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Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO

Vacancy and Blight Action Plan for the City of Dallas, Texas

A Community Progress Technical Assistance Report

Published: September 2015


Author(s): Center for Community Progress

In January 2015, the City of Dallas, Texas engaged Community Progress (through our technical assistance scholarship program) for a review and assessment of the City’s current code enforcement and blight remediation efforts.

Although there does not appear to be a single definition of blight in Dallas local law, the leaders we spoke with defined blighted properties as those characterized by unsound and substandard conditions, and also those that reflect chronic vacancy and abandonment. Blighted vacant properties are also often encumbered by multiple public and private liens which outweigh the value of the property itself, and are often owend by absentee owners or burdened by complicated multi-generational title interests held by multiple, absent, and disperse heirs.

Our report yields five key observations:
* The City of Dallas has the expertise, capacity, focus, and commitent to wage an effective fight against vacancy and blight.
* City departments do not coordinate regularly and meaningfully on comprehensive blight strategies, and there is no high level senior staff member empowered to direct and hold accountable interdepartmental teams.
* The City’s data systems are often department-specific, and there is no reliable, regular way to access, share, integrate and analyze property datasets.
* Almost every Dallas leader that was interviewed recommended a “fight blight” pilot program.
* The City of Dallas is poised now to make a significant and equitable impact on the blight, vacancy, and abandonment that has plagued various portions of the City for decades.

Published: September 2015


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