DALLAS -- The City of Dallas will be evicting residents of the so-called "Tent City" homeless encampment under Interstate 45 near downtown by early May, city officials said in a news release Thursday.
The homeless encampment was intended to be a stop-gap measure to temporarily provide shelter for about 70 people, but its ranks have now swelled to around 350 people at night.
Cindy Crain, the CEO of Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, advocated for the creation of the tent city last summer. She said her organization erred in not realizing that once word got out that services were being provided there, that more of the city's homeless population would continue to move into the area.
Crain said in the city's news release that moving the homeless from tent city will require "intensive engagement with a thorough needs assessment, connecting to housing resources and case management."
“The solution to this situation will ultimately involve offering people a hand-up and not a hand-out,” Crain said. “This is a growing public safety issue and today’s meeting helped to identify important key areas to focus on, particularly the need to find housing and other resources to help this very vulnerable population."
Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance provided decision makers with best practices on suggested actions based on the experiences of other big cities around the country, though those were not outlined in the city's release. More details on the move will be released in the coming weeks.
The move comes after a homeless man in his 50s was stabbed to death on Tuesday by Bennie Charles Valentine, another resident of the homeless encampment, when he tried to break up a fight. Valentine was arrested and is facing charges of murder and aggravated assault.