- Associated Press - Sunday, March 13, 2016

DALLAS (AP) - Two recent slayings at a Dallas homeless camp under an Interstate 45 bridge have prompted city officials to make plans to close the site by early May.

About 250 people live in what’s known as Tent City. Authorities hope that many of them can soon be placed in temporary or more permanent shelters by May 4, when law enforcement officers and cleaning crews are expected at the site, according to The Dallas Morning News (https://bit.ly/1MfUYFA ).

A homeless man, Dana Hunter, 50, was found slain Jan. 17.

Another homeless man, 51-year-old Clifford Murray, was stabbed to death Feb. 16 during a fight, investigators say. A cross wrapped in pink yarn, wilted flowers and an open Bible recently rested at the site; a suspect has been charged.

Murray’s death spurred homeless advocates and city and Dallas County officials to move to shut down the encampment, which is dotted with tents to provide shelter.

“These people need a roof over their heads and not a tent top,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said.

Tent City has more than quadrupled in size since August and is still growing, the newspaper reported.

City Council member Scott Griggs doesn’t expect everyone to be housed. In most cases, people living at the camp will be moved into temporary shelters, he said. Closing Tent City doesn’t mean other homeless encampments will go away.

“This will not end homelessness in the city of Dallas,” Griggs said.

Bulldozers in 1994 rolled through a Dallas homeless camp under I-45, where about 200 people lived. Police arrested people for sleeping in public.

Dallas later faced a federal lawsuit alleging the rights of more than 50 homeless people at the site were violated. The city initially lost the lawsuit, but won on appeal.


Information from: The Dallas Morning News, https://www.dallasnews.com

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