Dec 14, 2021 - News

Consultant report documents Dallas’ racist housing history

A model of Price Hall Village, in 1959.
A model of Price Hall Village, in 1959. Photo: Afro American Newspapers for Gado via Getty Images

A consulting firm hired by the city has documented Dallas' long history of racial discrimination in housing.

  • In an extensive report, TDA Consulting chronicles a variety of policy decisions over the last century-plus that have led to the racially divided city we have now.

Why it matters: Dallas is one of the least inclusive, most inequitable cities in the country when it comes to housing.

  • Southern Dallas, typically defined as the area south of Interstate 30, has about 64% of the city's population but only accounts for 10% of the city’s total property value.
  • That area is home to a higher percentage of Black and Hispanic people than live in the city as a whole, according to an analysis of development in Southern Dallas by J.H. Cullum Clark, the director of the Economic Growth Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute.

Driving the news: TDA Consulting will present its findings today to the housing and homelessness solutions committee.

Timeline: The report highlights a few of the key turning points in the city’s history:

  • In 1916, Dallas imposed housing segregation by race, the first Texas city to do so.
  • The Federal Housing Administration, established in 1934, furthered segregation by refusing to insure mortgages in or near Black neighborhoods. (Today the practice is known as "redlining.")
  • Neighborhoods once occupied by Black residents were rezoned to permit industrial and toxic uses, which rendered many areas uninhabitable.
  • In 1946, the Underwriting Manual of the Federal Housing Administration recommended that highways would be a good way to separate Black and white neighborhoods.
  • Black families who were forbidden to buy homes in suburbs from the 1940s to the 1960s were prevented from accruing equity, which could have been passed to their children.

Of note: The report explains that much of the national research on this topic focuses on Black communities, but Latin residents were also excluded from areas with better housing and economic opportunities.

What they’re saying: "Challenges include ...not enough emphasis on the historical data. We need to understand the stories and values of the people. We have to understand the millions of dollars spent that has kept white people in housing," Dallas City Council member Jaynie Schultz told the consultants, according to the new report.

The bottom line: The consulting firm's report says that the current housing policy does not offer solutions to fix "the historic racist policies or patterns of segregation."

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