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Dallas Houses the Homeless, Saves Taxpayers Money

Grant Whittington headshotWords by Grant Whittington
New Activism
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Dallas is looking to halt chronic homelessness, following the movement recently bolstered by its neighbors in Houston.

Fifty of Dallas’ most chronically homeless residents will move into small cottages in a neighborhood complex expected to feature green recreational space, solar energy and rainwater collection, according to the Corporation for Supportive Housing. Contractors broke ground for the project in mid-April, and those who have struggled most to find housing will finally settle into a home to call their own in November.

Not only is the city sweeping its most costly residents off its streets, but it’s also saving taxpayers money — a projected $1.3 million in total. A chronically homeless person jumping back and forth between prison and emergency health services costs the country nearly $40,000 a year, Keith Ackerman, executive director of Cottages at Hickory Crossingtold the Huffington Post. The cottage-fostering program will slash those prices to less than $13,000.

Dallas isn’t the first city to initiate such a program, and it’s been successful in the past. In 2012, Charlotte, North Carolina, introduced a program through nonprofit Moore Place, which provides homeless people support by way of social workers, therapists, nurses and psychologists while housing them in an 85-unit complex.

Houston joined the movement in early June, vowing to end chronic veteran homelessness over the next three years. The city plans to bring local agencies together to look after the roughly 3,650 homeless veterans.

The $8.2 million project included a partnership from a number of organizations, including the Corporation for Supportive Housing, which pledged a $50,000 grant and another $50,000 loan.

Located just half a mile away from the city, the Cottages at Hickory Crossing will revolutionize the fight against chronic homelessness by targeting those who can’t get out of a vicious cycle. Whether residents suffer from mental illnesses or substance abuse, the cottages give them a place to settle and regain control.

“Looking past the strong research, it just makes sense that someone who is homeless needs a stable place to live before they can really start working on recovery,” said Dallas County director of criminal justice, Ron Stretcher, in a news release.

Image courtesy of the Cottages at Hickory Crossing

Grant Whittington headshotGrant Whittington

Based in Washington, DC, Grant works as a program assistant at SEEP Network, an international development nonprofit. A proud graduate of the University of Maryland, Grant spent four months post-grad living in Armenia where he worked for Habitat for Humanity and the World Food Programme. Grant is passionate about humanitarianism and finding sustainable approaches to international development. He enjoys playing trivia with friends but is still seeking his first victory - he ceaselessly blames his friends lack of preparation.

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