's No Money?

Central Dallas Ministries' Larry James

It’s one thing to consider closing the zoo one day a week, but proposed cuts to the city’s budget could have an even greater impact on Dallas’ poor and elderly. According to Larry James, president and CEO for Central Dallas Ministries, the city plans to cut a program called People Helping People. Over the last 20 months, James says, the program has restored and improved almost 700 homes. James is also lobbying the city council to increase funding to the Housing Department. From James’ blog Urban Daily:

“Our Housing Department receives less than 1/10th of 1 percent of the annual city budget of over $2.6 billion. Earlier this year, the Mayor’s Work Group on Affordable Housing recommended to the City Council’s Housing Committee an increase in the Housing Department’s allocation from the General Fund to at least ½ of 1 percent of the overall funding plan or approximately $13 million for FY08-09.

The city must invest more of its General Fund dollars in affordable housing if we are to reach our goals as a community.

Case Study: Seattle, Washington, budgets well over $40 million annually for its housing efforts. Dallas, approximately twice the size of Seattle, budgets approximately $22 million annually, with all but $2.5 million of that amount coming from the Federal Government (assuming funding for People Helping People this budget cycle).”

The council reconvenes in August, and the budget is expected to be approved by the end of September. --Jesse Hyde