2021 All-America City Finalist – Dallas, TX

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.

  1. Buildings are energy-efficient and climate resilient.
  2. Dallas generates and uses renewable, reliable, and affordable energy.
  3. Communities have access to sustainable, affordable transportation options.
  4. Dallas is a zero-waste community.
  5. Dallas protects its water resources and its communities from flooding and drought.
  6. Dallas protects and enhances its ecosystems, trees, and green spaces that in turn improve public health.
  7. All communities have access to healthy, local food.
  8. All communities breathe clean air.

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:

  • Leadership and Communication
    • Welcoming Week Proclamation renewed the city’s commitment to making Dallas a more inclusive city for immigrants.
    • Two trainings connected nonprofit partners with the virtual community resource hub and referral platform, which connects individuals with food, shelter, education, workforce and legal assistance.
  • Safe, Healthy, and Connected Communities
    • The city established a formal partnership to provide universal legal representation for Dallas residents going through deportation proceedings.
    • Identified and developed a comprehensive response—inclusive of immigrant needs—to COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Provided COVID-19 public service announcements in multiple languages.
    • Broadcast the police chief candidate forum with simultaneous Spanish translation.
  • Equitable Access
    • Distributed $600,000 cash assistance payments to immigrants and refugees who were negatively affected by the pandemic and were left out of the federal economic stimulus relief programs.
    • Ensuring residents with limited English proficiency have equal access to programs and services through a new Virtual Language Center and other translation efforts.
  • Civic Engagement
    • Provided targeted 2020 Census outreach to immigrant resident neighborhoods.
    • Hosted a Spanish language voter educational webinar to help inform first-time voters.
    • Hosted a virtual citizenship workshop, connecting 62 residents with legal assistance, ESL and civic classes.
    • Worked with family leaders to promote information about pandemic resources among their social circles.
  • Economic Opportunity and Education
    • Hosted a webinar about the ways educators and businesses could create DACA-friendly workspaces in higher education and work.
    • Hosted a webinar promoting financial resources and information for residents and business owners in Spanish.
    • Provided educational gifts during the holiday season to 100 immigrant families.

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.

Some Related Posts

View All

Thank You to Our Key Partners