Fort Worth

Homeless advocates seek Fort Worth leaders’ aid

Homeless men sleep during the day outside the Union Gospel Mission on Thursday, July 3, 2014.
Homeless men sleep during the day outside the Union Gospel Mission on Thursday, July 3, 2014. Star-Telegram archives

About 160 homeless people attended Tuesday’s City Council meeting to protest the end of Fare Aid, a free and reduced-cost bus pass program run by the T.

“We need their help,” Cindy Crain, executive director of the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, said of the council members. “We went to the T board and it was not productive. My board decided we need to let the policymakers know the real impact of the Fare Aid elimination.”

The Fort Worth Transportation Authority announced it will stop offering that program starting in October 2015.

The council, although it appoints the T board, does not control the agency’s budget or other policy decisions.

Crain said she hopes the council appoints a task force to come up with solutions to the transportation needs, such as getting to jobs, job searches, making medical and probation appointments, and getting to school.

If Fare Aid is eliminated, Crain predicted, there will be more panhandling, more homeless people walking downtown and through south Fort Worth to get to services and hospitals, and more calls to MedStar when there is no other way to get to the hospital.

Fare Aid, started in 1990, offers about 140 agencies in Fort Worth free and reduced-cost passes to help look for work, make medical appointments and other pressing needs.

The T is under pressure from the council and state and regional leaders to expand ridership and routes and to build big projects such as the proposed TEX Rail commuter line from downtown Fort Worth to Grapevine and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. To do that, officials say they need more money. The T spent about $300,000 on the Fare Aid program last year.

This report includes materal from Star-Telegram archives.

— Caty Hirst