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Cowtown Launches Program To Combat Homelessness

Homeless camp
Homeless camp | Image by Alex Wichman/Getty Images

In response to a rise in homelessness in Fort Worth, the city is launching a new pilot program that will provide mental health and housing services to those in need.

On March 19, the city council approved a plan to allocate over $1 million in taxpayer money to a five-month program to combat homelessness. The initiative is a joint effort with My Health My Resources of Tarrant County, which will concentrate on areas that have witnessed a surge in homelessness, according to NBC 5 DFW.

Fort Worth has seen the number of homeless in the community more than double in the past two years, from 1,000 in 2021 to nearly 2,500 in 2023, per a city report.

“It actually declined during the height of the pandemic,” Assistant City Manager Fernando Costa said, per NBC 5. “But as the federal eviction moratorium expired and as funds for emergency rental assistance began to decline, we began to see a significant increase in homelessness.”

The city’s new program will use existing resources, such as the HOPE Team, to help identify 80 people in specific high-impact zones who have been homeless for at least two years or who suffer from severe mental illness.

“Our goal is for 70% or more of these folks whom we assist to be able to stay in new housing indefinitely into the future, getting them permanently out of the state of homelessness,” Costa said, reported NBC 5.

As previously reported, a poll conducted by The Dallas Express showed that a majority of Dallas residents think homelessness, panhandling, and vagrancy are serious problems in the metroplex’s flagship city.

For its part, San Antonio saw a 77% reduction in unsheltered homelessness in its downtown area after it opened Haven for Hope, a “one-stop-shop” transformational campus that offers transitional housing, drug counseling, job training, mental health counseling, and other services in one central location. The one-stop-shop model has polled favorably among Dallas residents.

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