As the city of Dallas struggles to find a solution to the skyrocketing number of homeless people living on the streets, one unique Dallas neighborhood is seeing a lot of success stories.
A community of tiny houses just south of Deep Ellum is entering its second year. While traditionally people have tried to help the homeless with temporary shelters, The Cottages at Hickory Crossing are designed to be permanent homes for people who've had anything but permanency in their lives.
Phillip Craig is one of about 50 residents in The Cottages who has gone from living on the streets to living life.
"I'm an alcoholic. I got strung out on drinking every day. Staying drunk every day. Became homeless a couple of years, bouncing around. CitySquare got in touch with me somehow. I don't know how that happened,” he recalled. “I've been here one year. I moved in last September. I’m happy here. It stabilized my life.”
If you're wondering what's the incentive for this kind of homeless housing and medical care, CitySquare President John Siburt say it all comes down to cost.
"The notion here is it's more cost effective to house homeless people and surround them with services than to go in and out of the hospital the jails,” he said.
CitySquare estimates that the average homeless person on the street was costing Dallas County $40,000 a year. CitySquare is able to provide housing for $15,000 a year. For 50 residents, that's an estimated savings of $1.25 million a year.
Chester Anderson says his tiny house is the first home he's ever really had.
“Thru my adolescence I was depressed. Thru my adulthood, I got into trouble and started using drugs,” he said. “This place and home is a Godsend.”
CitySquare admits that about 15 percent of their residents go back to life on the street. But for the rest, the tiny homes are huge.
Half of the residents living at The Cottages have lived there since the neighborhood opened two years ago this month. The operators see that as a big success.