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Poll: Dallas City Council Not Doing Enough to Address Homelessness, Vagrancy

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A homeless encampment | Image by Shutterstock

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A recent poll by The Dallas Express found that nearly 70% of Dallas residents believe their city council members are not doing enough to combat homelessness and vagrancy.

While exact data on homelessness and vagrancy is difficult to ascertain, according to the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance’s (MDHA) 2022 State of the Homeless Address, on “any given night,” there are about 4,000 individuals living on the streets of Dallas.

MDHA is a “backbone organization that leads the development of an effective homeless rehousing system” and began collecting data on Dallas area homelessness and vagrancy in 2015. Its recent data shows that, of those who exited to permanent housing destinations, 22% returned to homelessness or vagrancy within two years, up from 17% in 2019.

Another alarming local statistic MDHA found in its research is that the “chronically homeless” population — those homeless or vagrant for more than a year — effectively doubled from 2020 to 2022, which is in line with a national surge in chronic homelessness and vagrancy since 2016.

MDHA also found that the average number of days a homeless individual in Dallas is on the streets is right at 100.

Keep Dallas Safe (KDS), an organization whose mission is to transform Dallas into “the safest large city in Texas for residents and businesses,” is focused on the city’s growing homelessness and vagrancy crisis.

In email correspondence to The Dallas Express, KDS President Stephen Moitz laid blame for the continuing issue on the City’s failure to enforce the new statewide ban on so-called “urban camping,” which was passed in 2021 by state legislators to combat the rise of homeless and vagrant encampments in Texas cities.

“Each week, KDS photographs and reports over 100 illegal encampments across the city. Unfortunately, we have seen no action on the part of the city,” chided Moitz.

When asked if his organization has any allies in city government in combatting homelessness and vagrancy, Moitz remarked that Mayor Eric Johnson has “given the vagrant problem limited lip service; however, the council as a whole has done nothing to materially address the problem.”

Moitz went on to say that Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax “has been completely inept in this area.”

“The reality is: citizens wanting this issue addressed have no champion in City Hall,” stated Moitz.

With a high percentage of Dallas residents opining that their city council members are not doing enough to address this issue, Moitz believes that there is only one solution: public pressure and political engagement.

“Citizens should engage their council members on why they have failed to act,” he concluded.

The Dallas Express reached out to all the members of the Dallas City Council to discuss the poll findings regarding their approach to homelessness and vagrancy in the city. Only Councilmember Cara Mendelsohn responded, but she referred us to staff, specifically MDHA, for answers.

MDHA did not respond to requests for comment.   

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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Black Senior Citizen
Black Senior Citizen
1 month ago

So glad that I don’t live in the City of Dallas….when I visit friends and family I see the encampments,, they are disgusting….the City government is run by BLACKS so the problem will get worse,, look at any black run area,, they have streets full of pot holes,, run down,, trash filled homes….these government officials are using those positions to fill their bank accounts,, they live in NICE neighborhoods,, their kids go to WHITE PRIVATE SCHOOLS,, it happens in EVERY BLACK run city in the USA,, Chicago, Baltimore,, DC,, just to name a few.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Black Senior Citizen
1 month ago

That’s a pretty narrow outlook. We’ve got homeless encampments up here in Far North Dallas all the way into Plano and Frisco. Typically white areas of the city. Let’s just say that the politicians and city council and TC Brodnax and the mayor are doing nothing about the ever growing homeless population.

Not here for it
Not here for it
Reply to  Black Senior Citizen
1 month ago

What kind of racist sh!t is this? This is the part where you sit your a** down and STFU.

Dallas Citizen
Dallas Citizen
Reply to  Not here for it
15 days ago

Someone (Black Senior Citizen) doesn’t know statistics related to homelessness or that the homeless typically converge on more affluent areas. It’s your ignorance that’s showing. Public libraries still exist…

Last edited 15 days ago by Dallas Citizen
Sue Chester
Sue Chester
Reply to  Black Senior Citizen
29 days ago

Seriously? That is the most skewed racist remark I’ve ever seen in writing.

caseyp
caseyp
Reply to  Black Senior Citizen
29 days ago

It’s not that the city is run by blacks. It’s that the city is run by Democrats. Look at all major cities run by black and white Democrats. They are all the same s*holes.

Dallas resident
Dallas resident
1 month ago

I feel many more will be homeless if they don’t regulate the prices to rent homes & apartments. The cost would be ok IF the property was worth it BUT these apartments are run down and should never pass any codes or inspections. Some may pass but are charging for the area (or because they can) instead of charging for what the property is actually worth. Code inforcement will bother certain homeowners but seem to do nothing about the trashy apartments. Something should be done overall to stop the price gauging

Kimberly Ravelli
Kimberly Ravelli
1 month ago

Corporate America is responsible for the unhoused. The cost of living is unattainable in DFW. A 2 bedroom apartment is $2,500.00

Legal concerned citizen
Legal concerned citizen
1 month ago

I am happy to read Cara Mendelsohn replied. She is my councilwoman and very in tune with trying to help us here in F. N. Dallas. Re-open the mental facilities that were shut down in the Regan era and help them get off the streets and into where most belong. We did not have that issue “back then”.

Cindy
Cindy
28 days ago

What kind of response is is this? You are acting as if these PEOPLE are trash that can be disposed of quickly and easily. Homelessness is complicated. So many stories, so much trauma. Perhaps the City of Dallas should look a little bit south to San Antonio that is doing the right thing. The city leaders there have taken responsible and positive actions by providing rehabilitation, mental health facilities, training and safe shelter for their homeless population and look at the results! Their homeless population has decreased dramatically and now they have people that are healthy and responsible citizens. It was said, “there, only by the grace of God go I.”

It is very sad that our citizens have become so heartless and selfish. Very sad.

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