Habitat For Humanity’s Financial Struggles Could Reduce Affordable Housing in Dallas

“I think the question is whether they can sufficiently recover to be that hero, that top-line builder that the city needs.”

By Rachel TaubeAugust 7, 2018 1:07 pm

The Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity is among the city’s largest home developers. The nonprofit has helped scores of families get their own homes. But Dallas Habitat has been in the red for at least three years, losing more than $2 million in 2015 and 2016. The new CEO, David Crawford, says the picture won’t look any better when the 2017 financials become public later this year.

Sharon Grigsby, a metro columnist with the Dallas Morning News, spoke to Texas Standard Host Alana Rocha about what these losses could mean for Dallas Habitat for Humanity.

A few years ago, Dallas Habitat moved away from the all-volunteer model that many are familiar with. Grigsby says that this model change was necessary for building urban area housing.

“Habitat continues to work with volunteers to build those 40-50 houses a year, but it also has its own internal construction and mortgage arms, in order to build the kind of inventory that an urban area needs,” Grigsby says. “As a result, as has been the result for the places that are facing a scarcity of affordable housing, it has become really important to city hall, as it’s trying to change the housing policy in Dallas. Particularly in regard to building housing in more mixed income areas instead of adding more housing in lower income neighborhoods.”

Despite this, Habitat CEO Crawford has said he plans on turning the nonprofit’s financial situation around, Grigsby says that during her reporting on Habitat for Humanity, questions concerning previous financial reports still remain unanswered.

“The new CEO didn’t want to talk about [the financial reports] a lot. it’s easy to surmise that there’s some overextension in the mortgage and the construction arms,” Grimsby says. “[Crawford] has promised city hall and in conversations with me, that he does not intend to reduce drastically the current strategy to be one of the top homebuilders in Dallas, but no doubt that city hall is really worried about the fact that can be the case.”

Grigsby says she ultimately believes Dallas Habitat will recover from its financial struggles.

“I think the question is whether they can sufficiently recover to be that hero, that top-line builder that the city needs,” Grigsby says. “If not, I think the city is going to have to work really hard on getting someone certified, some other nonprofit, that will be able to do the building in the areas that the city wants.”

Written by .Haley Butler.