September 9, 2016

A Dallas nonprofit’s crazy idea: Let’s give homes to the chronically homeless

Here are three stories from communities around the U.S. that will inspire you

Tiny house nation: Dallas wants to help its city’s most vulnerable citizens. On Thursday, the nonprofit CitySquare and other local organizations opened The Cottages at Hickory Crossing, a 50-unit housing complex built for the chronically homeless. According to WFAA news, the $6.8 million homeless housing project is located across the street from CitySquare’s Opportunity Building, which serves the homeless with food and mental health and other social services. The Dallas Morning News reports that along with nonprofit organizations, the city of Dallas and Dallas County, contributed another $2.5 million. CitySquare describes the chronically homeless as individuals who have a history with homelessness and severe mental illness and as a result “are high utilizers of Dallas County Resources such as 9-1-1 calls, ambulance services, emergency room services, police engagement, county shelter services,” among other issues. The organization estimates that giving these citizens housing will save taxpayer money. Once selected, the residents are welcome to live in their 430-square-foot units as long as they like, and they are required to pay 30 percent of their earnings, whether it comes from Social Security, veterans benefits, or income.

The next TOMS: Blake Mycoskie is the consummate social entrepreneur, taking his company TOMS from an idea to a multimillion dollar company that has donated 70 million pairs of shoes to needy children in just over a decade. Now he wants to help others like himself take their ideas to the next level. In an interview with Fortune, Mycoskie tells writer Jeremy Quittner about his latest initiative to invest in the next generation of social entrepreneurs. Mycoskie already has made 15 investments, including one with ArtLifting, an organization that supports artists who struggle with homelessness. Co-founder Liz Powers wrote about why she was so passionate about it in an essay The Renewal Project featured in July.

Hunger stats: According to a new report from the USDA, hunger in America declined significantly last year. In its annual survey, researchers found that the percentage of U.S. households experiencing food inefficiency in 2015 declined to 12.7 percent, from 14 percent in 2014. This continues a downward trend from a high of 14.9 percent in 2011. The 2015 rate was still above the 2007 pre-recession level of 11.1 percent. The USDA defines food insecurity as the inability to acquire adequate food for one or more household members because of insufficient money and resources. You can see a full description here.

Photo courtesy of bcWorkshop

See a story that inspires you? Send it to The Renewal Project editor Margaret Myers at

Margaret Myers