Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker and City Council members brought together city staff, community partners and concerned residents to address homelessness Feb. 13. The goal of the workshop was to explore effective solutions and strategies to combat the growing concern of homelessness and the effect it has on the Fort Worth community.

The details

As part of the workshop, several presenters provided what their organizations are doing to fight the problem of homelessness in Fort Worth. According to a city news release, organizations represented in the workshop include:
  • Department of Veteran Affairs
  • DRC Solutions, formerly Day Resource Center for the Homeless
  • Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
  • Fort Worth Housing Solutions
  • My Health, My Resources of Tarrant County
  • Presbyterian Night Shelter
  • Tarrant County Homelessness Coalition
  • Tarrant County Samaritan Housing
The city news release states that these groups’ initiatives include short-term programs, such as the homeless outreach program, enforcement team and camp cleanups, and long-term tactics such as enhanced funding for existing programs and housing-related strategies.

A closer look

Some statistics presented in the workshop include:
  • three million pounds of debris collected from 927 homeless camps by city staff in 2023
  • $26 million allocated by the city to produce more than 200 units of permanent supportive housing and homeless family units
  • 2,100 people experience homelessness each night in Fort Worth
  • six months is the amount of time the majority of the city’s homeless population is homeless
The news releases states that one key takeaway from the workshop was the recognition of the need for not only additional affordable housing, but also the need for permanent supportive housing and further investment in homeless services. Several organizations and nonprofits across North Texas recently received grants totaling $50 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care Program.

What they’re saying

“I’ve been around city government for over 10 years, and I think this is the most committed council to this issue,” Parker said. “When it comes to affordable housing projects or making major investments, you’ve really listened to staff leadership over the last several council sessions and made the right level of funding needed, but there’s still more to do.”

“[Homelessness] is prominent in the minds of our residents,” Assistant City Manager Fernando Costa said. “In survey after survey about issues that are important, it’s something that our residents want us to address, and yet it’s something that not all residents fully understand.”

The Feb. 13 homelessness workshop was for informational purposes only. The news release states that Tarrant County Homeless Coalition will release its 2024 report and host the state of the homeless address at 9 a.m. on March 27 at Texas Wesleyan University.