Today, a City Council Committee Will Discuss Housing for the Homeless

Hal Samples/Central Dallas Ministries

At noon today, the city council's Quality of Life Committee spend a bulk of its meeting talk about Dallas's homeless population -- and how to get those folks into homes or, at the very least, "Permanent Supportive Housing." If nothing else, the 29-page document prepared by the Environmental & Health Services' Housing Department serves as a comprehensive primer for those interested in how the city defines "homeless" and proposes to deal with the estimated population, which is "5,600+ Homeless people in Dallas at last count representing 96% of Dallas County’s homeless population," notes the report. Homeless advocates often say the number's likely twice that of the official count.

It also inventories the number of Permanent Supportive Housing projects that have been completed (about 338 in the last three years), those still in the works and those still needed. To the latter point, the report says, Dallas "must add 700 PSH units in next 5 years." The city, and its myriad partners, must first find the money -- and, the document notes, it won't be cheap, but it will be far more expensive to do nothing, if Manhattan is any indication. As in: "A homeless mentally ill person in New York City uses an average of $40,449 of public services annually. Those persons placed in service enriched housing reduced their use of publicly funded services by an average of $12,145 annually." --Robert Wilonsky