City Staff Won't Recommend Low Income Housing Tax Credits If Project Doesn't Fit Mayor Rawlings's Plan to Grow Southern Dallas

Family Gateway and First Presby's Everygreen Residences, one of the low-income housing projects the city will support
Earlier this month the city council's Housing Committee was told during this briefing the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs doesn't have much coin to spare this year when it comes to doling out its Low Income Housing Tax Credits -- just $7.6 million total for a region spanning Dallas, Denton, Collin, Tarrant and Grayson counties, down from the already-not-much $9.1 million dispensed last year. (Says the TDHCA, there's only $44 mil in credits go around ... the entire state.) Which is bad news for the nine projects that have come to City Hall asking for their share of the shrinking pie. Far as City Hall's concerned, the region may see four, five projects get some of those HTCs; Dallas, one or two "at the most."

Which ones? Hard to say: City staff hasn't yet ranked the projects. But it has rated them based on a 25-point checklist approved by council four years ago, which includes such questions as, "Does the project fit in the City's priorities?" and "Has the City already provided financial assistance?" and "Does the project eliminate slum or blight?"

And so, tomorrow the Housing Committee will review staff's recommendations, which include a thumbs-up for Jack Matthews's 1400 Belleview on Browder, which last year received a TIF allotment of $1.65 million; Larry Hamilton and John Greenan's Cadillac Apartment on Cadiz and S. Ervay in the shadow of City Hall; First Presbyterian's Evergreen Residences at nearby 1701 Canton; and Frazier Revitalization's Hatcher Square at Scyene and Hatcher, which is being spearheaded by Jon Edmonds.

The other five -- Buckner Retirement Village, Haven Cove, Lawnview Cottages, The Vistas at Wonderview and Kleberg Commons -- didn't receive sign-offs from city staff for myriad reasons, chief among them: "Do not recommend support as project is not part of the Southern Dallas Economic Growth Plan and City funding is limited." City officials say this afternoon that, sure, we've only known about "GrowSouth" for a week or so. But discussions about Mayor Mike Rawlings's plan have been taking place internally for a good, long while. As you can see here.

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Wylie H.
Wylie H.

So, if you had "the hook up," your project got drawn into Grow South.  Otherwise, all that precious money spent on predevelopment work by the other, non-connected proposers just went up in smoke.



'discussions about Mayor Mike's plan have been taking place internally for a good, long while...' ? Really? How about this spin instead: Housing department staff just stretched GrowSouth to include Cedars, Downtown and any other place their pals' have projects? Projects where Housing has already funneled a bunch of unwatched money?

Another listed criteria for anoiting these winners is the City has already dumped money into them. So nice for the early arrived well-connected. The more undeserved early money the City handed out, the more deserving the project is on Council vote day. Sweet.

If Housing is now going to start scoring and ranking projects, how on earth have they been picking them up until now? RFPs? 'Losing' projects advised why they scored poorly? Oh wait, there is no scoring. No guidelines, no goals, no bid packets, bid conferences. That sounds like a HUD whistleblower suit. Oh yeah, someone filed one of those.

Have Greenan and Hamilton done a Dallas project in the past decade or so that wasn't mostly funded by tax dollars? City bond, municipal bond, LIHTC, HUD 108? Their projects are at least 50% taxpayer funded? 70%? 100% taxpayer funded? Does a single private dollar ever touch a Greenan/Hamilton deal?Is Greenan still CEO of Central Dallas CDC? Does he have both forprofit and nonprofit housing projects?

Jon Edmonds resigned from Frazier Revitalization last November. From DMN coverage of Hatcher Square J Don Williams and former City Manager Richard Knight speak for that project. Now that TDHCA is banned from doing 'forward' credits (where deals could get LIHTC no matter how low they scored), can Hatcher Square move up enough? HS was ranked 48th? Housing already dumped over one million$ there and plenty of area foundations (maybe relying too much on the reputation and political clout of the FRI board members and not the project proforma?) dumped at least that much in this completely unviable project. This is another one that always needed excessive taxpayer funding. 

Less than one mile away a family is investing their own money into a more modest and more likely to succeed project. The city needs to stop rewarding the least viable projects. Seek out businesses who will bring their own money. And cut their losses.

Oak Cliff Clavin
Oak Cliff Clavin

Isn't the City/County/Whoever having trouble funding the PSH units they already have?

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Good luck at The Morning News sir!  We appreciate your talent, all those years. 


Yes. But like other mysteries it does not seem to be of much concern. Mysteries like: why does it cost so much money per unit for PSH? Hickory costs over $5.5M$ for 50 units and does not include money to operate year-to-year.

No matter how many units are added, the homeless count does not decrease. How much money is being saved in Dallas at Parkland and the jail? Not in Portland. Dallas.

When projects are not financially viable, why is it ok to transfer ownership to the City (DHFC) and remove the property from the tax rolls? And then take the DISD taxes saved, and pay those funds to homelessincmember to run the project? And give homelessincmember right of first refusal to take ownership of a project, because they thought of it? Some cities might put projects out for competitive bid in an attempt to recoup their cash investment and lost tax revenue.

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