Dallas 'Tent City' residents move out ahead of closing

The clock is ticking for Dallas' Tent City where more than 200 people are camping out under the I-45 bridge.

With the city’s looming May 4 deadline to remove everyone from the camp, social service groups are rushing to make room and find places for people to go.

It has been a while since Brad and Amy Anderson slept behind a door that could lock. But on Thursday, they finally will after Dallas Life Shelter offered the married a couple a room they could stay in together.

“The minute they said we could come, we were on our way,” said Brad.

That was all the Andersons said they needed to hear to agree to move out of Tent City.

“It's probably the third time we've had to rebuild our lives,” said Amy. “And we left a lot of that behind.”

At its height, as many as 400 people were camping under the I-45 bridge near downtown Dallas. After two separate homicides earlier this year, the city announced a push to close Tent City with the first section expected to be fenced off on Monday.

“The reality is there's not enough places to go,” said Daniel Roby, Executive Director for Austin Street Center.

Roby said they have increased their capacity over the last year. Even ahead of a full Tent City closure, the emergency shelter fills up every night.

“They'll find other highways to go under,” said Robey. “Some will access shelter capacity that's being added onto the current space that's available, but it definitely is not going to solve the homelessness problem.”

The Andersons aren't sure where some of their former neighbors will end up or how long they themselves will have a place to stay.

“We're keeping our heads up,” said Brad. “This is really a blessing from Reverend Sweeney to let us do this.”

Including the Andersons, Dallas Life says they relocated ten people on Thursday while focusing on veterans and families.

City officials have been given notice about the deadline for several weeks. No trespassing signs were placed around the area Wednesday. Officials plan to close Tent City in sections.

Police do have the ability to make arrests, but the department says it considers that a "last resort.”