Friday, January 22, 2016

A Letter from Cindy J. Crain, MDHA President and CEO to the Dallas Homeless Count Volunteers

Cindy J. Crain, MDHA President and CEO, sent this letter to our volunteers this morning:

Dear Volunteers,

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! The last Dallas Homeless Count Volunteer Team rolled in at just before 1:30 am. We did it! All counters were safe, with no incidents. What a tremendous volunteer response! Well over 550(!) volunteers deployed all across Dallas to produce the most extensive homeless count on record! A special thank you goes out to the City of Dallas and the Dallas Police Department, for providing us with volunteers and space for staging and training.

I enjoyed listening to your stories as you all brought back your results. You followed instructions, and you stuck to the guidelines. In the process, you were exposed to and touched by the experience of our unsheltered homeless neighbors.

Interestingly, we had some Tier One routes where nobody was found, and some Tier Three routes where many persons were found. This fit with our goal: To build a baseline map of our unsheltered homeless neighbors, through which we can better plan for and improve street outreach services. This type of task can only be achieved with hundreds of committed volunteers.

Counters train at DPD NW Patrol Division prior to deployment
We will need to carefully review all the survey packets to verify the numbers. A preliminary estimate, though, indicates that through your tireless work we identified approximately 600 unsheltered homeless individuals in the City of Dallas. This is an increase from the 363 found in 2015 in all of Dallas and Collin County.

The official State of the Homeless Address will be on March 22, 2016, 9.30-11.30am at Goodwill Industries of Dallas, 3020 N. Westmoreland Rd., Dallas, Texas 75212. There we will present all of the findings of the Homeless Count, as well as a Homeless Response System progress report, as we prepare our 2016-2017 Continuum of Care Strategic Work Plan. We hope to see you all there. Click on this link for a flyer and RSVP today. 

Finally, please save the date for the 2017 Homeless Count, on Thursday, January 26, 2017. MDHA is honored to work for all of you. With your help, we will continue to build an effective homeless response system, that will make homelessness in our community rare, brief and non-recurring!
Cindy J. Crain
President and CEO, MDHA

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Faith, Hope and Housing - Exploring Relational Ways to Empower Our Neighbors

On Thursday night, January 14, 2016, MDHA co-sponsored Faith, Hope and Housing, with and at First United Methodist Church Dallas. The idea behind this gathering was to facilitate churches and church members exploring relational ways to empower our neighbors, who are experiencing homelessness. The evening, organized by Rebecca Cox, MDHA’s Vice President, attracted a crowd of about eighty professional and lay church leaders, as well as congregants. The evening began with warm words of welcome from Dr. Andrew Stoker, Senior Pastor, of First United Methodist Church Dallas, and a beautiful prayer led by Rev. Jonathan Grace, of CitySquare. 
Rev. Jonathan Grace
Rev. Jonathan Grace
Rebecca introduced the idea of Room in the Inn, a church winter cold weather shelter program that began in Nashville and now exists in more than twenty communities. MDHA hopes to introduce this program in churches in Dallas. She then moderated a panel of leaders from Fort Worth, where the program has been up and running for a few years now. Panel members included, Reverends Dottie Cook, South Hills Christian Church, Dan Freemyer, Broadway Baptist Church, Page Hines of First United Methodist Church Fort Worth, and the leader of DRC – Community Solutions to End Homelessness, Kristy Hroch. They talked about how the program helped the homeless in Fort Worth, what a blessing it has been for the churches involved, and how it has inspired their members. They also took questions from the assembled.
Rebecca Cox
Our good friend, Keith Ackerman, Executive Director of CitySquare’s The Cottages at Hickory Crossing spoke about their needs for household items for the future residents of that permanent supportive housing project. Those who wish to help can go to the Target Gift Registry, and using first name: CitySquare and last name: Cottages, choose items to donate. Rebecca Cox spoke about how churches can help create “Welcome Home” kits to facilitate smooth move-in for residents of other housing programs for those experiencing homelessness.  She also distributed this flyer for other immediate needs churches and church members can help our partners fill. Wayne Walker, of Our Calling, spoke about their new app for documenting encampments, and how people use the app and help them with that effort. Finally, Cindy Crain, President and CEO of MDHA, spoke about the need for volunteers with the Homeless Count. 
With that, Rebecca adjourned this very successful communal gathering. We will keep you posted on the Room in the Inn program, here in Dallas. If you would like to find out more about how your house of worship can participate, please contact Rebecca at

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Serious Fun!

Data is serious, so we are working hard on preparing for the Homeless Count, the night of January 21, 2016, when we will collect extremely important data.

However, being serious does not mean we can't have fun! This picture of Alex, Rebecca and Freda was recently taken on the MDHA "fashion runway". Would you like one of these fabulous limited edition Homeless Count hats for just $15? No problem. All you have to do is sign up for the Count. We will be selling these at all of the staging sites. Registration closes down on January 18, 2016 at noon. Yikes, isn't that the day after tomorrow?! Sign up today.
All the info, a link to register, and more is on the dedicated page on our website:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

We Need 750!

As you know, on Thursday night, January 21, 2016, 8:00pm-1:00am, the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) will be conducting its annual Point-In-Time (PIT) Homeless Count. 

In order to conduct a full and accurate count of the unsheltered homeless, MDHA will need 750 volunteers, registered as teams of 3-5 persons. How did we arrive at that number? We're glad you asked! Strap on your thinking caps:

The City of Dallas has been divided into 193 counting routes:
  • There are 48 Tier 1 routes that we have identified as having 4 or more encampments (an encampment can be 1 or more persons).
  • There are 69 Tier 2 routes that we have identified as having 1-3 encampments (smaller encampments, no tent cities).
  • The balance are Tier 3 routes that have not had any recent reports of homelessness, but we wish to canvass to identify any new encampments, youth staying in 24 hour restaurants overnight, or families in cars in store parking lots that might not draw the attention of street outreach.
Now, 193 routes times an average of 4 persons per counting team equals 772. So, with 750 volunteers, we will get Dallas near full Coverage.
To sign up, and for more information, go to:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Data Driven Alliance to End Homelessness - Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance Partners with PCCI on Homeless Response Technology

Dallas, Texas — January 7, 2016 — PCCI has partnered with Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) on a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) that will serve over 40 homeless organizations in Dallas and Collin County.

Earlier this year, the Dallas-Collin Continuum of Care (CoC) determined that one of their most important goals would be the development of a single comprehensive HMIS that all homeless providers would use to store their data. In late November, the CoC’s lead agency, MDHA, voted to partner with PCCI on this endeavor.

“This is a critical next step to developing an efficient and effective homeless response system of care that is well coordinated, accountable and performance-based. When Iris, as our HMIS system, is fully implemented, the community will have a far clearer picture of the nature and extent of homelessness and have the data necessary to optimize our housing and services to make the experience of homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.” Says Cindy Crain, President and CEO of the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance.

PCCI’s Pieces™ Iris software will be the HMIS software for Dallas and Collin Counties. This is the first time any HMIS system will be implemented as the system of record for the CoC, which directs all HUD dollars for homeless services locally. “PCCI is thrilled to support MDHA as they continue to build an effective and impactful homeless response system,” says Dr. Anand Shah, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at PCCI.

The Pieces Iris™ software is a configurable, full service case-management and client-tracking tool designed specifically for non-profit and social service agencies. Implementations of the software will take place throughout 2016 at the various homeless service organizations.

About PCCI

PCCI is a high tech research and development company and innovation think tank focused on healthcare. The Pieces™ software interprets EMR data in real-time, transforming them into useful intervention warning tools that assist physicians and hospitals on complex clinical decisions in every fields of medicine. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, PCCI’s vision is to deploy predictive and surveillance solutions around the world that make healthcare safer, simpler, and less stressful. For more information, visit

About MDHA

The Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) is a non-profit organization leading the development of an effective homeless response system that will make the experience of homelessness in Dallas and Collin Counties rare, brief, and non-recurring. MDHA engages nonprofit and public service organizations, policy makers, funders, people experiencing homelessness and the public in making continuous progress toward this goal. MDHA brings together more than 85 shelter, housing and supportive services programs in retooling homeless services into a crisis response system. Guided by principles of collective impact, homeless services must be transformed into a nimble system of care, that is easily navigable by consumers, responsive to service needs, and accountable to funders, both public and private. As the system’s backbone organization for Dallas and Collin Counties’ homeless response system, MDHA is client focused, agency informed and funder driven, in providing the leadership and infrastructure guiding this transformation.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Faith, Hope and Housing – Joining Non Profit Efforts with Congregations’ Hearts

On January 14, 2016, at 6:00pm, MDHA and the First United Methodist Church of Dallas are inviting congregations of all denominations and faiths to meet together to discuss a variety of opportunities to assist our homeless neighbors.

Please help us by announcing this event at the next gathering of your congregation, posting to social media, and in any other way getting the word out. For more information and a printable flyer click here.

To RSVP for this event, e-mail Rebecca at, or RSVP directly to our Eventbrite invite by clicking the link below:

If you are a CoC partner agency and would like to have your top 3 donation or service needs listed at this event, please e-mail Shavon at .