Program To Combat Cowtown Homelessness Explained

Fort Worth Homeless
Fort Worth Homeless | Image by NBC 5 DFW

The Fort Worth City Council has approved spending for a 17-month pilot program to address the mental health services and housing struggles of those experiencing homelessness in targeted areas.

My Health My Resources (MHMR) is under contract with Fort Worth to implement the program, which is scheduled to run from May 1, 2024, to September 30, 2025, reported The Texan.

MHMR “is the second-largest community center in Texas,” according to the website. Its clinical and administrative professional staff offers services in fields such as mental health, addiction, criminal justice, homelessness, and veteran support.

The organization is part of Tarrant County’s Continuum of Care Program, which is “designed to develop supportive housing and services that will allow homeless persons to live as independently as possible,” per its website.

The approved program spending of taxpayer money for fiscal year 2024 is just shy of $1.1 million. The Fort Worth City Council is expected to approve another round of spending next fiscal year amounting to $2.2 million, per The Texan.

The City of Fort Worth noted that the “pilot program is a way to direct resources in a targeted way to reduce issues in seven areas initially identified as hard hit.”

During a special workshop on homelessness issues in February, Tara Perez, the direction home manager for Fort Worth’s Neighborhood Service Department, said one goal of the program is to put up homeless housing projects “throughout the city… sticking very closely to public transportation.”

The seven targeted areas for the pilot program are as follows, per the city’s website:

  • Camp Bowie West/Las Vegas Trail
  • Seminary/La Gran Plaza/Hemphill
  • Downtown
  • Near Southside
  • Historic Southside/Near Eastside
  • Beach Street intersections – from E. Lancaster to N. Tarrant Parkway
  • Northside/Stockyards

Referred individuals are offered “low barrier housing and voluntary case management,” and “housing assistance for up to 40 people will be provided,” per the city’s website. The program’s performance measurement is that “at least 70% of those offered housing enter housing within six months.”

Participants who require more assistance with severe mental health needs would be transitioned to the Housing First Assertive Community Treatment Team.

Nearby Dallas is also experiencing issues with homelessness. A poll previously conducted by The Dallas Express shows that more than 75% of Dallas residents are dissatisfied with the levels of homelessness, vagrancy, and panhandling in their neighborhoods and throughout the city.

Cities such as San Antonio have seen success with a “one-stop-shop” approach to combating homelessness. The model has been credited with a 77% reduction in unsheltered homelessness in the city’s downtown area. The one-stop-shop approach has polled favorably among Dallas residents; however, it is unclear if City officials will give the model a try.

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