Homelessness decreased for the fourth year in a row in Collin and Dallas counties, according to a new report presented at Housing Forward’s 2024 State of Homelessness address in April.

In a nutshell

Individuals experiencing homelessness decreased 19% overall in both counties between 2021 and 2024, according to the report. Since 2021, more than 10,100 people experiencing homelessness have been housed by Housing Forward and the All Neighbors Coalition.
About 3,714 homeless individuals are accounted for in 2024, according to the report. Black people make up nearly 57% of homeless individuals.
The setup

Housing Forward, a nonprofit based in Dallas, works with the All Neighbors Coalition to reduce homelessness in Collin and Dallas counties. The coalition features more than 140 partners across the region collaborating to reduce homelessness in the community.

Sarah Kahn, Housing Forward president and CEO, presented the report at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas on April 30. The data was collected for the latest point-in-time count of the homeless population in Collin and Dallas counties.

While the data does not give the full scope and extent of homelessness in Collin and Dallas counties, it’s the only tool Housing Forward has to gauge trends and shifts in the homeless population, Kahn said.

The details

Unsheltered homelessness decreased 24% between 2021 and 2024, according to the report. Homelessness overall in Collin and Dallas counties has been reported at its lowest count since 2015, Kahn said.

Both counties were among 27% of communities across the nation that reduced homelessness in 2023, Kahn said. The number of veterans, children and families experiencing homelessness decreased between 2023 and 2024, according to the report.
  • Veteran homelessness decreased nearly 22% since 2023.
  • Youth homelessness decreased 22% since 2023.
  • Family homelessness decreased nearly 15% since 2023.
“What this data is telling us is that the strategic investments and the commitments to the system that we've made—those really matter,” Kahn said. “It's allowed us to keep up and keep pace with the number of people that are falling into homelessness each year.”

In case you missed it

Housing Forward launched the R.E.A.L Time Rehousing initiative in partnership with several cities, Dallas County and the Dallas Housing Authority. The initiative was funded with $72 million, which was made up of federal money, housing vouchers and private funding.

“That was very important because that helped really fuel this new system that we had designed together and that allowed us to house three times as many people each month than we ever had before,” Kahn said.

The funding enabled Housing Forward to increase case manager positions, add a landlord engagement team who could find available units with landlords willing to accept housing vouchers, and engage with people living in encampments.

What’s next?

Housing Forward is now aiming to reduce unsheltered homelessness by 50% by 2026. With the initial investment winding down, Kahn said Housing Forward will need another $30 million public-private investment to maintain the pace started in 2021.

In Housing Forward’s next phase, officials will emphasize closing encampments in public spaces with a targeted “street to home” approach. Officials will offer housing and support services while coordinating with local governments to ensure encampments stay closed.

“These are the tools that are going to provide us with real solutions as a community,” Kahn said. “These are also the tools as you heard today that are providing a lifeline to our neighbors who are enduring life outside.”

Quote of note

Peter Brodsky, chairperson of Housing Forward’s board of trustees, said the latest census count shows the nonprofit’s strategies work. As Housing Forward aims to further reduce homelessness, officials want to continue implementing evidence-based solutions to reduce homelessness.

“We’ve got to stay the course,” Brodsky said. “There is no silver bullet; there is no magic potion; there is no one solution that’s suddenly going to solve the problem. We’ve got to stay the course because the strategies that we are executing are working.”