Dallas’ Bridge Reverse the Paradigm of Homeless Shelters in America

The Bridge has been open for 3 years now. What impact has it had on Dallas-area homelessness?
By transitioning people experiencing homelessness from streets or institutions into shelter and housing, The Bridge Homeless Assistance Center has produced truly outstanding outcomes. Crime has decreased in The Bridge/Farmers Market neighborhood and the greater downtown Dallas area. Dallas County has estimated an annual savings of approximately $3,000,000 in decreased jail stays and costs for people experiencing homelessness. There has even been increased health quality of life for the people experiencing homelessness and participate in Bridge services. The Bridge’s job seeker services and housing seeker services have provided 1,588 job placements and 982 housing placements from May 2008 to March 2011. Finally, a staggering 93 percent of people who transitioned to permanent supportive housing, throughout the Dallas area, maintain long-term residencies without cycling through homelessness and institutionalization as opposed to the 75 percent who transition from hospitals, jails, streets, or shelters.

How have community partnerships played a part in or enhanced the work of The Bridge?
The Bridge itself was voted into being back in 2004 as Dallas’ City Council approved a plan to end chronic homelessness by developing and delivering services and supportive housing. Dallas’ residents voted to contribute approximately $24 million of developing funds to make this plan come to fruition. In 2009 Council established a contract with the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA), a private non-profit corporation, to develop and deliver services at The Bridge. Since its opening The Bridge runs on delivery funds contributed by the MDHA, City of Dallas, Dallas County, and the State of Texas.

Read more at Next American City

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About Bob Voelker

Head of the Munsch Hardt (Dallas law firm) Hospitality & Mixed Use Development Group, and former developer of affordable housing. I'm i
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