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Proposed housing policy with a $400 million price tag focuses 'racial equity lens' on Dallas

City officials hope the proposed Dallas housing policy will better align with the city's new race and equity framework.

A proposed Dallas housing policy will cost $400 million to meet a growing demand for resources. That’s a rough estimate given to city council members by housing officials during Wednesday’s meeting.

This comes after criticism against the city’s housing department in 2021 over inequitable access to housing resources. The new Dallas Housing Policy 2033 policy will align with the city’s racial equity focus, aim to include more community input and increase transparency, according to city officials.

But drafting a completely new policy that meets the city’s new equity guidelines comes at a high price.

David Noguera is the director of housing and neighborhood revitalization. He says the current city budget won’t be enough to meet the needs of the proposed policy.

After expected private sector funding Noguera says the city will still need to come up with around $400 million to fund implementation. He notes this is just “a glimpse” of what it would cost to address the proposed housing policy.

Noguera cited offhand two reports used to come up with the rough estimate. He says they show a 100,000-unit housing gap in the Dallas Fort-Worth area which he figures 20% is made up of Dallas. Other specific findings from the reports were not mentioned in the briefing.

“And what we have to do as a city is identify what our goal is – what portion of that regional need do we want to address,” Noguera said at Wednesday’s meeting.

The proposed policy also gives the city manager’s office increased authority to adjust housing program terms and approve projects under 100 units.

Council Member Cara Mendelsohn represents District 12. She says expanding the city manager’s control could undermine city governance when it comes to engagement with communities and public documents.

“This isn’t just about council authority,” Mendelsohn said, “It’s a lack of transparency and frankly it’s a lack of our job in oversight.”

City council members will be briefed in committee meetings and full council meetings in the weeks to come before voting on the housing policy. The policy also aims to designated a taskforce made up of community members, city officials and key stakeholders.

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Omar Narvaez says the city shouldn’t put cost before constituents.

“This is going to cost a lot of money,” Narvaez said, “But we shouldn’t shy away from it. And we may not be able to do it all in the first five minutes.”

“You got to be thinking long term goals.”

Got a tip? Email Nathan Collins at You can follow Nathan on Twitter @nathannotforyou.

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Nathan Collins is the Dallas Accountability Reporter for KERA. Collins joined the station after receiving his master’s degree in Investigative Journalism from Arizona State University. Prior to becoming a journalist, he was a professional musician.