On Thursday evening, as part of an annual federally mandated point-in-time survey, Dallas and Collin Counties will count the homeless individuals in their respective jurisdictions.

To facilitate the count, Housing Forward will canvas streets with approximately 1,000 volunteers to search for homeless people.

“This is the only measure available to us of both sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. So by using the [point-in-time count], we can combine both information from our shelters, as well as this unsheltered count to be able to provide that estimate from year to year,” the agency’s interim CEO, Sarah Kahn, told The Dallas Morning News.

Between 2022 and 2023, homelessness in Dallas and Collin Counties fell by 4%. The drop came in the wake of increased efforts to prioritize closing encampments in North Texas. The counties also experienced a 14% drop in the number of “unsheltered homeless” and a 32% reduction in “chronic homelessness.”

Texas ranks the fifth worst state when it comes to homelessness, with over 27,000 homeless people documented in 2023, a 12% jump from the year prior. With a total of 4,244 homeless individuals, Dallas and Collin Counties had the largest number of homeless in any Lone Star State metro area.

Recent surveys show that Dallas residents are dissatisfied with the levels of homelessness, vagrancy, and panhandling throughout the city. San Antonio has found success using a “one-stop-shop” model to address such issues. The nonprofit Haven for Hope provides various supportive services to support the homeless on a single campus. The “one-stop-shop” model has been credited with reducing unsheltered homelessness in the city by 77%.

Still, members of the Dallas City Council recently expressed interest in developing City-sanctioned homeless encampments, as reported by The Dallas Express.

“I’d like the sanctioned encampment site to offer a variety of housing options, including a section for tents and campers, but also a section for fixed tiny homes that have climate control and privacy doors, onsite food availability, trash service, bathrooms, showers, and security,” said Council Member Cara Mendelsohn (District 12).

While some of the county’s homeless metrics seem to have reportedly improved, the changes have not been consistent across all categories of those on the street. The “unhoused veteran population,” for example, has jumped 21% since 2022. At the same time, homelessness among youths and families has risen 18% and 15%, respectively.

In Dallas, local stakeholders are working to bring the “one-stop-shop” model of homeless services to Dallas after it polled favorably among city residents. However, whether the City of Dallas will support this effort remains to be seen.