Dallasites Continue To Push Back on Homeless Housing Project

Individual experiencing homelessness
Homeless individual/Getty images

A proposed permanent housing project for homeless individuals that has been in the works since 2022 is drawing fresh pushback from residents who claim they were unaware of the City of Dallas’ plans for the former hospital property.

Dallas purchased the property for $6.5 million, using taxpayer money allocated for homelessness solutions with the intention of creating a stable housing project that would house as many as 100 people. Now, residents are crying foul, and the plan is on hold as community leaders look for a solution.

“When we started this process, I think the intended use of the property was not fully communicated before they purchased the property,” Dallas City Council Member Zarin D. Gracey (District 3) said to NBC 5 DFW. “This is now an opportunity for the community to have their voices heard.”

Gracey said the City has three options: continue with the project, sell the property to fund another project that has stalled, or subdivide the property to allow for retail space, low-income housing units, and shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Residents have raised concerns about the project, which is located at 2929 South Hampton Rd., including the potential for a rise in crime.

“Maybe they have been reformed, I don’t know exactly what the criteria is going to be, but I think you’re right here by a senior adult complex that’s within walking distance for these people to cause some harm to children and elderly,” said neighborhood resident Vernell Henderson, per NBC 5. “Find a better place. Put it by the Hospital District where if they need medical help, they’ll be close to a medical facility.”

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, overall crime has been on the rise citywide amid the Dallas Police Department’s longstanding police shortage of roughly 1,000 officers.

Additionally, polling by DX indicates that roughly 75% of Dallas voters think homelessness, vagrancy, and aggressive panhandling are “major” local problems. Residents also registered their support for the “one-stop-shop” homeless services model used by Haven for Hope in San Antonio. The model has been credited with a 77% reduction in unsheltered homelessness in the city’s downtown area.

Some local stakeholders want to bring the model to Dallas. However, it is unclear whether the Dallas City Council will support such an approach to reducing homelessness.

Still, some studies suggest that crime does not always increase when a new homeless shelter pops up.

Pallet, an organization operating homeless shelters across the nation, claims on its website that crime has fallen in areas where it set up shelters, citing proper management as the biggest reason.

“In our experience building over 100 Pallet shelter villages — and working with officials in over 85 cities — worries about increased crime top lists of concerns for potential neighbors,” Pallet wrote. “This is understandable. But we’ve seen firsthand how a well-planned and well-run shelter village changes minds. Neighbors, city officials, and shelter village residents almost always see it as a boon to the community, with benefits that outweigh any downsides.”

A study by the University of California in San Francisco found that housing projects like the one Dallas has proposed can have a significant impact on reducing the number of homeless people and vagrants, particularly those with severe medical conditions.

“Project Welcome Home is an excellent example of why expanding the supply of permanent supportive housing is so critical,” said Ky Le, deputy county executive of Santa Clara County. “This study proves what we already know: Housing is medicine. The real challenge is harnessing the will necessary to create this solution at scale.”

According to NBC 5, City staff and Gracey favor creating a mixed-use project. City leaders intend to continue holding public meetings to work out a solution for the neighborhood. They anticipate a six-month process to get constituents’ feedback before deciding how to proceed.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article