Dallas Parents Troubled by Homeless, Vagrant Crisis

Homeless man sleeping on a street corner. | Image by Paul Prescott/Shutterstock

With the 2022-2023 school year behind them, Dallas parents are signaling their alarm with the city’s homelessness and vagrancy crisis.

In a survey conducted by The Dallas Express, parents of children enrolled in the Dallas Independent School District expressed significant concern over homelessness, vagrancy, and panhandling, with only a small minority of respondents suggesting they do not think it is a big deal.

When asked if they thought homelessness and vagrancy were serious problems in Dallas, a plurality of parents (49.06%) said yes. Some 28.30% answered no, while 22.64% of respondents said they were unsure or did not know.

The parents were also asked if they thought panhandling was a serious problem in the city, to which 52.83% responded yes, 20.75% said no, and 26.42% indicated they were unsure or did not know.

DISD parents might be especially sensitive to the issue in light of a controversy involving apparent vagrancy near an elementary school campus earlier this year.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, a homeless encampment was discovered behind Arcadia Park Elementary in West Dallas. Parents raised concerns over the security of the campus with its low, scalable fences and proximity to the encampment.

“I think it was Wednesday when [my twins] … told me that the homeless guy that lives in the back, that he was staring at them and that he told them to go where he was,” one mother, Daily Ochoa, told NBC 5 DFW in February.

She also told the news outlet that one homeless person or vagrant had attempted to enter the school building, a situation reminiscent of an incident in Fort Worth last year, when an alleged vagrant managed to gain access to Young Women’s Leadership Academy to use the bathroom.

Respondents to the survey were also asked whether they supported a model for addressing the crisis like San Antonio’s Haven for Hope, which requires the city’s homeless to occupy only one small specific area of town where all the homeless services would be located.

Some 49.06% of DISD parents responded yes, 29.25% answered no, and 21.70% said they did not know or were unsure.

The Haven for Hope program has been a significant player in helping San Antonio deal with its homelessness and vagrancy problem, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

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