What do housing and hunger have in common? Choices. It’s the choices people have to make every day that can determine whether they have a place to live, whether they can feed their children and which bills to pay. As REALTORS, we get to see the fun side of homeownership: the excitement of falling in love with the perfect house and celebrating the milestones in it. Unfortunately, we also see the struggles families endure when they can no longer afford the homes they have. We see the heartache when clients tell us about a job loss, overwhelming medical bills, or a series of catastrophic events that have brought them to the brink. That’s why it’s so important to us to support those in our community who are working to end problems like hunger – because when people are struggling, hunger is never the only problem they are facing.
We were so saddened to hear of the passing this month of Jan Pruitt, the longtime leader of the North Texas Food Bank. Her leadership and giving spirit inspired so many of our own members to expect more of themselves, to dig deeper and do something. Jan’s legacy at the Food Bank is immense. The ripple effect of her legacy in the community is incalculable.
Too often, people have to choose between healthcare and food, or they have to make food stretch longer than it should. Sometimes that means kids eat food with little nutritional value or babies get watered down formula, and that can lead to cognitive, behavioral and psychological issues. Hunger – and, more to the point – poverty are problems that impact the quality of life for all of us. It impacts the performance levels at our schools when hungry kids can’t concentrate. It impacts employee turnover at our businesses when workers have to choose between bus fare and food. It impacts healthcare insurance costs for everyone when poor nutrition leads to long term medical issues. It impacts the ability of our cities to thrive when inequality is so pervasive. As our friends heading up the Grow South initiative like to remind us, 55 percent of our citizens live north of the Trinity River, and pay 85 percent of our tax base, while the 45 percent who live in Southern Dallas only contribute 15 percent of our tax base. It’s not because they don’t want to pay taxes. They do, however need more investment to gain that opportunity.
From a business standpoint, we want our communities to be strong, vibrant and stable. As people who live here, we want our communities to be a great place to live for everyone. We’re dedicating 2017, our centennial year, to our communities in North Texas. We hope you will join us as we plant trees and volunteer in our towns and neighborhoods. Most of all, we hope you, too, will be inspired to make your community just a little brighter.
The MetroTex Association of REALTORS is the largest professional real estate association in North Texas. Comprised of more than 18,000 real estate professionals, MetroTex is celebrating 100 years of service to the community in 2017. To connect with a MetroTex Realtor, or to find information about buying, leasing, or selling a home in North Texas, visit dfwrealestate.com.