Dallas City Leaders Request Day Labor Centers

City Manager says plans could be 8 months away.

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Day labor centers could be open soon in Dallas. City council members told city manager T.C. Broadnax Wednesday in a city budget meeting to come up with plans. 

The centers could follow the example of Plano’s day labor center on Ozark Drive near Central Expressway and a DART Rail station.

The Plano center has been open since 1994.

Plano Housing and Community Services Manager Shanette Eaden said it is a success.

“We no longer have people standing on our streets, stopping at a stop light, trying to have a conversation with a contractor, trying to decide if they can do the work a contractor wants. They have one location to go to here in our city,” she said.

Some homeless people were near the center Thursday attracting Plano Police attention. Eaden said most of the day laborers are not homeless.

“In these times when people have been laid off from their jobs and they're just looking for some way to bring home funds to their family so they can survive, the day labor center has worked out tremendously,” she said.

Dallas City Council Member Cara Mendelsohn said she has visited the Plano center many times.

“It’s a great center. I absolutely support the idea of a model that’s similar,” Mendelsohn said.

Dallas City Councilman Jesse Moreno suggested including $500,000 for day labor centers in a new Dallas budget to be effective in October.

“I know many of us have seen day laborers behind gas stations, grocery stores. This will give individuals an opportunity to a clean safe environment,” Moreno said.

There was strong support among the Dallas leaders for the concept, but they declined to earmark money until there are details about locations and cost.

“I see this as workforce development, public safety. And I would hope that whatever process we decide to go, that we have some immediacy about it because it is a vulnerable population and they’re being victimized,” Council Member Gay Donnell Willis said.

City Manager T.C. Broadnax said staff will come back with answers, but it will take some time.

“And it will be a long landing strip, probably six to seven, eight months,” he said.

Councilman Casey Thomas said Dallas needs two day labor centers, one in the north and one in the south.

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