City officials close homeless encampment near Fair Park

Natalie Solis reports.

As families head to the State Fair of Texas, one thing they're less likely to see on their way there is the city's homeless problem.

An encampment near Fair Park was closed Thursday morning. It was one of several that have been dismantled since April.

Some in the area worry it's just another temporary fix. But city workers say this time is different.

Hazmat crews shoveled the remains of a homeless encampment under I-30, just one block from the fair.

Dave Hogan runs the crisis intervention unit for the Dallas Police Department. He says the closure went smoothly Thursday morning, acknowledging some of the homeless didn't have to go far.

“The people that were there either left, we got them into housing or treatment of some type or they just went across the street right here,” he explained.

The second part of the encampment is scheduled to close in coming weeks. About 60 people will be displaced.

“Who's to say they aren't going to return right back to where they were? Well, we have these signs, and officers are going to enforce those signs,” Hogan said. “But the signs have been up. Why not enforce them from the beginning? The issue was we didn't have enough housing to initially enforce them. That's really the bottom line right there.”

Hogan says they've been working on creating shelter space and looking at other solutions.

One idea is turning the now-empty Dawson State Jail near the Lew Sterrett Justice Center into a homeless facility. But that will take time.

A short distance away under I-45 and MLK Junior Boulevard, there is a smaller encampment. Volunteers with Metro Relief offer soup and essentials.

Jason Kelly says they don't want to give the homeless incentives to stay, but return weekly to gain trust in hopes of breaking the cycle once and for all.

“Break down the walls, the barriers. Find out what really the core problem is,” he said. “Then you can help them get off the street into a rehab place, recovery shelter, anything like that.”

The second part of the encampment is schedule to close October 25; a couple of days after the State Fair is over.


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In - includes advertiser stories