Can mass infusions of money solve the root problems of homelessness and vagrancy? The City of Dallas and many nonprofits in the area continue to spend millions of dollars each year trying to address these issues. Yet, somehow, the plague of homelessness and vagrancy in the area continues, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.
Most recently, Jeff Bezos granted $1.25 million to a Dallas nonprofit working to reduce homelessness and vagrancy in the city.
The Amazon founder announced last week via Instagram that he recently awarded 40 grants totaling more than $123 million to homeless and vagrant service organizations across the nation as part of his Bezos Day One Families Fund initiative.
Bezos said he plans to donate the majority of his $124 billion net worth during his lifetime and has pledged $2 billion to the fight against homelessness.
“These 40 recipients from 26 states and Puerto Rico will receive immediate donations totaling $123.45 million to continue their compassionate, needle-moving work to help families move from unsheltered homelessness and shelters to permanent housing with the services they require to achieve stability,” according to a press release from the Bezos Day One Fund.
One of the 40 grants was awarded to Housing Forward — a local nonprofit working with the city government to try and resolve homelessness and vagrancy in Dallas and Collin County.
“We just received a grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund to boost our efforts to end #familyhomelessness in Dallas and Collin Counties!” Housing Forward shared on Facebook. “We’re honored that a group of leading experts in the field selected us to be recognized with this award and excited for the impacts it will help us make on families.”
Housing Forward President and CEO Joli Robinson told The Dallas Express, “We are going through the usual business processes to officially receive the funds, and during the application period, we provided a high-level overview about our intentions for utilizing the funds.”
“Housing Forward plans to use the grant funds to increase their system’s overall capacity to meet the growing demand felt by direct service providers that serve families,” the organization said in a press release shared with The Dallas Express. “The funding will help the Dallas and Collin Counties Homeless Response System provide additional critical support staff to assist families experiencing homelessness.
“Housing Forward, alongside the All Neighbors Coalition, will be able to provide additional services to help people avoid entering the homeless response system,” the statement continued. “This work will include assisting families in resolving immediate housing needs through creative, housing-focused problem-solving; connecting families to natural supports or community resources; and providing financial assistance to aid families in getting past often short-term hurdles.”
Bezos’ fund also awarded $5 million to the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County and $2.5 million to the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) in Austin.
While the grant money was undoubtedly a welcome addition to Housing Forward’s annual budget, it comes as the City of Dallas continues to mismanage its response to the city’s persisting problems of homelessness and vagrancy.
As recently covered by The Dallas Express, numerous mistakes have come to light in the City’s effort to establish a homeless and vagrant services facility in Oak Cliff.
Local residents have voiced concerns about the facility being located directly across the street from an elementary school and say the City has neither communicated clearly with the community nor listened to their input.
The City of Dallas, which has the largest homeless population in the state, has budgeted $14 million for the Office of Homeless Solutions for the fiscal year of 2022-23. Will that money make a significant difference in the coming year? The Dallas Express will be keeping tabs on the situation.