Thursday, April 08, 2010

People just don't understand

I'm just reading this article from the Dallas Morning News:

I have lived in the Jubilee neighborhood for the last 15 years. A friend of mine called the other day asking my opinion on the DISD desire to use eminent domain to tear down all of the houses where he used to live. He has since moved out of the area, but many of his friends and neighbors still live in the houses they intend to tear down and they are upset because they will be losing their homes in the upcoming rebuild of O.M. Roberts Elementary.

They have legitimate concerns. Many people have lived in the Jubilee neighborhood for decades. So this comment by "CabMeb's Girl" on the Dallas Morning News article caught my attention:
Let's face it, those houses on that land are not worth $120,000 to $150,000. Although I feel sorry for them,I have to ask if they wanted to put the place on the market today, would they be able to get more than $50,000? DISD does not owe them anymore than what the home and property are actually worth. We would all like to retire to a nice house or see our parents be able to do so, but we retire to what we can afford be it a $50,000 house or a multi-million dollar mansion.

Allow me to address CabMeb's Girl or anyone that feels that way...

You are right. The homes the families live in may not be worth $120,000-$150,000. Often, the homes people in my neighborhood are dilapidated. If they aren't dilapidated, they are old. To sell them at market rate, they might only bring $50,000, as you suggest. However, those families aren't making the decision to sell them, are they? Those families probably recognize that they can't sell them for much so they stay in the homes, regardless of their condition. As the article suggest, many of the residents are older and only bring in a small pension every month. They know they can't afford buying a new home so they haven't even bothered trying. They are content where to live with what they have.

So, when you say they should be happy with what they are getting, you aren't taking into account that they are not the ones choosing to move. Providing them with $50,000 and asking them to find a new home gives them just enough money to put them in major debt. They deserve to be compensated with enough funds to find a home somewhere else. Even the homes that have been built in Jubilee Park over the last five years average about $95,000.

I'm guessing your next comment might be that if they're willing to live in a dilapidated or old house now, then it shouldn't hurt them to move into another home just like that. But let me ask you if you would be willing to do that. Most of the families in my neighborhood have lived there for years. They have friends and neighbors they know and trust. They have people to watch their home when they are gone, they have friends to borrow sugar from when they run out, they have children who have established friendships with other kids in the neighborhood. So for me to ask or expect them to move out of their neighborhood, incur debt they don't currently have, or move into a low quality home they will not have the funds to fix up is unconsiderate in the least, but more accurately very arrogant.

I truly hope that DISD begins thinking about and considering the families in the neighborhood. They are not asking for any handout. They are not trying to get rich. And I am sure that they, too, would love a high quality school for their children and grandchildren. But what may seem like an easy thing to do in a neighborhood where people have a lot of access to disposable income, that is not the case in my neighborhood.

Please, let's think of the families.
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