Perception isn’t always reality. In spite of all the DFW corporate relocations and business expansions – good news – in Dallas the homeless population increased 21 percent over the past year due to a combination of high rates of poverty and shortages of affordable housing.
Among the findings presented to the Dallas City Council’s Housing Committee by the Dallas Commission on Homelessness, Dallas has the highest number of people living 185 percent below the poverty line of any American city. It has the second highest number of people living 100 percent below the poverty line.
Along with homelessness, a recent post in FrontBurner by the editors of D Magazine also focused on the city’s community development needs. Some of the facts:
- Dallas’ median income has declined since 1989.
- Over 27,300 residents live in poverty despite having full-time employment.
- Over half of Dallas households make less than $50,000 per year, and 28.6 percent make less than $25,000.
- Compared to other Texas cities, Dallas has the highest percentage of individuals without a high school diploma and the lowest percentage of residents who hold college degree.
- 38 percent of Dallas children live in poverty, 20 percent have no health insurance, 28 percent have inadequate food and nutrition, 160,000 children are obese, and 60,000 have asthma.
- Less than 20 percent of jobs are accessible by transit in less than 90 minutes, and more than 70 percent of HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) assisted properties are unaffordable when housing and transportation costs are combined.
Is there any good news? Between 2011 and 2016 the city of Houston reduced chronic homelessness by 76 percent thanks to a collaboration with HUD. As the Frontburner article suggests, there are successful models in place to address the issue of homelessness. Dallas just needs to find the leadership and funding to implement it.