In 2018, the City of Dallas accepted “Resilient Dallas: Dallas’ Path to Shared Prosperity,” a strategy that includes seven goals and serves as a guide for all future initiatives and policies. Civic engagement and collaboration were key during the creation of Resilient Dallas, integrating experiences from a network of other cities, stakeholder input, and community participation through interviews and listening sessions.
Three notable goals of the seven are highlighted within Dallas’ featured projects.
Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan (CECAP)
The Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) is an ambitious plan that outlines specific actions to mitigate drivers of climate change, adapt Dallas to future climate conditions, and enhance environmental quality over the next 30 years.
CECAP planning was a collaborative effort with over 20 city departments on the Environmental Planning Task Force (EPTF). Additionally, there was a diverse Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) which was comprised of 12 advocacy and community groups, 3 academic institutions, 22 private businesses, 2 local governmental agencies, and 6 public health organizations. The SAC and EPTF had five planning and drafting workshops, along with 12 formal community meetings, 218 informal CECAP events, 941 residential survey responses, 60 business responses, 1,235 other survey responses, over 9,400 community suggestions, and 366 comments on the draft through an online forum before the official adoption of the CECAP in May 2020.
The CECAP ambitiously outlines eight innovative goals, each with specified measurable targets for years 2030 and 2050. Each goal is broken down into actions which are thoroughly explained in the 122-page document.
To date, 76 of the milestones have been initiated and 21 have been completed and The Environment & Sustainability Task Force was formed, so residents can have easier access to providing input in the implementation.
Welcoming Dallas Strategic Plan
Through the Welcoming Dallas strategic planning process, city staff engaged community residents to understand challenges and identify the greatest barriers to inclusion in the economic and civic life of Dallas.
Based on these needs, the Welcoming Dallas Strategic Plan identified specific recommendations that fall under five goals. Significant accomplishments by the city and partner organizations, broken down by goal, include:
Rapid Integrated Group Healthcare Team (RIGHT)
A comprehensive study by a local Dallas organization found that annually, there are an average number of 13,000 mental health-related emergency calls to the Dallas 911. Additionally, roughly 17,000 people with mental illness are booked into the Dallas County jail annually. Individuals with mental illness are often involved in the criminal justice system, even without having committed an offence, simply because their actions or needs are misunderstood.
The RIGHT Care Program was initiated in 2018 to divert people experiencing a mental health crisis in the community away from jail or unnecessary hospitalization. The RIGHT Care Program is a collaborative effort between the Dallas Police Department, Dallas Fire Rescue Department (DFR), MMHPI, and Parkland Health and Hospital System.
The program began with RIGHT Care teams of three members each: a specially trained police officer, paramedic, and behavioral health specialist who is dispatched to respond to behavioral health related calls. The teams operate 16 hours per day, seven days a week. A Parkland mental health clinician is also housed in the 911-call center to triage calls and serve as a liaison to DPD officers across the city. In 2020, the RIGHT Care team participated in over 1,800 mental health calls, follow-up and outreach care visits.
Prior to the establishment of RIGHT Care, DPD had few options other than arrest of individuals in crisis. Since the program began, involuntary commitment arrests have reduced by the hundreds each year and there has been a 29.5% reduction in mental health calls to 911 requiring an ambulance response.