Renewed calls for homeless housing after downtown Dallas attack

There are renewed calls for finding a housing solution for the homeless in Dallas after a Sunday attack on women in downtown.

Branden Holbert, 22, remains in jail not only on the assault charges from Sunday, but also on four outstanding arrest warrants for drug charges.

Dallas officials say they plan to re-double face to face contact with those who appear to be part of the city's homeless population.

 “We have to strengthen our outreach efforts so that we actually know who is homeless versus those that may be panhandlers or others that hang out during the day,” said Charletra Sharp, Sr. Manager, City Of Dallas Housing.

The most recent annual homeless count says 2,700 have no place to call a home of their own in Dallas. Some 900 of those aren't in shelters, but find their way to tent cities that pop up.

Those tent cities grow for weeks or months before being pushed down, forcing those people into downtown or nearby neighborhoods.

Officials say they have a working list of people who move from place to place and what barriers they face to permanent housing.

For some, the barriers aren’t just physical. Estimates are 14 percent of those on the streets have mental health issues or are controlled by addiction to drugs -- like K2.

City officials say giving money to panhandlers is discouraged.

“Sometimes if you’re just handing out a dollar or handing out $2, even if that individual does indeed use that for food, that’s just food for that meal versus connecting them to more long term resources,” Sharp said.

Sharp and others plan trips to places like Seattle, San Francisco and San Antonio to see what success those cities are having housing homeless.

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