Claire Stanard is a municipal commissioner and career collector

She left her career as a folk singer to work as press secretary to U.S. Senator Vance Hartke, a Democrat from Indiana who served from 1959 to 1977. She continued to work in politics and became director of the Women’s Division of the National Democratic Party.

In her thirties, Stanard earned her master’s degree and worked as a marriage and family therapist for more than 20 years, but her career collection was not yet over. She earned a Masters in Education and taught English at Faith Family Academy and Christ the King Schools.

These experiences prepared Stanard for his current position, she says.

Presenting for the commission comes naturally after a career as a singer. Politics taught him things about law and negotiation. And she always educates people on the nuances of development and zoning, especially when they have grievances.

“One of the things voters have to do is go downstairs,” Stanard says. “Don’t wait for the meeting to take place in front of the planning commission. Organize a community meeting and organize your opposition.

Since the commission deals with zoning and planning, affordable housing is a topic Stanard is familiar with.

“There is confusion between ‘affordable housing,’ which is low-income housing, ‘accessible housing,’ which is workforce housing, and ‘mixed-income housing,’ which has tenants slightly below market rate combined with other multi-family renters,” Stanard says. . “The bottom line in Dallas right now is that working class people are being uprooted by the lack of affordable housing and rising rental rates. »

Dallas’ biggest problem is that we have very few working-class rentals, she said. Although affordable or low-income housing is a huge need, even accessible housing for the workforce is lacking.

When making zoning decisions, Stanard must consider median income, transportation, proximity to a park, and other factors. However, she has found in many cases that rental prices exceed affordable or achievable prices.

“Dallas, Texas is the ninth largest city in the United States, and it promised to have workforce housing within city limits,” Stanard says. “But they are being evicted, and I don’t know where these displaced families are going to go.”

While Stanard doesn’t have an answer to this crisis, she thinks more people need to be aware that this is a city-wide issue that needs to be addressed with a comprehensive plan to slow down the crisis. gentrification and tackling endemic displacement through community engagement.

“The shame is that we need young people on the planning commission, but young people work,” Stanard says. “It’s not part-time; it’s quite a job.

Some days, Stanard is reminded that the long hours and lack of paychecks are worth it, like when the landlord of apartments in the Vickery Meadow refugee resettlement area donated apartments for children could attend classes after school while their parents worked, calling it Heart House.

For 20 years, licensed teachers have volunteered to help refugee children at Heart House acclimatize to life and school in the United States. That is, until the winter storm of February 2021, when firefighters entered the building to inspect the damage. They closed the daycare because that use was not allowed in the apartment complex zoning.

Heart House received a specific license to qualify as a child care center, and Stanard approached the commission to share his story. The Town Hall Horseshoe was left in tears when they granted the permit, allowing the Heart House Homework Club to continue serving refugee children in the area.

“That’s what makes this job interesting,” she says.

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