DALLAS — Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says the biggest challenge facing his county in 2022 will be the same as 2020 and 2021. And he says tackling COVID is the key to having an economically strong and happy new year.
“It should be team human versus the virus. We just need to listen to the doctors,” he said on Inside Texas Politics.
Jenkins says he’ll continue to push vaccination efforts and the county will have plenty of clinics available to help citizens get shots in their arms. And the judge says he’ll continue to push for measures that keep residents safe, even if it means going against the governor and spending his days in court.
One thing the judge stressed on Inside Texas Politics, though, is that it isn’t all bad news heading into 2022. Jenkins says Dallas County will be making an “unprecedented investment” in mental health next year.
“We’re going to build more inpatient facilities, more telemedicine, hire more doctors, make sure that if you need it, you got it,” Jenkins said.
Other 2022 projects for the county include expanding the “RIGHT Care” program, which provides teams of mental healthcare specialists to respond to 911 calls relating to a mental health crisis.
Jenkins says the county will also focus on tutoring programs to help kids catch up after falling behind during the pandemic. And he says the county will be spending unprecedented amounts on infrastructure, now that Congress passed that bill and federal dollars will begin flowing in.
“Some of the projects are really cool like the 55-mile loop, hike and bike trail around Dallas. And some of them are about congestion mitigation,” Jenkins said.
One growing problem facing Dallas County and many other Texas communities is housing affordability. Jenkins says the county will continue to try to take down buildings it owns and replace them with affordable housing.
“We’re partnering with private business to put affordable housing up,” he said. “We’ve got a project going up right behind where the old Oak Cliff sub courthouse used to be over off 12th and Zang and that will house hundreds of families.”
More on “RIGHT Care” teams: RIGHT Care Team - Rapid Integrated Group Healthcare Team (dallascityhall.com)