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Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Government Homelessness in Tarrant County

Homelessness in Tarrant County

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Year after year, the cycle of homelessness begins with a lack of or inadequate income and inability to afford rent. It’s often that simple: Stagnant wages and rising rents often result in homelessness.

Everyone – from those on the verge of homelessness, to those who have just recently become homeless, to those who are staying in an emergency shelter – can access specific services tailored to meet the needs of the different populations of those who are vulnerable.

Each January more than 550 volunteers and 100 Neighborhood Police Officers go out into our community to physically find and survey anyone sleeping outside. Determining an accurate number of homeless in our community is just one goal of this process.

Tarrant County is doing better than you think. And together, we’re leading the way.

One of the most difficult questions we face daily is: is it acceptable for children in our community to be without a proper home?

The Tarrant County Homeless Coalition (TCHC) and our community partners believe one child is one too many.

Homelessness is not acceptable for anyone. It’s not acceptable for our children, for youth aging out foster care, for veterans, for folks with a disability or for elderly persons living on a fixed income.

Understanding this, it is important to know we’re making progress toward a better end. We have resources and a dedicated network of organizations working to provide a path to end homelessness.

Facts about homelessness in our community:

– On any given night there are approximately 2,000 people living in local emergency shelters or on the street;

¬– 2018 there was a 0.6% increase in homelessness, as compared to a 1.8% increase in our total population;

¬– In Fort Worth there was a 2% decrease in homelessness, while the population grew at a rate of 3.9%;

– There was a 17% decrease in unsheltered homelessness, meaning fewer people are living outside and more are accessing services;

– Approximately 300 children experience homelessness every night; nearly all have accessed emergency shelters and transitional housing programs for families.

How did we compile this data?

Each January more than 550 volunteers and 100 Neighborhood Police Officers go out into our community to physically find and survey anyone sleeping outside.

Determining an accurate number of homeless in our community is just one goal of this process. We also try to better understand how each individual arrived in this situation.

Year after year, the cycle of homelessness begins with a lack of or inadequate income and inability to afford rent. It’s often that simple: Stagnant wages and rising rents often result in homelessness.

Seeing this trend year after year illustrates just how close many in our community are to becoming homeless.

Our system of care includes nearly 60 agencies, more than 100 programs and more than 300 professionals, all working together to move our community toward ending homelessness.

We have a system of care in place to help people in need.

Everyone – from those on the verge of homelessness, to those who have just recently become homeless, to those who are staying in an emergency shelter – can access specific services tailored to meet the needs of the different populations of those who are vulnerable.

Our goal continues to be to rapidly move people out of homelessness and into housing.

The jewel in the crown of our system of care is rapid rehousing, an intervention especially effective with families. This program provides move-in and short-term rental assistance coupled with case management to help families get back on their feet.

Additional services include childcare, employment assistance, job training, transportation and more in-depth counseling. Lack of those kinds of programs can be barriers to long-term solutions. We give families the room to stabilize, regain their footing and practice living each day in a more productive, functional way.

Rapid rehousing served more than 2,200 people in 2018, and 93% of those served through our programs have not returned to our homeless system of care.

We have proven our solutions can change lives but we also need you.

TCHC and our partners need people to show up and to give time and talent to an agency to expand its capacity, or to donate financial and in-kind resources to partners making an impact in an area that speaks to you.

Together we can achieve our collective vision of a vibrant community where individuals and families have a home and the resources to live their best life.

Please join us.

For more information about the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition contact: Kayla Mosley, (817) 680-2283.

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This article was written in partnership with the following:

Mayor Betsy Price, City of Fort Worth

Mayor Jeff Williams, City of Arlington

County Judge B. Glen Whitley, Tarrant County

Dr. Victoria Farrar-Myers, Board Chair, Homeless Continuum of Care

Mayors’ Council of Tarrant County

Tarrant County Homeless Coalition

Presbyterian Night Shelter

The Salvation Army

Union Gospel Mission

Fort Worth Housing Solutions

Community Enrichment Center

My Health My Resources (MHMR)

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