Monday, October 2, 2023 Oct 2, 2023
80° F Dallas, TX

A New Generation of Slums?

By Jeff Posey |

“Can you imagine putting people who are at the lowest rung of our social ladder way out where even the nearest 7-Eleven is more than a mile away?” asks city councilman Charles Tandy. He’s talking about the one-hundred-unit Country Creek public housing project in southwest Oak Cliff, set for completion by January 1989. Tandy and Bob McElearney, president of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce, say something is fishy about the whole deal.

The Oak Cliff Chamber thought it had convinced the Dallas Housing Authority and HUD to accept its proposal to disperse the hundred families into vacant houses and apartments all over Dallas, many of them owned by HUD. Landlords were ready to cooperate. But without warning in June, HUD approved a proposal from Intervest, a development company, to build the new project. But Intervest “has basically failed at all [it’s] done to date,” says McElearney. Intervest’s proposal calls for $49,000 to be spent per unit. Ben Phillips, a loan officer with Lomas & Net-tleton, says that the going rate to build commercial apartment buildings is between $30,000 and $35,000 per unit.

Rory O’Malley, director of planning for the DHA, says that the project has been carefully studied and is one of the best solutions to some of the public housing problems in Dallas. But McElearney says the DHA is going against its own policy of dispersing low-income housing throughout the whole city. “It’s much more convenient for the management of the DHA to put them all in one spot,” says McElearney. “And, let’s face it, there is less pressure for them to put this south of the [Trinity] river than north of it.” Meanwhile, the Oak Cliff Chamber intends to take the DHA and HUD to court over deed restrictions at Country Creek. “It could be a state court battling a federal court,” says McElearney. “And (hat could be an interesting jurisdictional battle.”