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Dallas Officials’ Lack Of Oversight Aggravated City’s Homelessness Problem, Audit Says

Stephanie Kuo
People experiencing homelessness gather inside The Stewpot in Dallas for "community court" to resolve tickets for minor offenses.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Dallas officials respond to homelessness audit; more Texans could be uninsured; meet the Harvey evacuees making a new life in Dallas-Fort Worth; and more.

A lack of oversight has worsened Dallas’ homelessness problem, an internal audit has concluded.

City officials have not monitored the people and agencies tasked with helping the homeless, like Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, which has lead homeless-relief efforts in the city for over a decade. The lack of oversight of the nonprofit has left possibly millions on the table that could have gone to helping the homeless, according to the audit.

The Dallas Morning News reports: “City auditor Craig Kinton's lengthy report, sent to the City Council Friday night, said MDHA's recently implemented centralized database, called a Homeless Management Information System, is incomplete and failed to take into account the varying needs of the homeless service providers, chief among them The Bridge downtown, which serves some 7,000 people annually.”

City officials says the audit confirms what they already knew, and they’re already implementing changes.

"From my understanding of previous audits, and not just in the homeless area, it's clear we don't always cross our t's and dot our i's and our policies and processes are sometimes lacking," said City Manager T.C. Broadnax. "I look forward to implementing the things that were recommended and we agreed to, and working more closely with our providers and our own internal departments to do a better job at how we deal with homelessness in this community."

According to the Morning News: “The city has already seen, since 2013, its unsheltered population quadruple to 1,087. Meanwhile, the city's homeless population, which stands at 3,789, increased by only about 600 people in that time.”

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  • Open enrollment: The window to buy health insurance through the federal government closes Friday. Texas enrollment numbers are up from this time last year, but with the enrollment period cut in half, more Texans could go uninsured. [Texas Tribune]

  • Mass transport: Dallas has a ways to go in providing more accessible public transportation to people across the city who need it most. A new report explores the affordability, coverage area, frequency and accessibility of Dallas’ mass transit. [KERA News]

  • After the flood: When Hurricane Harvey hit in August, just under 4,000 people sought shelter in North Texas. More than 100 families decided to stay and start a new life. KERA’s Courtney Collins introduces us to a few of those families in our latest series. [KERA News]

  • “Congratulations”: Grapevine’s Austin Richard Post, known to millions as Post Malone, had the most-watched music video among American audiences this year. [Texas Monthly]

The High Five is KERA’s daily roundup of stories from Dallas-Fort Worth and across the state. Explore our archives here. And sign up for our weekly email for the North Texas news you need to know.