City News Roundup

Dallas housing woes and apartment boom top this round of city news

Dallas housing woes and apartment boom top this round of city news

Storage Choice
Apartment dwellers need a place to stash their extra belongings. Courtesy of Storage Choice

Dallas dealt with serious issues last week, relating mostly to homelessness and poverty, with lots of people trying to figure things out. But hey, isn't that storage building pretty? Here are the highlights.

Tent City
The situation at Tent City, the homeless camp under I-45 south of I-30, is reaching crisis level, steadily attracting more residents and more crime. In August, there were 70 residents; now there are 400. The Dallas City Council reviewed alternatives on April 6 at a meeting packed with spectators.

The Bridge homeless center in downtown Dallas said that, for a lot more money, it could open 50 more beds. But the Bridge's expenses are significantly higher than other shelters, costing $24,400 per bed.

"We need this money to go to Public Safety," tweeted the Dallas Police Association.

Dallas set a tentative date of May 4 to clear Tent City, but new living arrangements haven't been made, while more tent cities are cropping up in other parts of the city. Wayne Walker, a pastor who works with the homeless, recounts the history with a request for groups to not bring food and clothing to the site, because it makes staying there seem more comfortable.

Keeping tabs on the situation are Twitter accounts such as Tent City 911 and Clean Up Downtown. The Bridge is hosting a community forum on April 13 at Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park.

Low-cost housing
Some of the homeless from Tent City will be moved into The Cottages at Hickory Crossing, a new complex consisting of tiny houses, furnished, with a front porch. More of those could be built, ideally in other neighborhoods. Some have asked why Dallas can't require that all new apartments being built include low-cost units, but the not-in-my-backyard syndrome prevails.

Carolyn crackdown
Following a campaign by city council member Carolyn Arnold, a half-dozen people living in substandard houses on Clarendon Street in south Dallas are likely to get evicted. The houses are in bad shape but are owned by two landlords who are down on their luck and weren't getting paid steady rent. The tenants seem mostly grateful to have a place to live; Arnold hasn't come up with any provisions for them.

Extra stuff
While homeless live in tents and poor people get evicted from their lousy little houses, the storage industry is going gangbusters. A six-story storage building is being built next to the Deep Ellum dog park, and another is going up in the Design District. With more than 5,000 new apartments being built in central Dallas, people need places to stash their extra stuff.

But worry not, these storage buildings are classy: The Deep Ellum one will have brick, concrete, and glass, and the Design District building will match the apartments it sits next to. It will be made of stone, concrete, metal, and glass, a "top-class building," says a spokesman for the storage company.