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Response to Dallas Observer Story


Response concerning “Trust Fund, Born of Dallas Segregation, Fights for Deseg -- in the ‘Burbs,” Dallas Observer, May 20, 2016 by Jim Schutze, at http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/trust-fund-born-ofdallas-segregation-fights-for-deseg-in-the-burbs-8317712

As board chair and president of the Inclusive Communities Project, we appreciate The Dallas Observer’s column by Jim Schutze recognizing ICP's success in helping to provide lowincome housing in Frisco, McKinney, Sunnyvale and other suburban communities. In fact, over the past decade, ICP has helped thousands of poor minority families find good housing in middleclass neighborhoods in Dallas and its suburbs using vouchers and tax credit housing.

There is a significant error in the article. The Observer article said ICP used money from the Walker Trust Fund that was “originally escrowed to improve public housing in Dallas.” That is incorrect.

The initial Walker case was filed against the Dallas Housing Authority, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the suburbs. The City of Dallas joined the list of defendants after U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer found city officials obstructed the original settlement and played a central role in forcing thousands of poor black families to live in taxpayer-supported slums in ghetto neighborhoods.

In 1990 the city agreed to a $118 million consent decree, which included creation of the Walker Housing Fund, the purpose of which is to create and obtain affordable housing in nonminority concentrated areas within the Dallas metropolitan area. The Walker Housing Fund was established precisely because the Dallas Housing Authority would not operate outside its jurisdiction to develop affordable housing.

The use of the Housing Fund for the operation of a mobility program throughout the Dallas area was approved by the Court in 2001. (See Order for Revisions to the Housing Fund, April 26, 2001.) DHA refused to implement the mobility program. This resulted in the transfer of the Walker Housing Fund so that it would be used for the court ordered purposes.

The Dallas Observer article criticized ICP for not concentrating on low income housing in the Dallas Central Business District. The comment ignores the concerns of ICP’s clients. Had we focused on the Central Business District, we would have been pushing for housing that landed our clients right back to the schools they are trying to escape. With the bulk of our clients being families with children, this would not have been opening housing access that gives them the opportunities for which they are searching.

Craig Flournoy, Board Chair, The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.
Demetria McCain, President, The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.