DALLAS -- You could drive into Dallas on I-45 and not even know it was there, but lots of folks live in a so-called "tent city" under the freeway. And it's the closest thing they have to a home.
"There are so many people out here," says Tina, who lives in the tent city. "That never planned, never expected that they would ever be down here."
Right now, there are around 125 tents in the shadow of the Dallas skyline, and more and more folks are moving in. The community has been growing for months, since the city of Dallas added portable restrooms and trash services. The Big D also stopped its policy of moving everyone out every week or two.
"They really need help, but they can't go no further than where they are right here, so we have to meet them right here under the bridge," said Eula Brown who started a group that helps feed Dallas's homeless twice a week. "We've been coming out here for almost two years now feeding the homeless."
Food certainly helps, but the long-term solution to homelessness.... would be homes.
CitySquare is a non-profit trying to fight poverty in lots of ways. One example: they're currently building 50 small cottages to house a fortunate few of the less-fortunate among us.
CEO Larry James says giving folks a place to live is a no-brainer, "It's costing taxpayers enormous amounts of money for people to stay outside. It's actually cheaper, and more cost-effective, as well as more effective for the person's life to house someone."
James says donating and volunteering are good, but calling politicians and asking them to move on poverty-fighting programs might be the best way to help.
"We need a movement in Dallas to provide housing for people who don't have it," James said.
Until then, the population of "tent city" will keep growing.