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Homeless count in Dallas, Collin counties decreases slightly as services kick into high gear

Julissa Estrada, a volunteer with the Collin County Point in Time count, prays with Jeremy Durkins and Jimmy Coleman
Yfat Yossifor
The annual point-in-time count of homeless individuals in Dallas and Collin counties slightly decreased from the previous year.

Housing Forward says it plans to provide rapid rehousing services for as many as 6,000 people in the next two years.

A North Texas nonprofit says it hopes to provide much-needed permanent housing to thousands of people experiencing chronic homelessness in Dallas and Collin counties over the next two years.

Housing Forward, formerly known as the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, said at its annual State of Homelessness address Thursday morning it hoped to expand its rapid rehousing program to 6,000 people by 2025 — about four times as many people who take part in the program now, according to the group.

The program, which pairs homeless individuals with case workers who give them resources to find permanent housing, is known as the Dallas R.E.A.L. Time Rapid Housing Initiative.

The initiative helps remove barriers to housing for people experiencing homelessness by connecting them with services like job training and eliminating barriers to housing, such as application fees.

The organization's progress has attracted investments from the Bezos Day One Fund and a $22.8 million HUD grant to help house unsheltered people, according to Joli Robinson, president and CEO of Housing Forward.

"We know that those impacts and investments really have allowed us to increase our capacity as a system, the increase of case managers in our system," Robinson said.

Along with the expansion, the organization also announced its annual point-in-time count of unhoused people in Dallas and Collin counties. The count is at 4,244 — down from 4,410 people the previous year.

"I think the decrease in the Point in Time Count really is a testament to the very real interventions that we've had around addressing our unsheltered homeless population," said Joli Robinson, president and CEO of Housing Forward.

Housing Forward also noted other trends in their efforts:

  • An 18% increase in people exiting homelessness to permanent housing.
  • A 32% decrease in chronic homelessness since 2022.
  • Housing Forward has hired 80 additional case managers in the past year.
'Be a part of the solution' Volunteers conduct the annual Point-in-Time count

Despite these successes, Robinson said the racial disparities in the homeless population are still notably disproportionate. Black individuals make up 60% of the homeless population despite Black households making up just 24% of the general population.

"I think as we continue to see cost of living, cost of rent and mortgage and all of these other things as they continue to increase, we know that that is going to greatly impact people that are probably already living at the margins," Robinson said.

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Pablo Arauz Peña is the Growth and Infrastructure Reporter for KERA News.