Fort Worth launches pilot program to address homelessness, $1 million awarder for the project

Fort Worth, Texas – The Fort Worth City Council approved an ambitious pilot program on Tuesday showing the city commitment in solving its growing homelessness problem. The city has set aside more than $1 million for this project, which will work with My Health My Resources (MHMR) of Tarrant County to help a lot of homeless people in areas that need it the most.

The lack of government emergency rental assistance funds and the end of the eviction moratorium have made the situation more serious. As a consequence, Fort Worth has witnessed a spike in its homeless population, with emergency shelters operating at near full capacity most nights and a noticeable increase in unsheltered homelessness. Reports of homeless camps have become common, which is another proof that problem is getting worse and the city is now eager to deal with it head-on.

After being approved on Tuesday, the pilot program will help address the problem in seven places that have been hit the hardest by the rise in homelessness. Some of these places are Downtown, Near Southside, Historic Southside/Near Eastside, Beach Street intersections from E. Lancaster to N. Tarrant Parkway, Northside/Stockyards, and Camp Bowie West’s La Gran Plaza and Hemphill.

A key feature of this initiative is the strategic deployment of resources, including street outreach teams, neighborhood police officers, and the City’s Homeless Outreach Program & Enforcement (HOPE) team. Their objective is to find people who have lived in the area for more than two years or who might be suffering from a serious mental illness so that they can get housing help and other services.

The pilot program is supposed to help in more ways. Its goal is to help people who have been referred find low-barrier housing and volunteer case management. This is a big step toward long-term solutions to the homelessness problem. Up to 40 people will get rental help through housing assistance. This can be used in apartments across the city or in master-leased apartments. In addition, the city wants to use current housing vouchers to reach even more people.

MHMR of Tarrant County will provide case management services, which are also important part of the program. For people who need a more intensive approach, the program will help them move on to the care of the Housing First Assertive Community Treatment Team. This team helps people with severe mental illness stay in their homes, whether they are homeless or in housing but need more intensive services to stay there.

The pilot program isn’t just a quick fix to the problem; it’s a well-thought-out plan that aims to give useful information for planning the future. Set to run for 17 months starting May 1, 2024, and ending September 30, 2025, the program’s success will be measured by its ability to ensure that at least 70% of those offered housing secure it within six months.

With plans to ask for an extra $2,200,000 in funds for FY 2025, the city is laying the groundwork for a strong, long-term solution to its homelessness problem. This could make Fort Worth a model for other cities going through similar problems.

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