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Lindsay Diaz and her son stand in what's left of their home after tornadoes tore through North Texas on Dec. 26, 2015.KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.The problem's known as asset poverty, and it doesn’t discriminate. A job loss, health emergency, even legal trouble can be enough to plunge a third of our friends and neighbors into financial distress. One Crisis Away puts a human face on asset poverty and the financial struggles of people in North TexasExplore the series so far and join the KERA News team as they add new chapters to One Crisis Away in the months to come.One Crisis Away is funded in part by the Communities Foundation of Texas, Allstate Foundation, the Texas Women's Foundation, The Fort Worth Foundation, The Thomson Family Foundation, and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

In 2016, More Homeless In Dallas And Collin Counties, In Shelters And On The Street

Maureen Barlin

The homeless population in Dallas and Collin counties is up 24 percent from last year. That’s according to officials at Tuesday’s annual State of the Homeless address.

Hundreds of volunteers counted the homeless back in January. They found about 3,900 people in shelters and on the streets. That’s up from about 3,100 last year.

This year’s count found 739 people living on the streets. That’s up from 363 last year. 

Among the issues discussed at the State of the Homeless address: “Tent City.”  That’s the 300-person homeless encampment under the Interstate 45 bridge near downtown.

The city plans to shut down the camp by early May partly because of recent violence and public health concerns.

Relocating Won't Happen Overnight

Cindy Crain with Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance says relocating all those people is going to take a lot of work.

“Every individual we have to ask ‘what’s your housing plan’ and piece together an income, piece together ID, piece together a health care regime, how are we going to take care of you and where are we going to go? And that takes a lot of time, and even more importantly it takes a lot of trust," she says.

Crain says homeless people can’t be expected to make an appointment in an office for services, the service providers need to come to them.

Which means Dallas County and Collin County need qualified case managers on the job and effective street outreach workers on the ground.