The mayor of Dallas wants to create a multi-agency response to the city’s homelessness crisis.
In an interview with our partners at the Dallas Morning News, Mayor Mike Rawlings said that “if the city, county, state and other government agencies buy-in, and if it’s well funded, ‘that’s the way we solve this issue.’”
An issue of homelessness that, according to Jay Dunn, president of The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, is growing.
“We’re certainly seeing an uptick in homelessness and we just need to respond to it,” Dunn said.
There are an estimated 9,000 homeless people living in the city of Dallas, Dunn said, adding that the mayor’s proposal is “one of the more positive things we’ve heard from City Hall in about a decade.”
But how to fund such a solution is the main question.
The mayor’s office has not yet released any specifics.
Dunn, who is also part of the Dallas Commission on Homelessness created in May, said one model they are exploring is Miami, Florida. The city added a 1 percent tax to drinks and meals at certain restaurants in 1992. That money is then funneled into a “homeless trust” to provide shelters and services.
Another source of funding, according to the Dallas Morning News, could be a model similar to how DART operates, collecting a 1 percent sales tax from member cities.
Any given Sunday, you’ll find Lacerro Daniels and three friends handing out hot meals at tent city under Interstate 30 near Haskell.
They use their own money, Daniels said, to make a dent in the homeless crisis.
“It’s really got to be an all-hands-on-deck solution,” Daniels said. “I feel like if we can raise millions to get a new stadium, we can definitely do something about the homeless population.”
Residents of that particular tent city have to be cleared out later this month as the city shutters another encampment.
The Dallas Commission on Homelessness will release its report in November. Dunn said he believes the mayor will formally propose his plan after that.