Tenants fearing shifting gentrification draw attention from Dallas City Hall – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

A group of tenants and affordable housing advocates supporting them went to Dallas City Hall this week over fears of being displaced by renovations to their rental units.

Some of the residents of the 515 North Marsalis property said their homes had problems with rats and cockroaches, but their fear of moving was the biggest problem.

After hearing from the group, Mayor Eric Johnson and several city council members asked city staff to meet with tenants about their concerns.

Tenants said the rent for the Marsalis property was around $700 per month.

“After paying my rent, I don’t have a lot of money left, like for food,” tenant Lena Wright-Turner said. “I don’t make that much money to afford something like a thousand and something dollars for an apartment.”

The Marsalis complex management company is appointed as a representative in many other places in the district that have already been renovated.

Representatives of the “Fighting Homelessness” group said they spoke with people from the management company and received flyers that roughly double the rent for the Marsalis property.

Fighting Homelessness founder Lisa Marshall said managers are refusing to accept subsidized tenants or book affordable housing in renovated complexes.

“When you say they look at you and say, ‘No, we’re not going there,'” Marshall said.

Renovation and replacement of older housing is taking place in many Dallas neighborhoods. Higher rent is an outcome that some current residents cannot afford.

“Housing is being bought up, revitalized and forcing people into homelessness,” Marshall said.

Two full blocks of 8and Streets are fenced off where affordable housing will soon be replaced. Large new buildings have been built nearby.

Dallas City Council member Chad West represents these North Oak Cliff neighborhoods.

“Displacement is a real problem across the city and the tools to deal with it are limited,” West said.

A $70 million plan was unveiled last year to provide more housing for the homeless, but it’s not helping people who are on the verge of becoming homeless.

A development corporation has been set up by the city to help build new affordable housing.

“The model is that we need to build more affordable housing in the city and we need to allow production as much as possible.” West says.

But West also said he spoke with the true owner of 515 North Marsalis. West said the landlord assured him that no tenants were currently being evicted due to renovations and that it would take at least six to nine months before a renovation plan was put in place.

West said city officials were already aware of and responding to some residents’ concerns about the Marsalis property before they appeared at the city council meeting.

Officials are taking a closer look at possible code violations, fair housing compliance and other property issues.

Officials met with Fighting Homelessness leaders after the city council appearance.

“They didn’t promise anyone anything, but they said this is something that is happening and shouldn’t be happening,” Marshall said.

An NBC 5 voicemail message seeking comment from the management company was not returned Thursday.

About Ian Crawford

Check Also

Down 26%, is Prologis still a buy?

Prologis (PLD 3.57%) delivered a stellar performance in 2021. The logistics-focused real estate investment trust …