On Wednesday, a group of downtown Dallas area residents will be gathering at City Hall at 9:00 a.m. to hear testimony in person of the latest request from The Bridge Homeless Shelter in which they are expected to ask the City of Dallas for millions of dollars more in funding. In a briefing that was released by The Bridge on Monday which gives insight to their scheduled presentation to the Dallas City Council on Wednesday, they state that they are:
- Supported by downtown residents and corporation through fundraising and other volunteer activities.
- Provide fiscal year breakdown of contributions but no mention on what their expenses are.
Engaged downtown area residents want to know where the money is being spent: payroll, overhead, etc.
Concerned activists are encouraging area residents – that are unable to take off work to attend the council meeting on Wednesday – to send an email with their concerns to all city council members at this address by midnight on Tuesday evening.
These questions and concerns by the downtown area residets are valid as millions of dollars in tax-payer money has already been given to The Bridge for their operations. The nonprofit’s briefing went on to state that need exceeds supply:
- Many people participating in Bridge services are not able to access night shelter because of lack of capacity
- As a result, they reside in unsafe encampments or other places not intended for habitation
In spite of these claims, as recent as last week, multiple shelters around Dallas verified that they had empty beds for anyone in need. The briefing went on to state details on their expansion costs:
- City and Bridge officials are forecasting annual investments of $1,825,000 – $2,281,250 million will cover the expenses associated with such activities, including payments to partner shelters.
- We need additional investment from the City of Dallas and Dallas County to take the next steps
The public needs to be made aware of the line-item budget to understand how the proposed $2M+ annually will be allocated and what accountability there is in place to ensure the funds are properly utilized.
In an attempt to “follow the money” there are far more questions than there are answers specifically: is this a false situation to keep real estate prices on the south side of downtown in a depressed state so that they can be quietly acquired for future development.
This is not a far flung theory as longtime residents of Dallas will recall, Southland Corporation bought up huge tracts of land along McKinney Avenue on the east side of North Central Expressway and held onto those tracts for years until such time that it was such a depressed area that no one wanted to live in or have businesses. Fast forward 20 years and who today could imagine that the bustling Uptown area and West Village were the heart of that depressed zone.
Even as far south as Woodall Rodgers Freeway, there were rooming houses and abandoned warehouses between Pearl Street and I-35E. People thought that area would be the next artists bohemian community. A mere 25 years later and it houses the Perot Musuem, House of Blues, and American Airlines Center — in other words, astronomically expensive real estate by any estimation in today’s economy.
Time will tell if this has all been a mere coincidence or something more nefarious but either way, if the City Council votes to go down the path of putting more money into The Bridge, the very least the taxpayers of Dallas deserve to know is how their hard earned money is being spent by having full disclosure of the financials from the nonprofit known as The Bridge a.k.a. Bridge Steps.