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Homeless Center Next to School Sparks Outcry

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Playground swing set (selective focus). | Image by RiceWithSugar, Shutterstock

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The City of Dallas plans to convert an abandoned Oak Cliff hospital into a “homeless services” center, but many local residents have voiced opposition to this plan.

“My concern is that the school is literally directly across the street,” said resident Christina Anne during a neighborhood meeting at Kiest Park Recreation Center.

The former University General Hospital at 2929 South Hampton Road sits right across the street from Jimmie Tyler Brashear Elementary School, Hampton-Illinois Branch public library, and Kiest Park.

Stan Aten, another resident, said, “I see when the City does homeless shelters or projects, it tends to be uncontrolled and those people spill out into neighborhoods and cause problems.”

The former hospital has been vacant since 2014. In January of this year, the city council unanimously voted to purchase it for $6.5 million during a private executive session rather than a public session. Real estate deals must be done in private, according to Councilman Casey Thomas.

However, residents said the City has communicated poorly with the community throughout this project’s whole process.

“I think that has been kept under the radar intentionally to cram this down our throats,” said Craig Wheeler.

Aten added, “They threw it at us and said it’s a done deal and can’t do anything about it.”

However, Councilman Thomas said the City has no intentions of deceiving the community, and no final decisions have been made regarding the former hospital other than its general future purpose.

“The only thing that’s happened is the City has purchased the site using bond funds for homeless services, not a homeless shelter,” said Thomas. “Let me say that again, there will not be a homeless shelter.”

Despite Thomas’ insistence that the hospital will not be a shelter, he did say homeless people will be housed in the facility.

“There’s a vetting process for anyone who will be considered to live there,” he said, explaining the City has assembled a work group to determine the hospital’s residents. “Once they have a place to stay, they’re no longer homeless. That will be their home.”

Opponents of the project maintain that the City should find a different location — not so close to an elementary school.

“We’re not against helping the homeless,” Wheeler said. “We just feel that there’s just more appropriate ways to do it in more appropriate locations.”

As recently reported by The Dallas Express, government efforts to address the homelessness and vagrancy crisis are said to be “doomed to failure” because they “begin with an inadequate diagnosis of the causes” of the problem, according to a new report from The Center on Wealth & Poverty at the Discovery Institute.

The report explains that although lack of housing is a “major factor” in homelessness and vagrancy, these issues are not solely housing problems and therefore cannot be solved through a “Housing First” approach.

Providing only housing ignores the untreated mental illnesses of many homeless people, the Center asserts, and the related “harm reduction” initiatives enable vagrant addicts to continue their drug abuse.

The “Housing First” approach was built on the false premise that “homelessness is primarily a housing issue rather than a mental illness issue with co-presenting substance use disorders,” according to the report.

We welcome and appreciate comments on The Dallas Express as part of a healthy dialogue. We do ask that you be kind. Kind to each other and to everyone else in your comments. For more information, please refer to our Complete Comment Moderation Policy.

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J S
J S
18 days ago

Typical society wants.to whine and cry about the poor and the homeless the government won’t do anything realistic nor will society. They discriminate against us. They treat us as if we’re less than human and deserving of less than that. And cry and whine anytime someone tries to do less than bare minimum to help us.
Sad how self serving and hateful the government has become and society is even more so. Humanity is doomed!

Thomas
Thomas
Reply to  J S
18 days ago

Humanity is doomed because you don’t get what you want? What’s sad is how a supposed adult can be so self-serving, petulant, and whiny.

Housing First, the preferred “solution” of Liberals is no answer. If you want to continue to use drugs or you choose to be homeless because of the “freedom” or because you are running from other problems, then there isn’t much I can do for you.

But if you want to get off drugs, get job training and a job, then I’m willing to help.

Just because you won’t accept what I am offering does not make humanity doomed.

Tim
Tim
18 days ago

Keep electing Democrats. They’re doing such a great job not only for Dallas, but the nation. NOT!

William Danielson
William Danielson
Reply to  Tim
18 days ago

Says the ROOTING TOOTING UNREPRESENTED TEXAN> SAD!

Mike Shirejian
Mike Shirejian
18 days ago

How is it the city of Dallas place to provide shelter to anyone?

Janet
Janet
Reply to  Mike Shirejian
6 days ago

The article says the hospital was purchased, and the councilman said the intent was to provide SERVICES for the homeless which could include mental health services, drug and alcohol intervention services, etc. According to the article, there will be some shelter available (I assume with some screening such as for families or women with children), but the main purpose is to get at the root of the problem. The biggest issue is the proximity to the elementary school. No final decision has been made if I read the article correctly. We can’t complain about the homeless, vagrancy problem and then tear down an effort to solve it. I am sure they will consider any suggestions you might have.

Karen Roberts
Karen Roberts
18 days ago

No homeless people to be housed there. Once they are installed at the shelter they are no longer homeless. The finest of doublespeak!

Tamecia Henderson
Tamecia Henderson
18 days ago

This is not the best location for this. My grandmother used to live in the apartments directly across the street. Don’t forget about the two retirement community apartments by the school and by the library. I KNOW the City of Dallas has way more available space than this to build/remodel for adequate housing. If they do, turn this into a final transition housing unit where they have completed the necessary program (job/career placement, money management education classes, mental/drug abuse therapy, anger management, etc.). This should not be an intake shelter facility.

I-Yanah the ScyyFlyy
I-Yanah the ScyyFlyy
18 days ago

What TYPE of residents?
501c3 or City/State Funded?
NEW or Current Organization branded?
Housing Women ?
Women with kids??
Men Only?
Co-Ed?
65+??
Overnight, Weekly, Monthly?
So close to DHANtx WILL THEY HAVE HOUSING / PLACEMENT services…
There’s much more to its inception that needs to be known

I WILL be looking into another article or publication about this…