Metro Dallas Youth Committee sent a letter to the Dallas City Council demanding programming to protect Dallas youth experiencing homelessness.
The Dallas Independent School District reported 3,306 students were experiencing homelessness within the district during the 2018-19 school year. This doesn’t include those in charter schools or other districts within the city. Generally, 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ.
“COVID-19 has created a perfect storm that even more youth are at risk of experiencing homelessness,” said Libby Woolverton, co-chair of the MDYC. “We cannot abandon the youth of Dallas. It’s time to take action and place funding into programs to promote cooperation and resources.”
The MDYC urges the city council to:
● Abolish the 11 p.m. curfew to stop the victimization and criminalization of Dallas youth experiencing homelessness.
● Create a position and allocate $80,000 (salary and benefits) within Parks and Recreation to serve as youth homeless services manager to ensure that Parks and Recreation is truly serving all youth living in Dallas, including those experiencing homelessness. This staff member is to be trained in racial and ethnic demographics, LGBTQ+ inclusivity, and the experiences of Dallas youth experiencing homelessness.
● Designate an existing staff member within the Office of Homeless Solutions to be dedicated to and solely focused on youth homelessness.
● Designate $120,000 to increase lighting around the Fannie C. Harris Drop-In Center.
● Designate $200,000 to create a transportation system, similar to the koiConnector, specifically for youth attending the Fannie C. Harris Drop-In Center, shuttling between the Center and the nearest DART train station (about one mile). This amount will cover a van and two drivers.
— David Taffet