DALLAS — A newly-appointed taskforce is charged with exploring strategies and recommendations to address homelessness in the city of Dallas.
Mayor Eric Johnson announced the Taskforce on Homelessness Organizations Policies and Encampments, or HOPE, during a press conference on Thursday, Fe. 16.
The group will spend several months preparing a report and recommendations.
Meantime, the city and its partners will continue to address the complex community issue.
Community advocate Kenneth Winn is among residents who have concerns about the increasing homeless population in the city of Dallas. Winn noticed a homeless encampment, which the city cleared out, is becoming a problem in his Pleasant Grove community again.
In a field off Lake June and Masters, several tents and makeshift shacks are hidden behind some trees. There are massive piles of old clothing and broken appliances, among other items, littering the area.
“I don't mind the homeless people being camped out. It's the trash they bring in," explained Winn.
The area is just one of many homeless encampments creeping closer to residential areas across Dallas. It’s a community issue that’s top of mind for many neighbors and city leaders.
“This, simply put, is not an easy problem to solve,” Mayor Johnson said. “I'm officially creating the Mayor's Taskforce on Homelessness Organizations Policies and Encampments.
Johnson said the 10-member HOPE taskforce will be responsible for finding and recommending concrete solutions to reduce homelessness and encourage healthier and safer communities.
“Nothing is off the table,” said Peter Brodsky, one of the taskforce commissioners.
“Hopefully, we will come out of the box with some alternative housing solutions,” added taskforce commissioner Betty Culbreath.
HOPE has until June, 15, 2023, to produce a report of recommendations.
Winn said he’s remaining optimistic the taskforce is going to help.
“I pray that it does,” sighed Winn.
As for the large encampment near Lake June and Masters Road, Winn said the city advised it will address that area in the coming days.