The president of a local neighborhood association has proposed using former Naval Air Station Dallas, also known as Hensley Field, to provide shelter for homeless residents in Dallas.
The plan calls for establishing a campsite at the southwest Dallas site, reported the Dallas Morning News. Dignity Field, as envisioned by Cedars Neighborhood Association president Michael Sitarzewski, would include an open-air camping space, a covered camping space, boarding houses and tiny homes for individuals. Sitarzewski envisions people moving from open-air camping into more permanent housing options over time. His plan requires raising $50 million to build small homes and other living facilities on the 350-acre tract.
“We can do this now,” Sitarzewski told the paper.
The civic leader’s plan comes as the city is closing Tent City, a homeless encampment under Interstate 45 outside downtown. Sitarzewski decided to develop his own solution to homelessness in Dallas after city leaders failed to come up with a viable plan. Now Sitarzewski says he wants his idea publicly shared.
“To me this thing addresses directly the question of not enough permanent supportive housing and the idea that nobody’s really excited about having development in their backyard,” he said.
Hensley Field closed in 1998 under BRAC and later was recommissioned as the Grand Prairie Armed Forces Reserve Complex. The site has been considered in the past as an option for housing homeless residents but no formal proposal had been developed until Sitarzewski drafted his and sent it to the mayor and city council on Sunday.
One concern expressed by homeless advocates about the plan is the site’s location; it’s far from Dallas’ city center and would require support services on site.