Tuesday the city council's housing committee will hear about 13 low-income housing projects being considered by city and state officials.
As usual, the dot pattern of the proposed developments looks like a case of municipal diaper rash, heavily concentrated in the city's southern regions. Six city council districts, mainly in the far north, lack any new low-income projects under consideration -- none, zip, zero, smooth as a baby's butt without the diaper rash.
The argument is always that you can't put low-income housing in the north because the property up there costs too much. Maybe. Every time I drive up that way, I sure see a lot of crappy-looking apartment complexes. If there was ever a time to put low-income housing north, it should be now, while values are depressed.
Then there's the one about putting people too far away from resources they need. Hey, the resource most poor people need is work. The retail and service businesses in the north seem to me like pretty good hunting grounds for hourly wage jobs. You're not going to tell me the jobs are in southern Dallas, are you?
Something weird happened when the city got out of the old Walker consent decree on housing. (It required the Dallas Housing Authority to put some low-income housing in white-people neighborhoods.) Dallas now funds a fairly massive effort at placing public and supportive housing out in the suburbs. And as you will see if you look at the map for the units to be considered Tuesday, we just can't put enough of that stuff in the southern part of the city. But somehow the effort seems to jump right over North Dallas.
It's the affordable housing kangaroo. There it is in South Dallas, East Dallas and Oak Cliff. Now watch. One big leap. There he goes -- by golly, he's all the way up in Plano already. Right over North Dallas. Amazing.
The good news this time is that three units are being proposed in or near downtown, one by the Hamilton-Greenan team adjacent to their Atmos Project. Kudos.
I'm thinking of doing a goody-two-shoes project like that one they do over on the editorial page of The Dallas Morning News, 100 holes in the bucket or something, where they list every run-down building and burning trashcan in southern Dallas. I'm going to list every vacant building or undeveloped property I see in the north that looks like it could be home to a nice low-income housing project.
What should I call it? How about "100 Unlocked Doors"? Nice ring to it, what?