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.