Oct 19, 2021 - News

Dallas public-private coalition wants to house 2,700 homeless people

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A coalition of local government and civic leaders is aiming to move 2,700 people experiencing homelessness into housing by October 2023 through a private-public partnership.

  • Much of the public funding, which will go toward housing vouchers, comes from the American Recovery Plan Act.

Why it matters: Dallas rehousing programs have long relied on public funds to pay for rents. The private donations will incentivize landlords to accept government housing vouchers.

  • "With an incentive, landlords are much more likely to take our clients as tenants," said Peter Brodsky, the board chair of the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance.

Private donors met a $10 million fundraising goal this week as part of the $72 million rapid rehousing initiative.

  • Major donors include Bank of America, Communities Foundation of Texas and the Perot Family.

What's happening: More than 600 housing vouchers will go toward domestic violence survivors, families and individuals with significant health issues.

  • An additional 2,000 individuals will receive vouchers to subsidize rent for 12 months.

Context: Like many large cities, Dallas has grappled with ending homelessness and has seen increases in the unsheltered homeless population in recent years.

  • A 2021 census was conducted during the winter storm, which skewed the number of unsheltered people.

By the numbers:

  • 4,105 people in Dallas County were experiencing homelessness during the annual point-in-time count in February.
  • Of those, 1,244 were unsheltered.
  • 37% of those counted had been unsheltered for three years or longer.

The intrigue: Brodsky, MDHA's chair, is a bit of a fixer in Dallas. He's behind the $200 million redevelopment of Red Bird Mall in southwest Dallas, and he was tasked by former Mayor Mike Rawlings with leading the Dallas Animal Commission, which was aimed at addressing the city's loose dog problem.

  • Our thought bubble: If anyone can bring together private interests to help address homelessness in Dallas, it's Brodsky.

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