What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Teresa Wiltz explains how Dallas is working to reverse housing segregation by focusing on funding for affordable housing and subsidies in a variety of neighborhoods.
• Is this the most effective way to reduce housing segregation? How can funders support communities efforts to better integrate?
• Learn why some social engineering programs fail to work.
Stand in one of Joppa’s streets and you can see the downtown skyline six miles to the north, a paean to Dallas’s go-go economy. But Joppa is a neighborhood calcified in time, Exhibit A of the city’s history of entrenched racial segregation and its neglect of majority black and Latino neighborhoods. It’s also a dumping ground for environmental pollution and a host of other woes: Whenever the wind blows, Armstrong says, the dust from the nearby asphalt factory hovers, coating solar panels, clogging lungs.
For years, Dallas has poured millions of federal dollars into affordable housing, to little effect. But in May, the City Council unanimously passed a new comprehensive housing policy, a first for the city. The goal is to build 20,000 new homes — but only in select, pre-approved neighborhoods deemed ripe for revitalization.
The new policy is one of the few in the country that aggressively attacks segregation, according to Miguel Solis, president of the Latino Center for Leadership Development in Dallas, who helped craft it. Officials aim to do that in three ways: by creating and maintaining affordable housing throughout the city rather than in a few pockets; by increasing fair housing choices through a rental voucher sublease program (which gives incentives to landlords and developers to rent to voucher holders); and by tackling patterns of segregation through incentives and requirements for housing developers.
But skeptics say the new strategy will do little to help black residents in the city's most beleaguered communities in South Dallas — like Joppa — because it concentrates development money elsewhere.
Read the full article about reversing housing segregation by Teresa Wiltz at Governing Magazine.