THE GOAL | The Dallas area is in crisis, lacking well over 1,000 housing units for people suffering homelessness. Catholic Charities Dallas (CCD) and the Catholic Housing Initiative (CHI) are collaborating to erase 10% of the shortage by acquiring and operating ~100 apartments as permanent supportive housing.
THE PROJECT | St Jude Inc, a member of CHI, is acquiring an existing property in northwest Dallas for this purpose in September, 2017. The property was built in 1981 as 108 retirement apartments and is properly zoned for use and parking for seniors 55 & over. The property has excellent DART bus service and easy access to DART rail. The property is in fair condition and will receive a renovation to upgrade landscaping and parking, refresh finishes, upgrade in-unit kitchens, modernize common area, and bring MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) systems into good condition. Plans for the renovation are now in development, contractors are being solicited, and staffing and operational plans are being fleshed out. Opening is projected in early 2018. CCD has actively participated in the foregoing and will serve as general manager of the project, St Jude Center.
ANSWERING THE CALL | Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (“MDHA”) conducts a census of homelessness each year. In January, 2017 MDHA found that the problem is no longer just a central city issue and it is more severe (e.g., encampments) than in the past. Both CHI and CCD are charitable, mission driven and reflexively view the project as worth doing simply as a moral imperative. Equally important, though, are many benefits to the community. Most important is the opportunity to restore dignity and independence for the residents of the project. Using a “housing first” model coupled with wrap around social services has been proven to create a better outcome of success for abolishing homelessness. With this approach, one mitigates visible symptoms of failure to house and care for people’s well-being and healthcare. In addition, police and public health costs are diminished when people are placed in permanent supportive housing.
OUTCOMES | St. Jude Center will provide housing with client services ranging from moderate to intensive case management to ~100 homeless persons in our area. We believe this comprehensive and collaborative approach is the most effective and cost efficient manner to help address the growing challenge of serving the homeless population. A collaborative network including City Square, MetroCare, Veterans Administration (VASH), and MDHA will guide project start-up as well as to identify the men and women to be the initial residents.
CCD’s Financial Stability and Career Services is part of the Communities Foundation of Texas Working Families Success Cohort, which follows a model developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. As such, CCD will be in a unique position to offer workforce training and financial education coaching to all residents. With the intensive one-on-one coaching provided by the program, we expect that many residents will return to the workforce and be self-sufficient within two years. CCD case managers will also oversee care coordination for residents needing additional services utilizing partner agencies to deliver them, e.g., reentry, recovery, and veterans’ services, mental health counseling, housing transition assistance, and benefits counseling.
Through St Jude Center, CHI and CCD will address the complex problem of homelessness by helping members of our community regain a sense of security, increased well-being and their self-respect.
CCD | CCD is the charity arm of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas. As a multi-program social services agency, CCD has its own board of directors to fulfill its mission to serve, advocate for, and empower people in need. CCD will general manage the overall project and provide case worker oversight.
CHI | CHI is a community based nonprofit with IRS tax exemption. It owns and operates 768 apartment units in Coppell, Carrollton, Mesquite, and Dallas and is building 14 town homes for sale to low income buyer in Oak Cliff. 145 units are dedicated to seniors and the rest are intended for families. CHI was founded in 1991 by a group of Catholics with a mission to provide quality, affordable family and senior housing. CHI has substantial development and redevelopment experience in addition to operating and financing knowledge. CHI will own the project and provide facility and financial oversight including securing housing assistance arrangements with DHA and others. For more info, see www.CHIDallas.org and www.LaEstrellaLiving.com.
CAPITAL FUNDING | St Jude Center has attracted a combination of public and private funds to acquire, renovate, and start up the project. The all in cost is ~$50,000 per unit, a bargain at less than half of new construction. Following is a schedule of projected sources and uses of funds (* = firm commitment; others are estimates):
City of Dallas Home*
Dallas County Grant*
Grants & Contributions*
Grants & Contributions**
Federal Home Loan Bank
Purchase & Loan Costs
Soft Costs & Relocation
OPERATIONAL FUNDING | Rental income, with subsidies, will cover operating expense of the project including property management staff and facility costs and will likely allow for some reserve for capital improvements and replacements. Rental income will not cover the “social service” costs which will be provided by CCD and other partner agencies.
THE NEED | **There remains a funding “gap”. This must be closed by foundations and private donors, by an active process of application, discernment and decision. All grantors and donors will receive appropriate recognition on site and in publications of the project. More important, all contributors will share in resolution of a most complex community issue.