The Salvation Army Receives Zoning Approval to Help It Fulfill City of Dallas' Priority for Serving Homeless Citizens
On Thursday, March 7, 2019, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command received approval from the City Plan Commission for a zoning change to pave the way for the building of a new 26-acre social service campus on an industrially zoned site at 8625 N. Stemmons Freeway. The property, which is surrounded by warehouses, office buildings, and Interstate 35E, was donated to the organization by a local philanthropist.
The Dallas City Council is expected to take a final decision on the zoning request in the near future.
The new zoning will allow for transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, an emergency shelter, substance abuse treatment, vocational job training, daycare, and a medical clinic on the property. The administrative offices of The Salvation Army’s DFW Metroplex Command will also be housed on the campus. Outside of downtown, Dallas currently has no zoning category that would allow this mix of uses.
For city leaders to meet their priority of reducing the geographic concentration of homeless services near downtown by having homeless service providers diversify their physical locations to other parts of the city, a zoning change is imperative.
The Salvation Army has committed to raising $95 million in private funds to implement holistic homeless-solution strategies identified by the City of Dallas, including:
- Crisis sheltering
- Affordable, supportive housing
- Transitional housing
- Mental healthcare
- Medical clinic
- Substance abuse rehabilitation
- Daytime shelter
- Job training
The new campus will allow The Salvation Army to expand its services and serve more people. In addition to the current services of food, shelter, counseling/case management, chapel, financial education/job readiness, life-skills training, and a food pantry, the organization will add child care, a medical clinic, and mental health clinic, vocational training, a recreation center, and multiple transportation options. It will be the most comprehensive project to address the issue and underlying causes of homelessness in North Texas.
The project will significantly expand services to people experiencing homelessness.
There will be a 30% increase in beds for homeless men, women, and children, and the number of homeless individuals who will secure permanent housing in Dallas will double.
The Salvation Army understands that constructing a campus of this scope can raise questions and concerns from adjacent property owners. Some of the steps The Salvation Army has taken to assuage some concerns are:
- Establishing a day shelter on the campus where people will be able to stay inside both night and day.
- Completely securing the perimeter with fencing and landscaping.
- Installing courtyards, walking paths, a pond, and benches inside the perimeter fence where people can get fresh air if they wish to spend time outdoors, removing a reason to loiter outside the campus.
- Shuttle buses will transport people to various stops around the city, including the nearest DART rail station, Parkland Hospital, Downtown Dallas, and the Veterans Administration Hospital. The shuttle will leave from the main entry and be on a continuous loop to and from these locations throughout the day.
- Establishing a DART bus stop on the property
- Perimeter security patrols will patrol the area surrounding the campus. The organization is open to patrolling adjacent properties at property owners’ request.
There will be one secure point of access into and out of the property that will be staffed with a security guard around the clock. The access point will be positioned on the Stemmons Freeway side of the campus away from the establishments of other property owners. There will also be a minimum of four security guards on the property at all times.
The Salvation Army is also aware that the presence of a homeless shelter can raise concerns that crime could increase. In fact, The Salvation Army projects that with the extra security it will bring to the area, crime could actually decrease.
The project is expected be a state-of-the-art, secure, transformational and beautiful addition to the city, addressing a crisis that is growing and needs to be addressed in a comprehensive way.
For an overview of the new center site, please click here.