15 Acres Purchased for Homeless Housing

Hands of homelessness poor man holding the paper house, hope to have a family home and warm home | Image by Jub-Job, Shutterstock

The City of Fort Worth is moving to purchase housing for homeless families in a seeming commitment to Housing First policies that have been referred to by some as “doomed to failure.”

The Fort Worth Housing Corporation’s nonbinding purchase offer to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary was accepted earlier this month, according to a City press release.

“This project is a perfect example of Fort Worth’s commitment to families and ensuring every child has the support they need to be successful,” said Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker.

The 15-acre property has 140 units that could house families. The purchase is expected to cost about $11 million. However, several nonprofits have pledged to contribute funds because the project is a public-private partnership.

“As we face a crisis of family homelessness across the country, we are fortunate in Fort Worth to have nonprofit and philanthropic partners that are committed to working alongside the City to ensure we are investing in the needed housing and services for our most vulnerable,” said Mayor Parker.

One Safe Place committed to raising $5 million, while $1.1 million will be contributed by Rainwater, Morris, Amon Carter, and Sid Richardson foundations. The Paulos Foundation has committed $800,000.

Tarrant County Samaritan House could contribute $4.1 million. However, that money would come from federal funds awarded to the organization by the City of Fort Worth.

Sarah Greer, program officer of Rainwater Charitable Foundation, said, “This project will leverage community partnerships, an accessible location and existing infrastructure to provide affordable housing coupled with supportive services and neighborhood amenities to help families thrive.”

The City said some of the units could be leased before the end of the year.

This project will transform lives, build stronger families, and improve outcomes for our most vulnerable children,” said Fort Worth City Councilmember Elizabeth Beck, District 9.

She added that it will “provide housing for families experiencing homelessness and a stable refuge for survivors of domestic violence, complete with the wraparound services needed for families to heal and build the resiliency needed to chart a path forward to bright futures in our community.”

While local municipalities, including the City of Dallas, continue to purchase housing for the homeless, studies have shown that “Housing First” solutions are ineffective in solving homelessness and vagrancy.

A report published last year by The Center on Wealth & Poverty at the Discovery Institute indicates that “Housing First” solutions may be “doomed to failure” because they “begin with an inadequate diagnosis of the cause” and ignore underlying causes such as mental illness and drug abuse.

The homelessness support model favored by Dallas residents is that of the successful Haven for Hope in San Antonio — a one-stop-shop for homeless support services in a single geographic location. The City of Dallas has not yet used this approach.

Homelessness and vagrancy have worsened to critical levels in Dallas over recent years. Polling conducted by The Dallas Express found that over 60% of Dallas residents believe that “homelessness, vagrancy, and panhandling” are “serious problems in Dallas.”

Another survey found that 76% of those living downtown believe that “homelessness is a significant issue,” comparing the situation in Dallas to cities like Austin, Houston, Chicago, and New York City.

Many vagrants continue to willingly live on the street and reject the services offered by the City and local nonprofits.

Consequently, the City discourages residents from giving money to panhandlers, saying that “giving money without offering support could make matters worse.”

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  1. Bill

    The problem with the homeless in Dallas and other cities is that people give money to these folks and thats the reason they stay where they are.If they didnt have money or food they would go elsewhere. Its like welfare Once you get on it you dont get off of it.

  2. John Gault

    The “Housing First” approach hasn’t worked in other cities so why in he** are they doing this in Ft Worth? Show me a single city that has tried this housing first approach where it has worked. Surveys have shown time and time again most homeless DO NOT want to live in a structured environment where there are rules and regulations they must follow. They prefer the streets to a roof over their heads.
    Politicians tug at your heart strings mentioning how it will help the children. The fact is the there are very few families with children that are homeless since a vast amount of the homeless population are single males.
    Without treatment and mental health coupled with housing this project will fail like all the others. Just take a weekend off and go to LA. You will see the failure in person of the housing first approach.

    • Don M

      To solve an issue of any type you must first determine the primary causative factor(s).
      Lack of housing is not a causative factor, it is a result, so providing same will not solve the problem.
      Typical governmental ineptitude.

      • Charlie

        Mental Illness and addictions don’t cause homelessness. Many millions of people who have mental illness and addictions maintain their housing. But no one can maintain housing if they can’t afford it. The gap between incomes and housing affordability is increasing and that means more people are forced into homelessness. Housing they can afford is the solution to their homelessness.

        • Michael P Hammer

          There are different levels of mental illness and addiction. Some addicts are functional and others are in a zombie state. The same with mental illness.

        • Pap

          Well, I guess they can afford it, if it’s free.

    • Charlie

      Look at Houston’s experience using Housing First. It has reduced homelessness by over 60% Housing First is a concept that has proven to work. Many cities struggle with homelessness, not because of Housing First, but because they have failed to organize policy makers, service providers and funders into a single community wide system with common goals and best in class programs. Dallas has learned from Houston’s success and is now implementing the same approach.

    • Layla Corleone

      To house the illegals. The baptist church and others have been footing the bill for Transportation and housing for over 2 years. They say homeless so we will donate. But I’m betting it’s for the illlegals to be housed in Texas.

  3. Bret

    Homelessness has been a problem since forever. Not once has government fixed homelessness since forever. The only fix government can do is ease up on taxes and mandates and allow businesses to do their thing. If the economy is flourishing then jobs are available. The ones left on the streets are the lazy ones and the mentally disturbed. Help them if they want and criminalize the others. Problem mostly solved. Never will this problem completely go away. Also may want to give them a free ride CA. They like them there.

  4. Djea3

    Spending taxpayer money on extremely low return investments makes no sense. The better way to deal with this is to get government completely out of all welfare programs and reduce the taxation may that amount.
    Prior to the Great Depression, churches and non-profit volunteer groups handled all these issues. When the democrats created the social programs of the depression era, they began to create government agencies and tax to do the same thing that non-profit did. They also used the non-profits, however, in doing so they required that every non-profit give up its religious and other base and beliefs in order to receive local and federal funding.
    Time to get the feds and states out of the picture and no longer place tax money into black holes. The difference in the old days was that the churches and nom-profits would help, but if that person did not try to help themselves and become a productive member of society, then they no longer would get any help from anyone.
    That is how we need to begin to change the system. If you want help and want to become productive, great, we will help. If you think this is a hand out without consequence you can starve and sleep in the ice and snow.

  5. Bill

    Spending a single cent on the homeless is throwing money down a hole. Helping the homeless only brings in more homeless people and makes the problem bigger. Cut them off from all services and let the cards fall where they may.

  6. Hel

    11 million Dollars for just 140 houses? Isn’t that a bit expensive? Instead of waisting taxpayers’ money why not address the real problem of homelessness which in most cases involves single individuals. Those you need to get off the street; stop them from making a nuisance of themselves by littering, defecting, and stepping out in the road to beg. Folks, don’t give those beggars a dime. As long as you give, they will foul your neighborhood.

    • Michael P Hammer

      The mentally ill and junkies should be housed in abandoned schools and military barracks.

    • Pap

      Just like a stray cat or dog…if you feed them, they keep coming back. Although I have more sympathy for a dumb animal. Humans have brains and more capabilities that helpless animals.

  7. R H


    DallasLife is what a real homeless program looks like, one that truly helps them get off the street and back with families and into society. If they had the kind of money Dallas has been throwing away at the homeless problem they could graduate more into society than they do each year. This is where Dallas should be sinking their homeless money, into a proven program that already exists in Dallas for a better life for the homeless and a better Dallas.

  8. Steve

    I see no problem here as long as it’s close to the Mayor’s house

    • Pap


  9. Pap

    $11M for 140 little houses? Oh wait, I guess they’ll be furnishing the houses as well, and buy them clothes, appliances and a couple of pets. And they’ll probably need to supply their food. Then who’s going to pay the utilities and do the mowing? It’s going to cost the taxpayers a lot more than $11M. Inside of a year, it will look like sh*t. Would have been better to build an apartment type warehouse with stairs where they can build up, buying less property. The governments need to do something about the economy, so that more citizens don’t end up on the streets. And you gotta know that the sudden mass amount of homeless are a lot of the illegals crossing the border. El Paso is a mess.


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