Shock Claim: Dallas Homelessness in Decline

housing forward
Housing Forward hosts the State of Homelessness Address for Dallas and Collin Counties | Image by Justin DeSales/The Dallas Express

Housing Forward, on behalf of the All Neighbors Coalition, hosted the State of Homelessness Address for Dallas and Collin Counties on Tuesday morning at the Winspear Opera House.

The event’s keynote speaker, Housing Forward president and CEO Sarah Kahn, discussed the concerning trends regarding homelessness in Dallas over the last decade, explaining that “in the shadows of one of the best arts districts in America, there are people who are literally living in tents, storing their belongings in shopping carts, and keeping warm around a fire pit.”

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, a number of homeless service requests submitted with the City of Dallas in recent weeks noted that fires have been observed at some of the numerous homeless encampments in the city, posing potential hazards.

“That is in the United States of America, one of the richest nations in the world. And these people were living and sleeping and surviving in a way that the hundreds of thousands of other people that are experiencing homelessness are on any given night in the U.S. And we’re seeing a situation where as housing is becoming more and more unaffordable, people are experiencing homelessness and often getting trapped,” she said.

Polling conducted by The Dallas Express shows that some 75% of Dallas voters believe homelessness, vagrancy, and aggressive panhandling are “major” problems in the city. Respondents also appeared to be generally supportive of 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 City officials will support such a measure.

Despite homelessness in Dallas growing into one of the city’s most pressing issues, Kahn highlighted the changes that have occurred due to initiatives set forth by Housing Forward.

Kahn said that Housing Forward underwent a system transformation that began in 2021, which included the deployment of new funding from both the public and private sector to help support a “$72 million rehousing initiative.”

The private donations and taxpayer money have helped the organization provide housing for more than 10,100 individuals since 2021, decreasing the rate of homelessness in the two counties.

Housing Forward states that an estimated 3,718 individuals experienced homelessness every night in the two counties in 2024, which is a 19% decrease in overall homelessness and a 24% decrease in unsheltered homelessness since 2021. The group hopes to reduce the homeless population by 50% by 2026.

In furtherance of this goal, Housing Forward is moving to implement its “Street to Home” initiative, which involves offering “equitable housing” and support services while coordinating with local governments to end the prevalence of homeless encampments.

Housing Forward estimates that roughly $30 million will be needed to achieve its goal within the next two years. Kahn said that the organization now has the “ability to compete at the national level for funding,” noting that its initiatives are no longer losing money.

“We’re being rewarded by the federal government for the types of interventions that we’re aligning to and the progress that we’re making locally, which is very, very important. We saw a 44% increase in funding, which is great. So the message is very clear from the federal government that the strategies that we’re implementing are working, and we need to really stay the course,” she said.

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