As the City of Dallas struggles to deal with homeless encampments and an apparent rise in vagrancy, Mayor Eric Johnson issued an annual symbolic declaration on Wednesday marking November 12-20 as “Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week” in Dallas.
This announcement comes shortly after the city council was forced to reallocate $1 million in additional taxpayer funds from the pension stabilization fund to fund smaller nonprofits “that make up the homeless provider ecosystem, and increase existing shelter capacity,” as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
The mayor was accompanied by Councilmember Casey Thomas II, the chair of the Dallas City Council Housing and Homelessness Solutions Committee, at 8:30 a.m. at Dallas City Hall.
“For over 25 years, the National Coalition for the Homeless and National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness has sponsored National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week,” Johnson’s proclamation read.
Overall, the Office of Homeless Solutions receives over $12 million a year from taxpayers attempting to address the city’s homelessness and vagrancy problem. Yet, despite the money being poured into this issue, the number of vagrants in Dallas seemingly continues to rise.
Recently, a video recording even spotted what appeared to be a vagrant crawling out of a neighborhood storm drain, leading to speculation that people could be living beneath the city, as previously covered by The Dallas Express.
Mayor Johnson continued on Wednesday, “Local shelters, including The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center and other community organizations, provide meals, housing, clothing, and a myriad of other services to help individuals and families exit homelessness.”
National Hunger and Homelessness Week began in 1975 at Villanova University. More than 700 organizations nationwide hold events to raise awareness about “the plight of individuals experiencing homelessness without access to fresh, nutritious food,” according to a press release issued by the City of Dallas.
“Guiding individuals to exit homelessness can be very challenging,” Mayor Johnson suggested.
The persevering issue of vagrancy in Dallas has been cited by some as a reason for the city’s population decline.
Jake Lloyd Colglazier, executive director of Keep Dallas Safe, said in a statement to The Dallas Express, “Under Mayor Johnson, every day is homelessness awareness day! A drive down any Dallas street will show you that vagrancy is out of control — we don’t need a week of ‘awareness.'”