On Friday, Dallas Police are scheduled to begin placing notices to vacate at the homeless encampment known as Tent Village. This action is in response to the neighborhoods of The Cedars and Farmer’s Market who have worked in tandem with the management staff of Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park to raise awareness about the encampment that has been a semi-permanent feature in the area for the past several months.
What is “Tent Village”?
Tent Village is a homeless encampment located at I-30 and St Paul directly behind Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park. There are an estimated 40-75 individuals living at this location on TxDOT property. Tent Village is a different homeless camp from the more widely known “Tent City” which located a few hundred yards away underneath I-45.
The encampment has been a plight to the area for more than a year due to the drug dealing, debris, and open fires; of particular concern has been one of the fires getting out of control and destroying the 1800’s era buildings at the Heritage Village. The Village is owned by the City of Dallas and is a cultural gem that is visited by thousands of school children annually.
What is Dallas Heritage Village?
- Home to 30 relocated, irreplaceable historic structures on the site of Dallas’ first city park.
- Currently celebrating their 50th anniversary.
- City-owned cultural institution. They serve and benefit the entire city, not just District 2.
- Serves more than 20,000 school children annually from 40 different school districts.
- Gateway to the redeveloping Cedars neighborhood.
- Has more than 50,000 visitors annually, from across the street, around the world, and everywhere in between.
District 2 councilman Adam Medrano recently established a monthly Crime Watch meeting for the Central Business District (CBD) residents; the most recent one was held on Tuesday evening which had Dallas Police Chief David Brown in attendance. Chief Brown fielded questions and concerns from the dozens of attendees and surprised the meeting by issuing a directive for officers to have Tent Village cleared out that very night.
When Wednesday dawned there were still some tents but that number got down to just one solitary tent. However, within 24 hours, the tents had increased back up again in number. When asked on Thursday what Dallas Police intended to do to ensure the squatter’s campsite remained cleared, spokesperson for DPD, Senior Corporal Tramese Andrews, issued the following statement:
The Dallas Police Department, Crisis Intervention Team, Streets and Sanitation, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) and City of Dallas Housing Department are all working together to assist in the relocation of the occupants that are residing on TXDOT property. The Dallas Police Departments Crisis Intervention Team has conducted numerous site visits at the TXDOT property at St. Paul and I30, directly adjacent to Old City Park (Dallas Heritage Village). Crisis Intervention and neighborhood police officers from the Central Patrol Division ensure that Quality of Life issues and concerns are addressed at these locations. The Crisis Intervention Team will continue to conduct positive interactions at homeless encampments and assist MDHA and other city departments in the rehousing strategy.
By Thursday evening, word began circulating from neighborhood groups that DPD was indeed cracking down and would have Tent Village cleared out in accordance to the same timeline of having Tent City cleared with the deadline date being Wednesday, May 4.
Timeline for closure:
- Friday, April 29th : Notices to vacate will be issued; Criminal No Trespassing Signs will be posted.
- Between Friday, April 29th and Tuesday, May 3rd: Crisis Intervention, Social Services & Other Agencies will engage and offer services to residents at Tent Village.
- Wednesday, May 4th : Notice of Closure Served.
- Anyone refusing to leave after Wed morning will be arrested.
- DPD officers will visit TV frequently, Trespassers will be told the area is closed and they must leave. Trespasser names will be documented. Anyone repeatedly found trespassing will be arrested.
- The area included will extend S. St Paul to Harwood (along the Griffin & I30 frontage).
What can neighbors do to help?
- Call 911 immediately and report anyone you see trespassing at Tent Village.
- Referene the property location (Griffin & S. St. Paul) and Criminal Trespassing.
- Ask for a return call from the Dallas Police Officer responding.
- Walk, Drive, and Check on Tent Village frequently for consistent enforcement.
*DPD needs documentation of criminal trespassing. It is important to call 911 and not 311.
For homeless persons needing assistance, Dallas Life Foundation currently has 100 beds available for those needing shelter.
Dallas Life Foundation
1100 Cadis Street, Dallas, 75215