On Friday, Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax informed Mayor Johnson and the city council that he had “directed staff to cancel the current RDI (Request for Development Interest) as it relates to track 4.” The decision follows expressions of opposition by Lake Highlands residents to a proposed supportive housing development at 12000 Greenville Avenue.
“It is my hope that restarting this process with more consistent communication will restore confidence in the integrity of this initiative and the importance of caring for our most vulnerable populations,” wrote Broadnax.
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough shared the news with constituents on social media late Friday, thanking citizens who took time to advocate on the issue.
“The fatally flawed process which included spending $20M to put at least 100 units of supported housing at 12000 Greenville is terminated,” McGough wrote. “Presumably a new process will start over.”
Though Broadnax conceded “the process to receive community input did not meet my expectations,” he defended Office of Homeless Solutions efforts to keep council members in the loop.
“In August 2018, the Office of Homeless Solutions (OHS) presented a briefing to the full City Council on the proposed four-track process” to address housing the city’s homeless, Broadnax wrote, and subsequent briefings and memos followed. A May 2019 council briefing described Track 4, he said, including the use of $20 million in bond funds for housing and wrap-around services. That briefing outlined city-owned, other publicly-owned and privately-owned sites, and OHS received direction from the council to focus on city-owned sites to maximize bond resources, Broadnax wrote.
“Staff did not provide a follow-up communication related to the communication engagement dates nor did they share the information broadly to ensure widespread community input in the process,” admitted Broadnax in his letter cancelling the RDI. “Community input is an essential component in the process of advancing public programs that can have significant impacts on surrounding neighborhoods.”
Opponents of the plan will likely agree.
“In the recent meeting at the Audelia Road Library, it was apparent that the staff is taking shortcuts just to meet a deadline,” argued Susan Morgan at the city council meeting held in Lake Highlands Wednesday. “They have circumvented the public process and are proposing the same solution that has failed in the past – doing the same thing and expecting different results. The suggested housing site at 12000 Greenville Avenue is isolated and so ill-served by the City of Dallas that the feds have intervened with Project Safe Neighborhood. Housing in that tract would likely cause greater harm to the very people we are trying to help.”
OHS says 11,000 families and individuals are ready for housing in the City of Dallas but remain in shelters due to a lack of supportive housing. Broadnax indicated that his team will seek input from the appropriate committee or the full council before proceeding further.