City Buys Homes For Homeless

The city of Dallas is committing to purchase homes for hundreds of homeless residents, rather than building shelters.
February 2, 2009, 1pm PST | Larry Schooler
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"Though council members haven't yet committed any money to the plan, their vote Wednesday signaled that they intend to use city money to pay for about 500 of the 700 units within the next five years. Federal funds will pay for about 200.

In today's dollars, the cost of the housing ranges from $7.2 million to $18 million. The project also will include about $4 million to provide support services like medical care and drug and alcohol treatment to residents.

Mike Rawlings, Dallas' homeless czar, told the council that providing permanent homes to people on the streets not only helps them but is cheaper for taxpayers in the long run.

'It's important to say to the public that this works,' Rawlings said.

The city has worked aggressively in recent years to tackle homelessness, most notably with construction of The Bridge, a multimillion-dollar downtown homeless center that provides shelter and food with no questions asked.

Hundreds of homeless have already moved from The Bridge into homes, Rawlings said.

The permanent housing element of the city's plan to end homelessness is certain to draw heavy scrutiny, however, both because of its cost and concerns about where the city would place the housing units."

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Published on Thursday, January 29, 2009 in Dallas Morning News
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