Organization hopes to help Tent City residents with affordable cottages

People are packing up and moving out of Tent City in Dallas. But those hundreds of homeless people have to go somewhere.

Tent City refers to the area under the Interstate 45 bridge in Downtown Dallas. It started with about a dozen people and mushroomed into 300 living there.

The city of Dallas decided to shut it down because of problems with violence. One section has already been cleared out and all the others are expected to be cleared by May 4.

City leaders have been telling the residents to go to shelters, but many of those 300 people weren’t in a shelter to begin with for a reason.

“Shelters are very crowded and they have a number of rules and regulations in order to keep order. So people don’t have a sense of independence. We all want to be able to have a place to call home,” said CitySquare President and COO John Siburt.

CitySquare hopes to address the issue and the issue of poverty in the city of Dallas. Siburt stopped by Good Day to talk about the plan.

“The answer is more affordable housing,” he said. “If we rallied together as a community and created more affordable housing we could put a big dent in the homeless population.”

The organization is building new housing that will soon open at Hickory Crossing at Interstate 30 and Malcolm X Boulevard. The 50 cottages are small, but affordable and hopefully more appealing than a tent.

CitySquare already has a list of 50 people who are frequently using Dallas city services like the jail and Parkland Hospital. They will be offered the cottages first.

“Taxpayers can spend $40,000 per person that will sleep out on the stoop in front of a business downtown or pay $15,000 a year per person for one of our cottages with mental health services on site,” Siburt said.

The goal is to eventually build at least 2,500 cottages in Dallas, he said.