New homeless camps popping up in Dallas raise concerns

Dallas tackles migrating homeless problem

The New Year is bringing with it new concerns about the homeless problem in Dallas.

As city leaders head back to work Tuesday, homelessness will be one of the hot topics of conversation.

The closure of tent city near downtown last May did nothing to change the homeless landscape. Many of those on the streets moved east and made the overpass under I-30 and Haskell their new home. 

But now, with that encampment closed too, there is evidence of a new hot spot near the Buckner Terrace Neighborhood in far east Dallas. Signs of life, up under the overpasses near downtown Dallas is not uncommon.

Make-shift tents. Shelters, supplies, even pets, all simply trying to survive.

What is not common is seeing those camps along Interstate 30 more than eight miles to the east, nearly to Mesquite. That's where a man named Givens has been living for the past few months.

"This is the place where I can lay my head in comfort and be able to blend in and be accepted," Givens told WFAA News 8 Monday morning.

The Dallas native and A. Maceo Smith High School graduate sleeps up under the Interstate-30 bridge near Jim Miller Road. He has built a sturdy but portable wooden shelter for all of his belongings. This is his world, for now.

"I would rather be in a civilized home," said Givens. "I know this is not civilization right here."

Givens is increasingly surrounded by others in a similar situation. The Buckner Terrace neighborhood that surrounds him is fast becoming a new home to the homeless.

Area homeowners are not happy.

Neighborhood activist Diane Birdwell said the problem got worse this summer as homeless were being rousted from downtown.

"We are concerned about crime, our crime rate has gone up," said Birdwell. "We are concerned about garbage."

Birdwell said she has contacted the mayor, her city councilperson, Dallas Police and her county commissioner. The "no trespassing" signs now posted under many of the bridges along I-30 east of downtown Dallas don't appear to be working.

"My question is this, if I had all of this junk in my front yard and I left it there and let someone sleep there it would be a code violation," said Birdwell.

Korey Mack agrees. He is the Chairman of the Buckner Terrace Homeowners Association.

"When we ask the city, the city says it's a state problem. We ask the State they say it's a city problem," said Mack. "Frankly we just want to make sure that we can drive on our streets without seeing debris and having folks living under our bridges."

The homeless people News 8 talked to said they were not aware of them being part of a problem and said no one has officially asked them to leave.

And while area neighbors said they understand folks like Givens need a place to call home, they also hope out of sight does not mean out of mind.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment