Working on our housing effort in downtown Dallas (City Walk @Akard) taught us a great deal about how hard it is to provide high-quality, affordable housing for the working poor and the homeless.
Even though we had millions of dollars lined up and secured, we found the entire closing process almost impossible, a clear signal to us that the credit markets were restricting dramatically earlier this year.
Going forward it seems clear that working out housing programs to benefit those most in need of good places to live will become more and more difficult, if not impossible, at least in the short term.
To be clear, the units I have in mind here are rental, not for sale.
As is usually the case, those at the bottom of the nation's economic life suffer disproportionately at times like the present. Due to a lack of organization, necessary resources and political influence, folks at the bottom suffer, often in extreme circumstances. Most of us don't or refuse to recognize or acknowledge their desperate plight. The poor have a way of suffering in relative silence and resignation.
A large part of our mission as a faith-based organization is to hear and acknowledge what is going on among our poorest neighbors and, then, to stand with them in attempting to make things better.
In short, it's always about much, much more than just charity.