Dallas plans expansion of homeless relocation program



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Posted on June 3, 2010 at 12:15 AM

Cliff Manor Apartments

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DALLAS — The Dallas Housing Authority shocked neighbors last month when it quietly announced plans to move homeless people into some of its apartments at Cliff Manor on Fort Worth Avenue.

News 8 has now learned the agency is planning to do the same thing across the city.

The DHA owns more than 25 other apartment complexes in southern Dallas, East Dallas and even Uptown.

Cliff Manor is a permanent supportive housing facility owned by the City of Dallas. Soon, if the DHA has its way, it will be home to a large concentration of disabled and formerly homeless people.

For the first time, the city is working with the downtown homeless shelter to fill vacancies.

"The mayor supports permanent supportive housing all over Dallas, not just in Oak Cliff," said DHA president and CEO MaryAnn Russ. "We're to do this in all neighborhoods."

That means Cliff Manor is just the start, a test run for the rest of Dallas.

Neighbors like Chris Bradshaw say they'll fight it. "Our property values will go down; we've done so much to weed out some of the riff-raff, crime has gone down," he said.

Across the street from Cliff Manor, developers have leveled a crime-ridden area, now ready for new development. Bradshaw worries the city's plan could bring trouble back to the area.

"We have zero tolerance for violence," Russ said.

"I don't buy it," Bradshaw said.

As for property values, the city says they shouldn't drop. "Development goes on around it," Russ said. "If we do our job right, it is pretty much invisible to the neighborhood."

But Brandon Perry, who lives near the Roseland Townhomes, another city supportive housing unit, says he wouldn't go that far.

"There have been a lot of reports apparently of people being robbed at night, things like that, mainly in the past year, more so than the year before that," he said.

Perry agrees that people deserve a second chance, but he wonders if the city's plan is the best way to that.

"There's a lot of people who have a lot of problems that giving them a house isn't going to fix the problems in their life," he said. "It may even create more of an area for them to kind of localize the problems that they're having."

Two meetings on Thursday, June 3 will address the Cliff Manor development:

Dallas Housing Authority Board of Commissioners
Central office conference room
3939 North Hampton Road
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Thursday

Neighborhood association
Kessler Community Church
2100 Leander Drive
7 p.m. Thursday

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com