DALLAS – April 6, 2010 – Communities Foundation of Texas and the Meadows Foundation have partnered to combat the problem of chronic homelessness in Dallas through a private-public partnership that involves a collaboration of six local organizations to create the first permanent supportive housing community for homeless individuals with histories of mental illness, substance abuse and involvement with the criminal justice system.
The three-year model program—called The Cottages at Hickory Crossing—will provide permanent housing and on-site support services to 50 people on a site just southeast of downtown Dallas. The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund at CFT has committed up to $3.5 million to the effort, with the initial $1 million being used to support pre-development costs and to provide immediate transitional housing services to individuals that had been served at The Bridge, the city’s homeless assistance center. The remaining Caruth Foundation contribution is a challenge grant, with one dollar matched for every three dollars raised, up to $2.5 million toward the costs of construction, support services for residents, and independent program evaluation over the three-year life of the demonstration project. The Meadows Foundation is providing additional support in the form of a $750,000 program related loan to support land acquisition and development. Private fundraising and government grants will fund the balance of project costs.
The Cottages at Hickory Crossing represents the first time that six leading agencies join the local effort to end chronic homelessness, and have come together on a single project. Project partners include Metrocare Services, Central Dallas Ministries, Central Dallas Community Development Corporation, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Dallas County Criminal Justice System.
The group has received technical assistance during the project planning from the
Corporation for Supportive Housing, an organization that provides advocacy, expertise and financial resources to create and operate permanent supportive housing programs across the country.
Potential tenants of The Cottages at Hickory Crossing will be referred by the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (operator of The Bridge) and the Dallas County Criminal Justice System. Individuals will be assessed by mental health professionals and screened using a nationally validated risk assessment tool. The intent is to select tenants who are highly vulnerable, with a history of high-cost utilization of public services. Currently as many as 20 percent of DallasCounty jail inmates are mentally ill and 10 percent are homeless, on any given day.
Brent Christopher, president and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas, noted that this remarkable collaboration fulfills the Caruth Foundation’s interest in funding public safety initiatives. “For public safety, as well as respect for human dignity, it’s very compelling to know that this project will help to ensure that we’re using best practices in caring for homeless people with severe mental illness,” Christopher said. CFT believes this gift will inspire transformative change that will motivate others to create permanent housing solutions for homeless individuals that are typically the most difficult to serve. “We are counting on our foundation colleagues and other community leaders to join CFT and The Meadows Foundation in supporting this exciting venture.”
An Innovative Model “Permanent Supportive Housing” Project
Central Dallas Community Development Corporation will develop 50 freestanding cottages on a wooded 2.5 acre site near the intersection of Interstate 30 and Malcolm X Boulevard. bcWORKSHOP, a Dallas-based design/architectural firm created the village/cottage design for the Hickory Crossing project and will assist in the build out of the model. The property was selected for its central location, convenience to the city center, privacy for residents, and easy access to public transportation, community amenities, and healthcare services. The project will house on-site clinical and social services in both individual and group settings.
Through rigorous evaluation, the model program intends to demonstrate the effectiveness and cost efficiency of permanent supportive housing for people who have experienced chronic homelessness, behavioral health challenges, and involvement in the justice system. Individuals will be able to live at the facility as long as they meet the conditions of their lease; making it their permanent home if they so choose.