Will Tornado Recovery Exacerbate Labor Shortage?

There was already a shortage of construction labor, but we wondered — would the Oct. 20 tornado exacerbate that shortage? Could we see a building and renovation slowdown because of the demand in Preston Hollow post-tornado?

We asked Phil Crone, executive director with the Dallas Builder’s Association, about the shortage pre-tornado, and what impact the storm could have on construction times in the area.

“We are still short about 20,000 construction workers in this area and that is adding about two months and $5,000 to every home built,” Crone told us. “For the tornado damaged homes, it will be more in many cases since many are larger in size.”

As for delays, Crone sees them coming now, as insurance companies deem homes total losses and demolition begins to happen.

“I think most of the tornado-related delays will be on the front end of projects as the demolition companies are highly burdened right now as is the Dallas building inspections department,” he said. “Projects to replace a total loss may be delayed another two to four weeks because of this.”

But once this immediate spate of demolitions is complete, Crone said the queue shouldn’t make things worse.

“Once construction begins, the number of homes in need of repair, while significant, shouldn’t make things worse than they already are from a labor standpoint region-wide,” he said. “I don’t expect significant delays for the homes requiring minor or even moderate repairs.”

But Crone does have one caveat — make sure your contractor has been vetted.

“We can’t stress enough the need for those impacted to make sure they are doing business with a reputable contractor,” he said, adding that homeowners looking advice on finding reputable builders and contractors can look here.

Thanks to Tornado, Dallas Education Foundation Off to Running Start

The Dallas Education Foundation — the nonprofit and philanthropic arm of Dallas ISD — was reestablished as a 501(c)(3) in April, and this, Mita Havlick was named it’s executive director.

And just a few weeks after taking the gig, she found herself on an accelerated fundraising campaign, thanks to the Oct. 20 tornadoes that damaged several district schools. The foundation started the Dallas ISD Tornado Relief Fund, and through it, the foundation has compliantly received about $1.7 million in pledges to help the school communities impacted by the storm.

“The district is working on a post-disaster needs assessment, which is a fluid process and will take some time,” Havlick said in a statement. “As the district presents their needs to the foundation, the DEF will do its own assessment – including, but not limited to, understanding what is covered by insurance and what has the greatest impact. Our goal is to ensure that we disburse funds where the district needs it most.”

But the foundation’s work won’t be limited to the tornadoes — Havlick said it will begin raising funds to help districtwide, too.

“The Dallas Education Foundation is here to stay, and we look forward to accelerating the district’s mission of preparing all students for success,” she said.

Newest Preston Hollow People to Feature Updates on Preston-Royal Shops

Keep your eyes on your mailboxes and newspaper racks — the latest edition of Preston Hollow People will include updates on several favorites that were hit hardest by the storm, as well as ways the community can support these merchants during their Christmas shopping.

Ben Davis, who owns the grooming and lifestyle clubs The Gents Place, for instance, told us that all the Preston Hollow team members have been relocated to the Uptown location across from Breadwinners on McKinney Avenue, and people looking to support them with their shopping dollars can book appointments and buy memberships and gift cards at their website.

In the case of Fish City, team members Preston Hollow diners may be able to catch their favorite servers at other locations, like Fish City Grill Lake Highlands, Half Shells – Snider Plaza, or Fish City Grill Frankford.

We talked to Wes Williams, husband of Toy Maven owner Candace Williams, and Toy Maven’s manager, Greer, on Saturday as they were busily turning a former real estate office into a toy store. As workers scurried about stocking shelves and waiting on customers, the two surveyed the unusual (for a toy store) space.

“This was a Virginia Cook office,” Williams told us. “Two weeks ago, it was full of realtor offices and cubicles.”

The office equipment was carted off, and the team quickly began working to turn the space at Preston and Forest into a more kid-friendly environment. They opened late last week.

“It’s going well,” Greer said. “It’s been busy — but we’re back in action.”

We’ll also have updates on Interabang, North Haven Gardens, Marco’s Pizza, and more.



Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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