Today’s edition of Unfair Park has a piece about Mike Faenza’s and Mike Rawlings’ presentation to the City Plan Commission on locating Permanent Supportive Housing. The whole article is here: http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2010/01/homeless_czar_urges_city_plan.php#more, but I’m interested in a few comments by Mike Rawlings and a reply from Bill Holston. Here are Rawlings comments:
Reaching the city's permanent supporting housing goal is "all about politics," Rawlings says, as the city council faces tough calls with constituents unwilling to allow affordable housing in their neighborhoods.
"When those neighbors say, 'I don't care what you say. I don't want 'em,' as a kid would say, they've got to say, 'Look, it's the right thing to do.'"
He doesn't expect zoning to be an issue; it's approval of the tax credits that end up being the stumbling block. "Without those, we don't have the economics to do it," Rawlings says. "That's the power the citizens have."
Another concern is the power council members have over their own districts, which was exposed in the recent City Hall corruption trial. "We've got to figure out how we can do a better job of checks and balances," he says.
This is the comment in reply from Bill Holston:
"Reaching the city's permanent supporting housing goal is "all about politics," Rawlings says, as the city council faces tough calls with constituents unwilling to allow affordable housing in their neighborhoods."
and if the affordable housing units that have been in my neighborhood weren't the biggest eyesores around, I'd be all for it. When Dallas Housing Authority is a good neighbor, I'll say, bring on more Section 8 Housing. But they aren't.
I love my Casa View Neighborhood, very diverse, hard working people. I will oppose more 'affordable housing' in my neighborhood until they convince me they will take care of those units.
The interesting thing here, for me, is that I know both Mike Rawlings and Bill Holston. They are both well-respected, hard-working men who spend a lot of time working for the betterment of the City of Dallas. If Bill Holston is opposed to affordable housing in his neighborhood, then people like Mike Rawlings and I who are working in this area have a lot of work to do before we’re welcomed in neighborhoods, because Bill Holston is a reasonable person.
It also shows just how easily one bad project can poison the entire well. Affordable housing projects have to be more than cheap. They have to be well-designed, well-maintained, beautiful projects. That isn’t a waste of money. That’s a necessity if we are going to be able to build more affordable housing.
[Maybe tomorrow I’ll get around to completing my piece on why we can’t get along anymore.]