While traveling south of downtown Dallas on both Interstate 35 and Interstate 45, one of the first thing most people typically notice is number of vacant and dilapidated infrastructures. Not only are these buildings eyesores, they also provide a haven for unsafe or criminal activities.
It is both inspiring and encouraging that organizations like St. Phillips School and Community Center is considering a former Southern Dallas convenience store near Interstate 45 on Pennsylvania Avenue for a pantry that will serve more than 600 families in the immediate neighborhood. The property has stood vacant since 1994. It’s now owned by the City of Dallas, which foreclosed on the building after the owner failed to pay taxes.
Instead of waiting for bids through an auction process, the city is being proactive in identify real estate opportunities to meet the needs of the community. It’s working with organizations like St. Phillips School and Community Center and In the City for Goods to create a program that could serve citizen of Dallas who lack daily food supplies.
Another great example of a creative model for using real estate to make a difference is Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship’s Project Turnaround initiative. Project Turnaround has established a food pantry, clothing thrift shop, housing and financial assistance, and preventative healthcare services that assist more than 1,000 individuals and families whose basic needs are challenged. A shopping center located at southwest quadrant of Camp Wisdom at Polk Street is now anchored by a thrift store, providing clothing for families within its community.
Oftentimes, especially within lower income communities, basic physical needs must be met before people can move beyond their present circumstances and take action that will improve their futures. Real estate can be utilized as a vehicle to make a profound difference.