Dallas County Announces Transitional Housing for Homeless COVID Patients

How do you recover from COVID-19 if you don’t have a home to go to? Dallas County took steps to address that this week. We have more on that and an update on new cases in today’s bullet points:

  • Dallas County announces transitional housing plan for homeless COVID patients;
  • COVID-19 cases continue to rise at schools, and in the county.
Dallas County Announces Transitional Housing for Homeless COVID Patients

For most who fall ill to COVID-19, recovery happens at home, or for those who are sick enough to need hospitalization, continued recovery happens at home. But what if you don’t have a home?

Dallas County health officials announced Wednesday that plans have been made to provide transitional housing for recovering homeless COVID-19 patients. 

The deal was struck between the county and Catholic Charities of Dallas, who will utilize its St. Jude Park Central location to provide emergency housing along with future transitional housing opportunities for low-income residents in need. 

The housing program is designed to facilitate a return to independence by providing wraparound case management services that address residents’ physical and mental health, employment, and long-term financial stability. 

Located in North Dallas near Interstate 635, Forest Lane, and Webb Chapel Road, this housing property will be able to provide services to up to 180 individuals at a time. 

The project intends to provide direct assistance and facilitation with all medical/behavioral health appointments and medication management, the county said.

“We are excited to work with such great organizations like St. Jude and Catholic Charities of Dallas. There is a great need for this type of assistance for homeless people in Dallas County,” said Dr. Philip Huang, Dallas County Health and Human Services director.

“COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the lack of low-income housing in Dallas County. Addressing the rising homelessness and housing insecurity in Dallas County requires innovative collaborations among both public and private partners,” said Dallas County Commissioner Theresa Daniel. “With the success of the original St. Jude Center, we have tremendous confidence in CCD and CHI and thus the new St. Jude Center – Park Central and its ability to provide safe, stable housing for those in need and help get them back on track on a path to financial stability.”

The roll-out of this project will come in two phases: Phase 1 (anticipated to be 6-12 months) will address the County’s COVID-19 housing needs. Phase 2 (post-pandemic), St. Jude will backfill vacancies of the establishment with residents that are deemed homeless or housing insecure.

Cases in Schools and County Still Rising

Dallas county health officials Tuesday reported 510 additional positive cases of COVID-19, including 472 confirmed cases and 38 probable cases, with 268 cases coming from the state’s electronic reporting system. All cases are from October.

An additional four new deaths were also reported, including a Dallas man in his 30s, a Richardson man in his 60s, and a man and a woman in their 70s who lived in Dallas long-term care facilities.

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday was 404 patients, up from 351 last Monday. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 19% of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council

“We are seeing a continual increase in the number of COVID-19 cases confirmed by testing each day and by the number of people that are showing up at our hospitals as the numbers in the chart from CDC week 41 indicate,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “We know what to do to curb the spread of coronavirus: masking and avoiding crowds, six-foot distance and handwashing. We just need to do it. As we’ve seen before and are about to see again, absent a drastic change in behavior, the numbers go up very rapidly but go down slowly. 

“We do not want to be at a place with a high COVID-19 infection rate when the temperatures turn cold and more people are forced inside so please do your part to flatten the curve.”

On Tuesday, Dallas ISD’s COVID-19 dashboard indicated that there were now 358 cases throughout the district (up from 278 Friday) – 136 among campus staff, 28 among central staff, and 194 among students.

Walnut Hill Elementary has 14 cases, Thomas Jefferson High School has 12, Sudie Williams Talented and Gifted has one case, Withers Elementary has two, W.T. White High School has nine, Gooch Elementary has one, Kramer Elementary has two, Dealey Montessori has one, Pershing Elementary has one case, Marsh Middle School has one, Benjamin Franklin Middle School has two, and Hillcrest High School has nine cases.

Highland Park ISD reported three staff cases and six student cases Tuesday.

Neither district provides information on how many students and staff have quarantined for 14 days due to classroom exposure to the virus.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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