The Dallas Express recently polled Dallas residents on a host of topics about the city, its challenges, and potential solutions. Frustration with the city’s current state regarding crime and homelessness became an apparent theme.
When asked if they felt that “homelessness and/or vagrancy” was a “serious problem” for the city, Dallas residents overwhelmingly responded “yes.” A review of the demographic breakdown of the respondents to that question revealed that a staggering 86% of Dallas residents who self-identified as black or Hispanic had answered in the affirmative.
In an email correspondence with The Dallas Express, Stephen Moitz, president of Keep Dallas Safe (KDS), expressed that he felt that the city has “abandoned these vulnerable populations.”
He argued that black and Hispanic residents “bear the brunt of Dallas’ failed vagrant population policies, or lack thereof.”
“Dallas has refused to articulate and implement any policy in regards to their vagrant population, so the first thing KDS would like to see is a written policy,” continued Moitz. “Citizens deserve to know what to expect from the City.”
Moitz believes that centralizing the location of all services for homeless individuals, as has been done in San Antonio, is a good “model” to emulate here.
“It would allow this population access to the needed services all in one location, and increase the safety for all Dallas residents by removing vagrants from every corner,” Moitz remarked.
In November 2021, the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) publically released a study conducted by the Center for Social Innovation (C4) in Needham, Massachusetts, that analyzed the so-called “racial equity” of homelessness in the area.
The study, originally conducted in 2018, found that while black residents made up only 19% of Dallas’ population, they represented 67% of all homeless individuals in the city.
While black people were overrepresented within the homeless population, Hispanic and white people were underrepresented, accounting for only 11% and 30% of homeless individuals, respectively.
Why this disparity exists has been the subject of much review and deliberation by MDHA, which created a steering committee in 2019. The committee was in charge of a “racial equity plan of action.”
The committee’s latest report stated, “The knowledge of the systems that created the overrepresentation of persons of color in homelessness is strong, tolerance for this overrepresentation is low, and resistance to it is widespread.”
Moitz expressed in closing that he felt that the city government has failed to prioritize lower-income and more diverse areas of town.
He admonished, “The results speak for themselves. City Hall takes care of North Dallas, but they have shown complete disregard for the black and Hispanic populations of Dallas.”
Yes, I am white which is a minority in Dallas and I believe homelessness and vagrants are a problem! Why does it have to be about race? When a person is homeless why does their race matter? Why can’t we help them all? Why must you try to divide us by race instead of addressing the problem? We are ALL of the human race and need and deserve safe, affordable housing!
Hey Laurie I think what the author was trying to convey is that not only are the majority of homeless and vagrants black and Hispanic but that they are more visible and in larger numbers hanging around black and Hispanic neighborhoods. We feel it more so than the majority of white minorities in Dallas. North Dallas seems to not be affected as much as the southern parts of Dallas. I can attest to it as I myself live in the southern part.