‘Unprecedented’ $22.8 million grant will help unhoused people in Dallas and Collin counties


It also will help provide the services they need to keep from falling back into homelessness.

The award is part of a federal push to reduce unsheltered homelessness by paying for long-term housing and supportive services. It’ll also be used to expand efforts to help people at risk of falling into homelessness to stay housed.

Housing Forward, the nonprofit charged with coordinating homeless response in the region, applied for the funding late last year. It’ll pay for permanent supportive housing, which combines housing subsidies and supportive services for people who aren’t able to stay stably housed and meet their needs on their own. With an aging population, the need for permanent supportive housing is expected to grow.

“As we have seen an increase in our chronically unsheltered population, our community set a goal to significantly reduce those numbers,” said Joli Angel Robinson, Housing Forward’s president and CEO. “This historic funding allows our homeless response system to greatly expand and further that work.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced last year that it would provide new funding to address unsheltered homelessness, which surged across the country as the pandemic made it harder to provide services and do outreach to unhoused people. Locally, the 2021 point-in-time count in Dallas and Collin counties found over 1,000 people who’d been unhoused for more than a year.

The funding is specifically targeted to the most visible homeless populations, including those living in encampments. The federal guidance calls for a focus on racial equity in the efforts and is intended to deepen coordination between service providers and public housing authorities. It includes an additional 4,000 housing vouchers targeted to people experiencing homelessness.

Six organizations in Dallas and Collin counties will receive funding to bring more public supportive housing online, according to Housing Forward. Those are Dallas nonprofits The Bridge, The Stewpot, CitySquare, and Under 1 Roof, as well as The Salvation Army in Plano. Mental health provider Metrocare Services is also getting funding.

Dallas is receiving the third largest grant the department’s first round of grants, which totals $315 million and will go to dozens of communities across the country. HUD also awarded funds to $7.7 million to the Austin area, and $4 million to the statewide effort to address rural homelessness.

The department is expected to announce another round of recipients in the coming weeks. The Tarrant County Homeless Coalition has applied for funding as well, but was not included in the first round of grantees.

“Homelessness is a crisis, and it is solvable. Housing with supportive services solves homelessness. That’s why, for the first time the federal government is deploying targeted resources to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness in unsheltered settings or in rural areas,” HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said.

The new funding comes on the heels of a $72 million regional push to provide a year of housing and services to 2,700 unhoused people. That rapid rehousing program came together after local governments, the Dallas housing authority and nonprofits pooled their one-time federal pandemic relief funds and housing vouchers to launch a coordinated effort with the potential to halve homelessness in Dallas and Collin Counties.

“The City and its partners have demonstrated its ability to deploy successful initiatives to reduce homelessness and this reinforces that the investments and priorities we have undertaken are aligned to the Housing-First principles,” Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax said in a statement. 

Dallas and other local governments around North Texas have also used federal money unleashed during the pandemic to buy old hotels and other buildings to convert into permanent supportive housing.

Got a tip? Christopher Connelly is KERA’s One Crisis Away Reporter, exploring life on the financial edge. Email Christopher at cconnelly@kera.org.You can follow Christopher on Twitter @hithisischris.

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