With all of the new development happening across West Dallas, there are some community stakeholders fighting to keep affordable housing a priority.
It is a fight. It is a fight that has its fair share of challenges between West Dallas and Austin.
There is a lot of momentum in West Dallas, right now. Luxury apartments are going up. A flood of new homes is attracting new neighbors.
“West Dallas is really booming right now,” said James Armstrong, a local pastor and community development advocate.
“A lot of great things are happening. But also a lot of not so great things are happening.”
New development is bringing some deep concerns for longtime neighbors. There are issues involving gentrification.
Armstrong explained, ”With the recent development happening, you have displacement taking place, and people are being forced out of their homes where they’ve been 30, 40, even 50 years.”08
Those concerns have been echoed by State Representative Eric Johnson. He has been listening to community members, and drafted House Bill 2480, a measure that would tackle gentrification and affordable housing.
Neighbors in West Dallas who have heard about HB 2480 say they support the Bill as a tool that would give cities options for families trying to make ends meet near reinvestment zones.
Neighbor Teresa Esparza said, ”There is the concern, the prices will go higher on the taxes and all. That’s something we are trying to keep in our budget.”07
Supporters of HB 2480 say the tool would tackle a few things, including require cities to do housing studies in reinvestment zones, require a certain amount of affordable housing, and address some property tax measures.
Johnson was prepared to defend the Bill during a local and consent agenda on the House floor on Tuesday. However, HB 2480 was pulled from the calendar due to the signatures of five lawmakers. Those signatures were from Rep. Matt Rinaldi, Rep. Jonathan Strickland, Rep. Tony Tinderholt, Rep. Valoree Swanson, and Rep. Matt Shaheen.
“We’ll remember those who stood against West Dallas and also those who did nothing to help when the wolf was at the door,” Rep. Johnson said in a Tweet.
Representative Johnson’s fight to push HB 2480 is not over. The Bill will be up for reconsideration on Friday.
“I’ll leave it up to you to guess who’s behind these members trying to kill this bill,” Johnson said in a social media post.