Dallas Rejects Idea Of "Pop Up" Homeless Shelters

Steven Pickering
August 01, 2018 - 4:11 pm

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DALLAS (KRLD) - Officials at Dallas City Hall have strongly rejected a proposal to designate some city recreation centers as temporary homeless shelters. The idea was one of four presented as part of a proposed "Homeless Solution Strategy".

City staffers had identified 25 different city-owned facilities that could potentially be used as homeless shelters in all parts of the city. Reaction from members of the Dallas City Council was overwhelmingly negative.

"No, no, no, no and no," said Dallas City Council Member Sandy Greyson. "I'm never going to support that. I have been buried in e-mails when this came out."

Other Council Members agreed that using rec centers as homeless shelters, even on a limited basis, would be disruptive to existing operations and would generate opposition from surrounding neighborhoods. "It's not going to work," said Council Member Adam Medrano.

Council Supports More Beds

Council Members did offer support for adding beds at two existing homeless shelters - The Bridge and Dallas Life. The plan calls for adding up to 50 beds at The Bridge at a cost of up to $235,000 plus another 100 beds at Dallas Life at a cost of up to $440,000. Those beds could be available beginning in September if the Council approves funding later this month.

Seeking Other Options

Several Council Members have their eye on a former psychiatric hospital in Dallas they believe could be easily converted into a facility for the homeless. The Timberlawn hospital shut down earlier this ear. 

"Let's get on that," said Council Member Lee Kleinman. "This facility has 39,000 square feet of dormitories, it would take a pretty big number of folks that we're trying to house. It has 59,000 square feet of office. The campus is almost 20 acres. Because it's a self-contained area and fenced and secure, we can make sure it doesn't have a negative impact on the neighborhood."

City staffers have begun assessing the site but have not yet begun discussions with the owners about a possible sale.