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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Come Hell or No Water: The Story of Sandbranch and the Unincorporated Community Fight for Public Services


Sandbranch is the only unincorporated community left in Dallas County, and the residents of this majority-Black, impoverished community have had their cries for basic necessities—such as clean, running water—largely ignored. With the County and the City of Dallas not remedying the problem so far, there is a question as to who is responsible for providing water and other public services to the community’s eighty residents. As it currently stands, Texas law simply permits local governments to offer assistance to unincorporated communities but does not mandate that affirmative measures be taken to ensure that these communities are provided for. What is the scope of the existing local government laws when it comes to getting public services to unincorporated areas, and what will it take for Sandbranch to finally get the resources it has been fighting to receive for decades?

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