DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Shanay Wise bounces through her kitchen and dining area with a smile.
“They gave me two convection ovens! I keep three cake mixers over here,” Wise says, while pointing to her granite countertops.
Wise runs a small baking and organic pickling business, as well as working for a Dallas non-profit. The single mother of three became a homeowner in January. Despite an annual salary of $43,000, Wise found a three-bedroom home. “This house means so much to me because I wanted to live in South Dallas for years. With the programs SouthFair set up, they looked at my income and said hey, we can build you this,” Wise said.
SouthFair Community Development Corporation is the organization that assisted Wise in home ownership. The Community Housing Development Corporation, known as a CHDO, has built 50 houses, townhomes and apartments, mainly in the South Dallas/Fair Park corridor near Dallas’ Fair Park.
SouthFair works to ensure moderate income applicants can access home loans and find houses that fit low income budgets. “We build the houses, and we’re building more,” SouthFair Executive Director Annie Evans said Wednesday.
SouthFair’s Fair Park Estates resembles a quiet suburban subdivision. Residents were seen dog walking, bringing children home from school and jogging. The homes are two-story, and average 1,500 square feet in size. “We have the land, we have the demand, but what it takes to develop is funding,” Evans explained.
CHDO’s receive local and federal grants and loans to finance affordable housing programs. SouthFair officials say more South Dallas residents could access home ownership with improved community development funding.
“Over the past five years 1100 people come through our office. I think the momentum speaks to the neighborhood. Once we start construction, people come to us, they’re interested in us, then we have to stop, because the funding has stopped. We have to gear up that momentum again,” Evans said.