This week's roundup of Dallas news has many bulleted lists. There's news about a group of regional leaders tackling the homelessness issue. There are newly unveiled plans on how to deal with a controversial freeway. And there's free Wi-Fi for some Dallas neighborhoods.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Regional leaders have formed a coalition to address the homelessness crisis in our community. Funding would come from a variety of sources:
- The city of Dallas and Dallas County will each contribute $25 million, leveraging funding and housing vouchers provided by the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA)
- DHA Housing Solutions for North Texas (DHA), Dallas County, and the City of Mesquite would each contribute 100 percent of the vouchers they receive under ARPA (490, 124 and 41, respectively), worth approximately $10 million
- Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) would spearhead fundraising of $10 million in philanthropic contributions
Agencies in the Homeless Collaborative, Dallas and Collin Counties' Continuum of Care, would provide direct services. The program would have several components:
- Domestic violence survivors, families and individuals with more significant health issues would be permanently housed with the 655 vouchers and offered ongoing supportive services.
- An additional 2,000 individuals experiencing homelessness would be provided housing with rent paid for 12 months. During that year, case managers would assist clients with services they need to stabilize their lives, address health issues, and find employment.
According to a release, data from similar Rapid Rehousing programs in Dallas and other cities shows that most people do not return to homelessness after being afforded the opportunity to get back on their feet.
At a June 22 session at the Dallas Farmer’s Market, TxDOT unveiled five proposals for I-345, the highway along the east side of downtown Dallas that connects I-45 to US-75 and I-30 (and recently made the list of 15 worst freeways in the U.S.):
- Keep I-345 exactly as is
- Depress or bury I-345, like US-75, and build continuous frontage roads
- Remove the elevated highway altogether, and replace it with a grid of city streets
- Raise it even higher so there is room underneath for pedestrian and bicyclist areas
- Do a hybrid, burying the highway and placing a grid of streets on top
The concepts are based on feedback TxDOT received since December 2019. The road currently handles approximately 180,000 drivers daily.
A TxDOT spokespeson said that they've received more 1,500 survey responses and public comments, and met with nearly 100 stakeholder groups, to help decide what the concepts should look like. They'll continue accepting feedback from the public until the end of 2022.
Free Wi-Fi pilot program
Free community Wi-Fi is now available in select Dallas neighborhoods. During the pandemic, the city recognized that having the internet is critical to building a more inclusive, equitable, and resilient community, and began working to bridge the digital divide, whether it be home computers, digital literacy, or skills training. They're doing a community wi-fi pilot program in 10 neighborhoods, all south of I-30:
- two areas in southeast Dallas in District 5, near Buckner Boulevard and Scyene Road
- two in south Dallas in District 4, just below the Dallas Zoo
- two even further south, west of Paul Quinn College and east of Dallas Executive Airport
- two in southwest Dallas: one in District 1 by Cockrell Hill, and the other in District 3, east of Mountain View College
- two in west Dallas: in District 6, near I-30 and Loop 12
To check if your address is eligible, consult the map at dallascityhall.com/digital-divide.aspx showing the Wi-Fi-enabled areas.
Dallas residents are invited to take the Local Solid Waste Management Plan Update survey to help the city make decisions re: solid waste and recycling programs as well as future opportunities to reduce waste destined for the landfill.
Find the survey here: DallasZeroWaste.com.
New SW CEO
Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly will transition roles in early 2022, becoming Executive Chairman, to be replaced by executive VP Robert Jordan, effective Feb. 1, 2022. Kelly has served as CEO since 2004, leading Southwest through some of the industry's most turbulent times.