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Saturday, December 3, 2022
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Mayor: Other Cities Should Help with Homeless & Vagrant Problem

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Poor tired depressed hungry homeless man or refugee sleeping on a wooden bench on the urban street in the city, social documentary concept. | Image by Srdjan Randjelovic, Shutterstock

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Mayor Eric Johnson said Dallas should get other cities to assist with its homelessness and vagrancy problem, advocating for a more “regional” approach.

During the annual State of Downtown event hosted by Downtown Dallas Inc. at the Moody Performance Hall, Johnson said many homeless and vagrant people whose last known address was outside of Dallas congregate inside the city because it provides them access to more resources.

Johnson described homelessness and vagrancy as a “regional public health problem” and said that other cities in Dallas, Collin, and Denton counties should share more of the burden of aiding the homeless.

“Quite frankly, we’re the ones who invest in the services,” the mayor said. “Dallas is the city with the compassion and the heart that’s building these resources and creating these rapid rehousing programs and spending millions of tax dollars to deal with this.”

“When our surrounding suburbs are not doing it, and in some cases, even may be encouraging folks who need these services to come to Dallas, and then brag about how low their tax rate is,” he continued.

Dallas Director of Communications, Outreach and Marketing Catherine Cuellar shared a statement with The Dallas Express from Deputy City Manager Kimberly Bizor Tolbert.

“The need to help those who are experiencing homelessness is not unique to Dallas as a city; it does not stop at our boundaries,” said Tolbert. “This is a larger issue we are all dealing with across all municipalities, and the response should be equally cohesive—not because it is too much for any one area to bear but because we share the responsibility for caring for our unsheltered neighbors and our responses should be equitable.”

Garland Mayor Scott LeMay agrees with Johnson’s proposal for a more regional approach but rejects his notion that Dallas is supporting the homeless on its own.

“Obviously, by sheer volume and size, Dallas probably has a larger homeless population than the suburban cities,” he said. “But the suburban cities [are] certainly struggling with it and trying to approach it in the best ways that we can.”

While Garland does not have a department akin to Dallas’ Office of Homeless Solutions, the city does direct funds to nonprofits that address homelessness and vagrancy.

“For us, it has made more sense to put funding in the hands of the people who know how to use it,” LeMay said. “They have a certain level of expertise that we may not.”

According to the 2022 Point-in-Time (PIT) count, there are roughly 4,000 homeless individuals in Dallas County alone, with about one in seven of them suffering from serious mental illnesses.

Additionally, rising rent costs in Dallas may increase evictions and cause more people to live on the street, as previously covered by The Dallas Express.

Mayor Johnson said he believes that downtown Dallas could have more residents and businesses by 2030, along with fewer vagrants and a lower crime rate if the city hires more police officers, stimulates economic growth, and adds more parks and green spaces.

“We just have to keep the foot on the gas,” he said.

The Dallas Express contacted the Office of Homeless Solutions for additional comment but did not receive a response.

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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Zulia
Zulia
1 month ago

Why are there no law to punish those who gives money on a street during traffic light wait? If no one will give the money, then no one would want to stay there to beg. People need to go to work, like the rest of us.

David Barnett
David Barnett
1 month ago

The problem is just like our southern border crises. Once you let them know that there will be free food, clothes, free drugs etc. then the influx will increase exponentially. You cannot coddle law breakers.

Keepin it real!
Keepin it real!
Reply to  David Barnett
1 month ago

Since when did homeless people become “lawbreakers?” Please stop commenting on things you know nothing about.

JNW
JNW
Reply to  Keepin it real!
1 month ago

What do you know if you think the homeless have just an average crime rate. Panhandling is unlawful as is trespassing so please stop commenting on things you know aren’t accurate.

Bob Weir
Bob Weir
1 month ago

So, Dallas leaders allow the homeless problem to become unsustainable, then they want other cities to help them deal with it? Gimme a break! How about the growing crime problem? Should every other town and city help with that too? If the mayor of any city can’t deal with the problems, he/she should resign and let someone competent handle it.

Keepin it real!
Keepin it real!
Reply to  Bob Weir
1 month ago

I know your lips move when you read and the article was written at a 12th grade level, but do your best and try to actually read the piece you’re commenting on.

Last edited 1 month ago by Keepin it real!
Robert Weir
Robert Weir
Reply to  Keepin it real!
1 month ago

Yeah, my lips move. Has your brain moved?

Rick
Rick
1 month ago

I am tired of this right wing rag. I get enough misinformation. Time to unsubscribe.

Thomas
Thomas
Reply to  Rick
1 month ago

I sympathize with you. Not news organization should be allowed to exist that does not confirm the wonders and glories of Socialism. I recommend you subscribe to Pravda or Izvestia.

Keepin it real!
Keepin it real!
Reply to  Rick
1 month ago

It really is like a car wreck on the freeway….horrible, but you can’t take your eyes away. Hahahaha

RonnieRambler
RonnieRambler
Reply to  Rick
1 month ago

Might wanna resubscribe back to your original safe and effective sources.

Thomas
Thomas
1 month ago

Interesting that DeSantis tried to share Florida’s immigrant problem with Martha’s Vineyard and was rebuffed. Which city are we supposed to listen to, Dallas or Martha’s Vineyard? Which one is acting the way the whole country should act?

Maybe we need SOLUTIONS, rather than band-aids for problems created by politicians … problems including INFLATION, DEFICIT SPENDING, JOB LOSS, EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS …

As the old saying goes, “It’s the ECONOMY, stupid!”