Homeless people seen sleeping on Dallas overpass; city launches new plan to help

New strategy to help homeless in Dallas

All you have to do is drive through the streets of Downtown Dallas to see the magnitude of the homeless problem.

"The problem is growing in leaps and bounds,” said Titia Owens.

Almost every night you will find people sleeping in places you would not have seen them before. Images show dozens of people sleeping on an overpass at I-30 and St. Paul.

Titia Owens knows the problem well. She runs a non-profit called, "Where are You?" to help the homeless.

“When those people came from Houston, they did set up the convention center for them to have a place to stay, but there are people right here in Dallas Texas that are living on the streets,” said Owens.

There are dangers to the public when the homeless don't get help. Recently two women were stabbed by a homeless man in downtown.

"We are asking for more violence, we are asking for more destruction because when people hit hard times, they take things into their own hands,” said Owens.

The City of Dallas has heard the cry for help. They're trying something new. There is a new office called the Office of Homeless Solutions, when they go clean up homeless encampments. They will create a human catalog of the homeless.

It’s estimated there are anywhere from 175 to 200 homeless encampments at any given time.

"So when we go in, we want to know who they are by name and want to know what is their story, what is their history and how can we best help them,” said Nadia Chandler Hardy, the Chief of Community Services.

The city will increase their street outreach from 4 to 12 social workers, and put more Dallas police on foot patrols in downtown and in the entertainment districts.

The city will provide emergency shelter, and mental and physical health services plus drug intervention programs.

"At any given time, it could be any of us that could be in that situation. If it were me, what type of support, what type of services would we expect from our community to do for us?” said Hardy.

Titia Owens, who was once lived out of her car and now is a successful business woman, says she knows how a helping hand can change a life. 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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