DALLAS - Dallas leaders approved a big spending plan to help thousands of homeless residents get off the streets and under a roof. Millions of dollars are expected to be invested to combat homelessness.
The Dallas City Council voted in favor of the $72 million plan earlier this week.
It’s aimed at helping people living at homeless encampments and transitional shelters. The goal is to get nearly 3,000 people into apartments by 2023 and pay for a year of their rent.
Most of the money will come from federal stimulus funds given to the city of Dallas and Dallas County.
One of the people on the front lines of this is Pastor Wayne Walker, the executive director at the nonprofit Our Calling. He talked about the plan in an interview on FOX 4’s Good Day.
"It’s 24 months and it gives us a great kind of tourniquet or booster shot to really get caught up with where we need to be for homelessness. It’s going to create a lot of vouchers for people to be able to get into housing, but it really sets a timeline for us. We have 24 months now to actually work on infrastructure, building more housing and build more systems to actually work on the root causes and to create more infrastructure space for people experiencing homelessness," Walker said.
He said local nonprofit organizations like Our Calling plan to use the next year to work on projects like a tiny house community so that people who are in the program can transition to life on their own when their lease is up.
They’re also hoping to improve the services that are available such as mental health services and healthcare.
"You know I hear all the time people say it’s because of drugs, it’s because of mental health issues but really most people become homeless because of poverty. Poverty and crisis and they don’t have a community. And often when they are on the streets, the challenges they are facing makes them want to use drugs, makes them develop mental health issues and that’s an after effect. That’s a collateral damage to just the isolation and the abuse they suffer on the streets," Walker said.
Our Calling has about 20 partners that serve in its facilities to help provide those social services to the homeless. It has been able to get more than 1,400 people off the streets already.
"It’s been really great to see these pieces come together but what’s happening now is we have a bigger inventory of people on the streets and a smaller inventory of places where people can go. And that’s the hope that we can create an opportunity to build something to really move the needle down," Walker said.