Jul 19, 2022 - News

Two Black developers hope to fix Dallas' affordable housing problem

Two men in nice suits, looking dapper
Left: James Armstrong III, Right: Jason Brown. Photos courtesy of Growing Diverse Housing Developers

Two Black real estate developers from Dallas will be part of a $40 million grant initiative designed to bring diversity to the region's booming real estate market while creating more affordable housing.

Why it matters: Real estate developers of color make up less than 5% of the roughly $175 billion U.S. housing development market, per a statement from Wells Fargo, one of the banks funding the new program called Growing Diverse Housing Developers.

How it works: GDHD is a free four-year project that will help 39 developers grow their businesses and overcome systemic barriers created by generations of racism and disinvestment.

  • Seven real estate developers of color from Texas — including two from Dallas — are participating.
  • The two local developers, James Armstrong III and Jason Brown, will have access to money for local real estate projects they hope will turn into mixed-income housing and businesses in underserved areas.

Background: As president of Dallas City Homes, Jason Brown has acquired and developed more than 2,400 rental units with the goal of turning them into safer, vibrant communities. The company has also helped develop or renovate more than 350 single-family homes.

  • As the head of a community development corporation called Builders of Hope, Armstrong has built houses selling for under $200,000 in both South and West Dallas.
  • The Dallas Morning News' Dianne Solis chronicled Armstrong's efforts earlier this year.

What they're saying: "A person's income shouldn't exclude them from a decent quality of life, and I believe smart, thoughtful development can provide that," Armstrong tells Axios.

What we're watching: Armstrong tells Axios his dream project would be a development that balances mixed use, mixed income and mixed housing stock that is "activated by amenities and services all located in the Southern sector."

  • Brown says his dream project would be an entire self-sustaining community inside Dallas, something that "encompasses a grocery store, housing and education."
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