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

Affordable Housing Can't Be Done 'On The Cheap,' Says Gerald Britt Of CitySquare


The Texas Association of Realtors reports home values in North Texas are up nearly 9 percent over this time last year. Though the economy is booming, Rev. Gerald Britt of CitySquare says that growth is leaving out folks who are barely making ends meet. 

Interview Highlights: Gerald Britt…

…On the ability for minimum wage workers to afford rent:

"Minimum wage or less, it’s almost impossible. The average rent in Dallas is over $1,000, so you can’t afford that on minimum wage. The challenge that we have is to create more affordable housing options for low-income people and to make it possible to at least have a roof over their head."

…On what’s considered affordable housing:

Credit Krystina Martinez/KERA News
Krystina Martinez/KERA News
Gerald Britt is the Vice President for External Affairs at CitySquare.

“It’s generally defined as at least if not less than one-third of a person’s monthly income. People in poverty spend up to 72 percent of their income on housing, while those of us who are middle income spend about 12 percent and I think those classified as rich spend about 7 percent. That’s the discrepancy that we have. You’re spending an enormous amount of money on housing, the less money you make.” 

…On the city of Dallas' efforts to tackle affordable housing:

“On the surface, GrowSouth, NeighborUp, Neighborhood Plus have all done an excellent job of analyzing the problem. The challenge is making it real, and Dallas has to realize you can’t do this on the cheap. It’s expensive to live in poverty, and the city has to realize that.”

…On whether governments or developers need to take responsibility for creating affordable housing:

“I think it starts with just about all of us. A comprehensive solution has to take the engagement of every system that heretofore, quite frankly, [has] taken advantage of the poor. We all have a part to play, and I hope everyone understands we all have to have some sort of skin in the game in order to end this scourge.’” 

Gerald Britt will be part of a Dallas Architecture Forum panel discussion called “Economics and Architecture” on May 10 at 6:30 p.m. It will be at the Dallas Center for Architecture.

Other panelists will include Dallas City council member Scott Griggs, UT-Arlington Associate Professor Maria Martinez-Cosio and UT-Arlington Assistant Professor of Planning Shima Hamidi. 

Former KERA staffer Jeff Whittington was executive producer for special projects and Think, as well as host of Anything You Ever Wanted to Know. He also created and launched the KXT Live Sessions series for KXT 91.7.