Jul 25, 2022 - News

Activists delay clearing of homeless encampments in South Dallas

A photo of a tent under a highway
There are encampments throughout Dallas. Photo: Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

Activists delayed the city's planned clearing of a homeless encampment under Interstate 45 in South Dallas on Friday, a week after delaying the closure of another encampment.

Why it matters: The City of Dallas has received nearly 700 calls in the past month about homeless encampments scattered throughout the city.

  • Reducing homelessness is among the top priorities for city manager T.C. Broadnax, who is still on the job after recent complaints from council members about his performance on a broad range of issues.

What happened: About 40 people gathered outside an encampment Friday morning at Coombs Street to block city marshals and other city staff from moving people's belongings.

  • Notices were sent in advance telling people to move their tents and other items to allow the city to clean the area, per the Dallas Morning News.
  • A week earlier, activists asked for more time before shutting down another encampment that was on private property at Parnell and Gould streets. They were given the weekend, according to a city memo.

State of play: Last year, civic leaders launched a public-private partnership with the goal of housing 2,700 people experiencing homelessness by October 2023, using private funds to incentivize landlords to accept government housing vouchers.

  • Street outreach workers visited encampments to match people with housing options.

By the numbers: Since September, 927 individuals have been moved into housing through the rapid rehousing program, according to figures from the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance.

  • Of the approximately 50 people at the Gould Street encampment, two were taken to day shelters and four were assisted by Veteran Affairs.
  • And the city has reduced its backlog of requests to clean homeless encampments from 375 to 212.

What we're watching: The city plans to increase the number of encampments that street outreach workers visit to match people with social services and shelter options.

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