Dallas Adopts Design-Driven Approach to Ending Homelessness

Dallas Adopts Design-Driven Approach to Ending Homelessness

Dallas’ Cottages at Hickory Crossing will open in October.

The Cottages at Hickory Crossing are sprawled across 3.5 acres in South Dallas, sporting a community garden, a town hall, yoga classes, and a 24-hour concierge in the campus’ recreational and developmental lodge building. The first residents will begin moving in this October, and all 50 of them will represent daily survivors of the city’s chronic homelessness problem.

CitySquare, a local nonprofit dedicated to combating homelessness in the region, is behind the project, which follows the “housing first” model, an approach that aims to get those in need into stable shelter quickly and then follow up with necessary support services. Residents in Dallas will have access to an on-campus nurse and psychiatrist.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the $6.8 million project will welcome its first residents in late October. The cottages are close to CitySquare’s Opportunity Center, which offers food, reading classes and employment training.

From the Morning News:

The $6.8 million housing project is expected to save Dallas County taxpayers thousands of dollars by offering shelter and medical care to the “frequent fliers” of emergency rooms, hospitals and the jail.

Each person who will move into a cottage costs the county more than $40,000 in services per year, said Larry James, chief executive of Dallas nonprofit CitySquare. With a permanent home and a support system, she should cost the county less than $15,000.

The Dallas effort echoes a holistic, design-driven approach to sheltering people experiencing homelessness and struggling with mental illness, addiction, poverty or isolation. The Star apartment building in Los Angeles, a beautiful, modern high-rise that houses 100 people from Skid Row’s streets, has drawn attention to that area’s homeless population. New York’s Common Ground takes similar measures to provide transitional housing and job placement initiatives.

Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

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Tags: urban designhomelessnessarchitecturedallas

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