The Key to Success
How Builders of Hope is Changing West Dallas
Update for 2017:
Economic Transformation is vital for a community under siege. Our economic model for transformation is Builders of Hope Community Development Corporation. This organization serves West Dallas which has a population of 22,000, made up of 28% African-American and 70% Hispanic. The medium price of homes in this area when we began our project in 2004 was $47,167 compared to $160,000 city-wide. Most of the housing stock in the area was built in the 1940's.
In 2004 lots could be bought for $1500. After our work in transformation, vacant lots today are priced between $40,000 and $60,000. Housing has boomed with homes doubling or tripling their value.
Accomplishments by 2017 include:
- Transformed most Violent Zip Code to Safest
- Reclaimed Vacant, Abandoned Properties for Home Ownership
- Launched an Affordable Housing Boom
- Lowest Foreclosure Rate in South Dallas
- Increased Home Ownership Rate
- Created Faith Based Weed & Seed that United the Community
- Biggest Decline in Poverty by Zip Code in Southern Sector
- Improved Educational Choices: Charter and Private Schools.
- Built Middle Income Homes
- Private Sector Building and Selling Homes at a profit
- Model of Partnership Collaboration led by Faith Community
- Renewed Hearts w/Community Coordinators & Missionary Families
- Built new homes on In-Filled lots by providing gap construction subsidies to fill the financing gap between the costs of development and the appraised value and to ensure the developer can make a reasonable profit. This helped enable the private sector to participate in the rebuilding of homes in distressed communities. West Dallas has now over 8 new private builders developing affordable homes in the community.
- Providing grants to land developers to leverage bank loans to increase the number of affordable lots of builders to develop affordable homes.
- Providing low cost loans and equity to buy and rehab vacant and/or foreclosed homes for affordable housing. The young people in the community helped rebuild these homes and learned trades in the process.
- Dedicating HUD REO inventory to affordable housing only, and not selling them in bulk to Wall Street investors. Previously we were able to acquire HUD homes at discount, hire young men on probation to repair the homes, and keep homes affordable in the community. The profits from sale of homes enable us to hire more young men from the community.
- Partnered with private foundations and banks to provide equity and tax credits for rent to own programs. Locally, one private foundation provided PRI loan at 0% for three years, and the city of Dallas provided 30% equity to create affordable rental single family houses for families that needed time to qualify for mortgages.
- Funding to purchase/rehab small apartments for housing and services to families going through transition and for the homeless.
- Equity Grants for for-profit builders to develop mixed income communities with only a 20% set aside for affordable housing.
- Provide tax incentives for private individuals and companies to invest in urban America. One local group of investors provides loans at 0% to build affordable homes that involved HUD funds as the equity. They were paid back at the sale of homes. This is where we need tax incentives like the Low Income Tax Credit program to expand this model and engage more sources of funding.
- Down payment assistance for middle class families to move back to the inner-city to serve as role models. Builders of Hope CDC was able to raise private funds to provide this assistance to families in West Dallas. This has been the most effective strategy of all our programs.
Strategies Using Private Funding for Community Transformation based on West Dallas Transformation Model
1. Reclaim vacant, abandoned properties for positive uses by:
- Remove blighted crime ridden properties (HOT Spots)
- Increase code enforcements on slum landlords
- Utilize young men in community for upkeep of abandoned lots
- Build affordable housing
- Transform blighted commercial buildings for good uses: retail, health care, and community centers
- Remove hard core criminals and slum landlords
2. Re-nit the Community
- Created a Fiscal Agent for the West Dallas Weed and Seed (Under White House Faith Based Office Justice Department) to bring together law enforcement, residents, and nonprofits to work together
- Funded neighborhood based groups and law enforcement to accomplish task and outcomes to reduce crime.
- Built Collaboratives: Education West Dallas, West Dallas Weed & Seed, Christian Faith-Based Initiative Serve West Dallas, Financial Empowerment and Home Ownership – Dallas Home Connection
3. Renew Hearts and Hope
- Project Reach- Outreach to young men on probation
- Plant Care Coordinators role models to serve as support for local leaders by providing affordable housing and down payment assistance.
- Support Neighborhood leaders with special projects and help them build a facility.
- Helping and Serving local pastors in their faciliity needs
- Plant Missionary Families throughout the blighted neighborhoods.
History of West Dallas Economic Transformation
Economic Transformation is vital for a community under siege. Our economic model for transformation is Builders of Hope Community Development Corporation. This organization serves West Dallas which has a population of 22,000, made up of 28% African-American and 70% Hispanic. The medium price of homes in this area is $47,167 compared to $160,000 city-wide. Most of the housing stock in the area was built in the 1940's.
Currently clients of Builders of Hope earn between 40-80% of the Dallas area medium income. The typlical client is a minority family of five, with an average income of around $28,000 for homes built in current communities, and $33,000 for the new subdivision of Eagle Ford.
Slum properties key site for Criminal Enterprise
Crime continues to decline in Dallas and in our targeted community of West Dallas. To see an interactive map of where West Dallas was removed from the “crime hot spots” of Dallas CLICK HERE.
In 2005 a study by Strategic Justice Initiatives found that a increasing amount of crime was being committed on properties owned by slum lords in West Dallas. With this information, Strategic Justice Initiatives Executive Director Randy Skinner approached investors who committed $500,000 to Builders of Hope, Inc to begin purchasing 25 properties from land lords. This effort became so successful, that Skinner approached local foundations with Builders of Hope founder Norm Henry helping to raise more than $6 million to buyout 300 slum/drug houses in 2008.
Crime has been significantly reduced where slum properties have been bought out and replaced with affordable housing with strongly healthy families, with Houses of Hope or urban missionaries living within those targeted communities.
The average slum house can be bought for $30,000. The removal of slum houses which are used by drug dealers, burglary rings, etc. profoundly impact neighborhoods. In 2011 the community of West Dallas was no longer listed as a "hot spot" zone of the higher crime areas of Dallas.
Landscape Changing in West Dallas by Key Partnerships
A recent grant by the Rees-Jones Foundation has allowed three major partners- Habitat for Humanity, Builders of Hope, and the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition to address physical transformation in West Dallas. This is being achieved by funding housing and employment needs. These two projects are impacting thousands of current and future residents lives. Changed neighborhoods, to the children who attend local schools, and churches are all strenthened by the presence of new and renovated homeowners.
These partners are involved in four specific areas to bring physical transformation, they are:
- Urban Land Bank Lots
- Landlord Buy Outs
- Foreclosed Homes
- General Homebuilding
- Job Training for young men on probation
Builders of Hope Leads Physical Transformation of West Dallas
Builders of Hope Community Development Corporation (BoH) evolved from Voice of Hope Ministries, an organization with a 25-year history in the West Dallas community. Voice of Hope’s board of directors created a separate Community Development Corporation, known as Voice of Hope CDC to help facilitate affordable housing and community development. The name was later changed to Builders of Hope CDC to create a clearer identity for the new corporation.
Today, BoH is recognized as a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) by the City of Dallas. It’s also a Homebuyer Counseling Agency certified by the state of Texas, City of Irving and City of Dallas. The organization provides homebuyer training, builds and sells new affordable homes, provides mentoring and job training for ex-offenders living in the West Dallas community and offers leadership development for community residents.
In its short existence the City of Dallas, local funders and the banking industry have recognized it as an effective CDHO. President Bush in a 2003 speech in Dallas said “Builders of Hope CDC is an example of a faith-based CDC that is effectively using federal funds to provide affordable housing for low-income families. Current programs include affordable housing, homebuyer education and counseling, family support services and community mobilization.
Accomplishments 2005 - 2016
- 362 new single family affordable homes in the West Dallas area; 107 renovations and 27 rental units using HUD’s HOME Program in partnership with local banks and city of Dallas.
- Formed West Dallas Weed and Seed Program and received Federal Grant of $175,000 per year for at least three years; purchased/demolished five drug houses; reduction in crime through law enforcement partnerships. Hired full-time administrator to oversee program.
- Leverage HUD funds to stimulated $10.5 million redevelopment of blighted abandoned property in Eagle Ford neighborhood of West Dallas; architect designed mixed-income home community with custom options; homeowners association; playground and community center using CDBG, HOME, EDI and private banks and foundation public private partnerships.
- Helped bring about tremendous increase in West Dallas tax base; lot value has gone from $1,500 to $40-$60,000; existing older home prices have gone from $24,000 to $125,000. Tax base for residential properties in West Dallas area increase by 75% from 2007-2015.
- Offered homebuyer education and counseling to 467 families
- Established Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity partnership in West Dallas
- Modeled a new (to the city of Dallas) holistic approach that involved social and political engagement, worked with or created neighborhood associations, spurred civic involvement, built relationships and social capital, addressed economic issues.
- Assisted Westmoreland Heights Neighborhood Association in acquisition of land, design, and construction of community center in partnership with JPI
- Developed code enforcement strategic plan for every slum lord in the community
- Served as catalyst for change regarding specific crime and enforcement issues
- Worked with City on creation of the Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP)
- Development, engagement of leaders and positive impact have kept residents that would have left for the suburbs .
- Worked with faith-based community partners to utilize their expertise in people transformation strategies to keep people believing that they are part of the economic system and provide relevant training and counseling to ex-offenders.
- Realized that changing youth and children without impacting their surroundings was impossible.
- Created programs that help young men to be productive and provided positive channel and motivation for use of God-given talents.
- Provided job training and mentoring to 312 ex-offenders which has become model used by Dallas County Probation to partner with faith community and local community based nonprofits.
- Impacted Dallas City Probation Department by providing personalized life skills and case management; case load for area probation officer has been reduced by 1/3. The Construction Jobs Program is a model that the County would like to duplicate.
- Provided funding through West Dallas Weed and Seed to youth organizations like Voice of Hope, YMCA, and others for after-school programs to provided scholarships for low-income children to attend their summer programs.
- Developing collaborations with other groups to eliminate service duplication in housing.
- Providing advocacy for systemic change; no affordable housing absent public policy.
- Helped to create Urban Land Bank Program in state of Texas to ensure an on-going supply of lots are available for affordable housing. First, non-profit to utilize program in City of Dallas. This program and policy change has resulted in over 3,000 affordable homes and apartments build in Dallas.
- Increased the number of people involved in civic activities; people are hopeful and there is a positive atmosphere for believing change can happen.
How Can you make a difference?
Consider becoming a partner with local organizations like Builders of Hope CDC and/or Strategic Justice Initiatives, Inc in grants or donations to help job training, business start ups, construction supervisors, home buyer seminars, homebuilding, community revitalization, resource development, etc.
Representatives with West Dallas organizations will be glad to meet with you at your convenience to discuss how you can become involved. Please contact our organization at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.