TDHCA Dallas County Housing and Services Partnership Team sent the following letter to the Dallas City Council as the team's comments regarding the Dallas Affordable Housing Plan. How is your City Council addressing the housing needs of adults with disabilities?
We are excited about the unprecedented opportunity presented by the new Dallas Affordable Housing Plan. The energy, expertise and diversity of recommendations to date show promise for Dallas and Dallas County in creating more affordable housing in our community. As a group of advocates and housing providers, we are working in partnership TDHCA as the Dallas County Housing and Services Partnership Team to increase the availability of integrated, affordable and accessible housing for vulnerable residents of Dallas County. We urge the City of Dallas to consider the following recommendations to make sure that affordable housing to all residents of our community:
1. Prioritize housing for Extremely Low-Income.
2. Increase access to support services and accessibility.
Prioritize housing for Extremely Low-Income.
Mixed-income housing is an important strategy for improving neighborhoods and housing stock where communities have seen a concentration of poverty. Recommendations have suggested that mixed-income housing include market rate and affordable housing for those that are up to 140% of AMI, or about $98,000 for a family of four. While there is a gap in this type of rental housing, any new mixed-income strategies must include targets for extremely low income families, or those at or below 30% of AMI.
Nearly 20% of residents of the City of Dallas are living in poverty. This means for over 250,000 in Dallas, rent in excess of $600/month is unaffordable. For single individuals living on a fixed income, such as those with a disability, affordable rent may be as low as $200/month. Any comprehensive strategy for permanent affordable housing should prioritize operating and capital subsidies to developments with units targeted to extremely low-income individuals. Some populations that meet these criteria may include:
· The population of adults (over 18) with an cognitive disability (IDD) in the City of Dallas is 313,207 and there are 47,617 adults who have an independent living difficulty;
· The 3,141 homeless households in the Dallas area, including 922 families and 586 with a disability;
· The 12% of seniors in Dallas County are living below the poverty level.
RECOMMENDATION: We recommend that at least 25% of new funding for affordable housing be designated to housing for capital and operating subsidies for extremely low-income housing units. The City of Dallas must provide additional incentives and prioritization to properties which include 15% of units targeted to those with an income below 30% AMI.
Increase access to support services and accessibility.
The City of Dallas, through its Neighborhood Plus initiative, recognizes the importance of appropriate social services as a cornerstone to healthy, thriving communities. Efforts to improve the stock and availability of affordable housing must also include units that are enriched with services and/or include supportive housing for special populations, including additional accessible or adaptable units in excess of the minimum requirements set forth in ADA. These supports should include tenancy supports and stabilization through case management, specialized employment services, access to primary and behavioral healthcare, substance use services, child care, transportation, social and recreational activities and others to ensure that our most vulnerable residents are integrated into communities where they can live and thrive. Many people, who are extremely low-income, such as those cited above, will benefit from housing connected to support services. This type of housing will fill a much needed gap of housing options for vulnerable people ensuring long term stability for the residents and good neighbors for the community.
Supportive services should not be provided by a developer/property manager rather by community based and private organizations whose mission is to support vulnerable individuals. These services should be connected through cooperative agreements or memoranda of understanding to protect the property owners, service providers and tenants. The services budget should be distinct and separate from the development budget, but created during the development process.
RECOMMENDATION: The City of Dallas should allocate and require additional funding for supportive services connected to a qualified service provider in new developments that target a portion of their units to extremely low-income households. If Dallas creates a new Housing Trust Fund, the dollars should be paired with other public dollars, such as CDBG, ESG or HHSP, to support services.
We believe that the new City of Dallas Affordable Housing Plan is an important step in creating the foundation for more integrated, affordable, accessible housing throughout the City. It is critical that the plan include units and services that specifically target our most vulnerable residents to guarantee long term decent, safe and affordable housing for individuals most in need.
James A. McClinton, Leader, TDHCA Dallas County Housing and Services Partnership Team (Metrocare Services)
TDHCA Dallas County Housing and Services Partnership Team Members
Brooke Etie, Dallas Housing Authority
RobinLeoGrande, Community for Permanent Supported Housing
Shenna Oriabure, Dallas County Department of Criminal Justice
Sherman Roberts, Citywide CDC
David J. DeSalvo, Bridges From School to Work Program
Lynda Ender, The Senior Source
Courtney Parish, Legacy Founders Cottage
Charles Gulley, Community Development Consultant
Libi Varghese, Superior Health Plan
 According to the American Community Survey 2014
 According to US Department of Housing and Urban Development 2015
 According to the US Census 2010