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KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

One Crisis Away, No Place To Go: What Experts Say Could Dent The Affordable Housing Crisis

Allison V. Smith
KERA news special contributor

In Dallas, the numbers on affordable housing are shocking. There are only 19 affordable homes for every 100 low-income families who need them. That’s playing out in West Dallas—as KERA's been exploring in the series One Crisis Away: No Place To Go.

Fancy new apartment buildings are popping up, but for long-term residents about to lose their homes, there’s nothing they can afford to rent. 

More than 100 families are holding out in West Dallas-- still living in old rental houses due to be shut down in two and half weeks. They’ve known that day was coming for seven months. Two hundred of their neighbors have already moved.

No Place To Go

The people who remain say they’re out of options.

“Both sides should have come out and started talking to the people, you know? Beforehand," says resident Joe Garcia. 

Community leader Ronnie Mestas has his own thoughts on the future of the neighborhood.

“Because you can’t have all low income and you can’t have all up here, it’s got to be a mixture of all of that," he says.

Garcia lives in a home owned by HMK Ltd. The city tightened housing standards last fall and 305 HMK homes were deemed not up to code. Tenants were allowed to stay through the end of the school year. HMK’s owner says he can’t afford to fix the 1940s houses.

Not Just A Crunch In North Texas

And the points he and Mestas just made-- that people in gentrifying neighborhoods should be heard and that neighborhoods should be a mix of housing; those are the same points housing experts across the country have been making for the better part of a decade.

“The housing crisis has certainly increased I’d say since the home ownership crisis of 2007, 2008. So after that of course we had millions of people who were previously homeowners who lost their homes and either entered of re-entered the rental market," says Diane Yentel with the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Learn more about potential solutions to the affordable housing crisis here.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.