homelessness | KERA News

homelessness

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

For more than a dozen years, volunteers have walked through Dallas neighborhoods in midwinter to count people living on the streets.

This year, for the first time, some of the groups were specifically looking for anyone younger than 24. The thing is many of those people don’t actually consider themselves homeless.

Mike Moran, the principal at Bryan Adams High School in Dallas, says oftentimes when students are homeless, they're too embarrassed to tell anyone.

"A lot of times it is revealed that there's a temporary living situation, they're in a motel, they're now staying with an aunt and uncle," he says.

Principal Moran has heard similar stories about 50, or so, kids at his school, just one of dozens of high schools in the district. That's why Dallas schools have put something called a drop-in center at nearly every high school in the district.

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

On Thursday, hundreds of volunteers will descend onto Dallas and Collin County streets to count the number of people sleeping outside as part of the annual homeless “point-in-time” count, organized by the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance

Steph / KERA News

Flu season has been especially severe this year in North Texas. Earlier this month, the Walgreens flu index ranked Dallas-Fort Worth the seventh most active metropolitan area in the country, prompting area hospitals to push flu prevention more than usual.

But those reminders can often miss the most vulnerable in the community – so a roving flu clinic in Fort Worth is closing the gap.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

On Martin Luther King's birthday, with a winter storm looming, volunteers at a mosque in Richardson spent a day of service assembling and handing out hygiene kits for homeless folks.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax is now in his second year on the job. In his first 12 months, the city passed a billion-dollar bond package, killed the controversial Trinity Parkway project, hired a new police chief, and replaced some of the city's top brass. 

garryknight / Flickr

In a scathing report released last week, a Dallas auditor criticized the city’s response to its growing homeless problem, saying city officials have done a poor job keeping track of the agencies that are tasked with helping the homeless.

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Dallas officials respond to homelessness audit; more Texans could be uninsured; meet the Harvey evacuees making a new life in Dallas-Fort Worth; and more.

On a single night in January, 23,548 people experienced homelessness in Texas, a 1.8 percent increase over last year, according to the latest national estimate by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Marquan Ellis was evicted from his home in Las Vegas, Nevada when he was 18.

His mother battled with a drug and gambling addiction while he stayed at his godmother's house. But he couldn't stay there forever.

He found his way to the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth where he enrolled in the independent living program.

Alexandra Arriaga / The Texas Tribune

Gage Kemp was 17 when he first became homeless.

“The home I grew up in, there was a lot of drug abuse and violence, and I got bullied a lot,” Kemp said. “My parents were on hard drugs, and my dad told me to get out. It was in that moment I realized I was free, in a sense.”

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Once a year, the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers and The Stewpot downtown host “community court.” It’s an opportunity for homeless people to trade in tickets for community service, tickets issued for riding DART trains and buses without paying, for jaywalking — relatively minor offenses.

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Many agencies are rejecting a one-size-fits-all approach to solving homelessness. The Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance has set a goal to cut the Dallas area population of chronic, veteran and elderly homeless in half by next summer.

Dennis Culhane from the University of Pennsylvania specializes in the modern homelessness crisis, and explains why securing housing is uniquely challenging for seniors.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Five years ago, the Dallas Independent School District opened its first drop-in center for students at North Dallas High School. The campus sits near homeless shelters and pricey apartments, and has one of the largest homeless high school populations in the city.

Since then, high school drop-in centers have multiplied across the school district to 20.

Christina Broussard was trapped in her grandmother's living room for three days during Hurricane Harvey. Rain poured through the ceiling in the bathrooms and bedrooms.

Broussard's a student at Houston Community College. Her grandmother is 74 and uses a wheelchair.

"We had peanut butter, tuna, crackers, we had plenty of water," she remembers. "We were hungry, but we managed. We tried to make light jokes about it — we said we were on a fast." And to pass the time? "We prayed."

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Sarah Matteson, who works at Texas Woman's University in Denton, helps “nontraditional” students get through college. Students range from homeless kids and those who were in foster care or the military to parents raising young children.

When Matteson entered school, she was nontraditional herself.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

The Dallas Street Choir just returned from a whirlwind tour through New York City and Washington D.C., performing four times and seeing all the sites. For many members, a trip like this was a first — because they all happen to be homeless.

On the south side of Dallas, Nena Eldridge lives in a sparse but spotless bungalow on a dusty lot. At $550 each month, her rent is just about the cheapest she could find in the city.

After an injury left her unable to work, the only income she receives is a $780 monthly disability check. So she has to make tough financial choices, like living without running water.

Paul Moseley / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

A new report shows the number of people who are homeless in Tarrant and Parker Counties has not changed much over the past year. The Tarrant County Homeless Coalition released its annual homeless count on Thursday. It found 1,924 people living on the streets or in shelters, 14 fewer than last year.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Texas ranks third in the country for the highest number of homeless students in public schools, and research suggests these kids fall behind academically because they’re prone to more health problems.

The empty lot at the corner of Red River and Seventh streets turned into a village of services for people experiencing homelessness Saturday. Around 350 people living on the streets were able to get everything from a shower to yoga lessons at the Pop-Up Care Village. 

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

A new report shows the total number of people who are homeless in Dallas and Collin counties hasn’t changed much since last year – but that certain types of homelessness are on the rise. 

Courtney Collins / KERA news

While people regularly give coats and outgrown shoes to those in need, homeless shelters—and the women who live there—are often without essentials like bras and feminine hygiene products.

A grassroots effort called Support The Girls is trying to change that.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

City and county leaders in Dallas Tuesday announced a partnership of organizations focused on tackling homelessness. Their appointees will work with nonprofits and private groups to strengthen the efforts.

Courtesy of Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance

In January, the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance led its annual homeless count. The final numbers aren't in, but advocates say they expect the numbers should be similar to last year’s – including the fact that in Dallas, the homeless population is disproportionately black.

Javier Giribet-Vargas / KERA News

On Sundays, along a busy highway near Fair Park, about 20 homeless people gather under a large tent for a church service. They pray with and listen to Raul Mendez.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

A big city library has turned around the way it handles some of its most marginalized visitors. The Dallas Public Library has committed to not just tolerating—but welcoming—every homeless person who walks through the door.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The Dallas Commission on Homelessness recently published a 51-page report recommending strategies to tackle the city's significant homeless issue. 

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

In Dallas, homelessness has been in the headlines in recent months. The homeless population is going up and the city has been struggling with solutions. KERA’s Stephanie Kuo has been following this issue for many months, and she talked with Eric Aasen.

As Dallas Struggles With Poverty, Landlord Plans Abrupt Closures

Oct 6, 2016
Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

Dallas City Hall is scrambling to keep hundreds of families from becoming homeless as a real estate management company threatens an abrupt, mass eviction in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

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