The refusal of private apartment complexes to rent to families using housing choice vouchers has reinforced residential segregation in the Dallas area, to the extent that 26 entire suburban cities are essentially out of reach for poor, mostly black, families, according to a new survey.
The survey was directed by the Inclusive Communities Project, a Dallas nonprofit involved in recent years in a couple high-profile lawsuits accusing the state of permitting unfair and racist housing rules. (The organization lost one, struck down by a federal judge last year, while the more recent suit singles out a Texas law that allows landlords of multifamily complexes to reject tenants relying on vouchers.) Of the nearly 2,000 properties contacted in Dallas, Denton, Collin, and Rockwall counties, only 12 percent said they would rent to residents using vouchers. The numbers are starker when the demographics of each zip code are taken into account. Per the Inclusive Communities Project:
Only four percent (4%) of the complexes in majority white non-Hispanic zip codes accepted HCVs, while forty-six percent (46%) in majority Black zip codes accept HCVs. Although redesigned subsidy formulas have made more units attainable than in the past for HVC participants, participants still have a hard time accessing available rental units for their families. HCV program participants are predominantly Black in the Dallas region. While the subsidy program is designed to allow HVC holders to choose reasonably priced housing from the local market, this region-wide refusal to rent to HCV holders in majority white zip codes not only perpetuates residential segregation but places entire cities off limits to this group of apartment seekers.
Complexes in 26 cities refused completely to rent to families using vouchers. Those cities—percentage of black residents in each one’s total population listed to the right—are:
Carrollton, McKinney, Irving, Plano, and Richardson, among others, didn’t fare much better, with 90 percent or more of the properties surveyed refusing to accept vouchers. Dallas doesn’t come off too hot itself, with the complexes that accept vouchers concentrated overwhelmingly in the southern half of the city and county.
None of this is exactly shocking news in light of Dallas’ long, ugly history with the subject, but it’s further evidence that if we want to address segregation in Dallas and North Texas, we should start by encouraging mixed-income neighborhoods and fair housing policies.
You can read the full survey and see more charts here.