The North vs. South Fight over Affordable Housing in Texas

[This is the travesty of the “politicization” of affordable housing in Texas – read the following stories in the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Observer. Very sad.]

Dallas Morning News — 

Editorial: State housing board fixes a problem it created

Members of the state board that approves government subsidies for low-income housing projects did a disservice to Dallas by hastily favoring tax credits in October for a less-deserving apartment project near Love Field over a more worthy one in South Dallas. The board, facing a barrage of criticism for its initial decision, corrected the mistake Tuesday by reversing itself and revoking the credits.

The action restarts the application process, enabling the South Dallas project and others to apply for federal money later this year.

As a general principle, this newspaper supports efforts to disperse low-income housing across the city rather than concentrate it in already low-income areas. But all projects — regardless of location — must meet certain standards to qualify for subsidy, and it seems clear in this case that the Champions of Copperridge project near Love Field fell short.

When the board of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs voted last fall to grant multimillion-dollar tax-credit subsidies to Copperridge it effectively removed a more worthy project in South Dallas from eligibility. That project, proposed by the nonprofit Frazier Revitalization Inc., is Hatcher Square.

Read more at Editorial: State housing board fixes a problem it created | Dallas Morning News Editorials.

Dallas Observer — 

The Morning News slimed the developer who exposed City Hall corruption and threw its support behind a rival.

Two real estate outfits in Dallas, Odyssey Residential and Frazier Revitalization, are fighting for the same $20 million-plus pot of federal money. Take a look at what The Dallas Morning News said in a January 17 editorial about one of the people involved in the project — the one they do not want to win.

“A principal figure behind Odyssey is Bill Fisher, who wore a wire to help convict former City Council member Don Hill in a high-profile corruption case. The federal government has a $1 million tax lien against him, which in itself should have served as a red flag during the state review.”

Look, for what Fisher did for this city, he deserves the municipal equivalent of thePurple Heart.

In the federal investigation leading up to the 2009 trial of former councilman Hill, now in prison, Fisher put himself in physical harm’s way to help the FBI root out an extortion ring deeply rooted inside Dallas City Hall.

The Morning News is mad at Fisher now because the project he is associated with appeared early on to be beating out the other one, which is the brainchild of J. McDonald Williams, a former director of the Morning News.

There is one big difference between Fisher’s deal and the one the News likes. Fisher’s project obeys the law and promotes desegregation by putting low-income, housing in a medium-income area, near the medical center.

Read more at The Dallas Observer

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About Bob Voelker

Head of the Munsch Hardt (Dallas law firm) Hospitality & Mixed Use Development Group, and former developer of affordable housing. I'm i
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