An artist rendering of the common area at the Cottages at Hickory Creek.

Mental health is at the center of the Cottages at Hickory Creek, an $8.2 million public-private partnering that hopes to empower and treat the chronically homeless in Dallas. They’re given their own residence on the nearly three-acre site and provided on-location mental healthcare and treatment.

The care each resident receives will be personalized, determined by a standardized initial evaluation that everyone is required to take. Substance abuse counselors will make daily trips to lead 12-step programs. A nurse will be onsite five days a week to give immunizations, monitor blood sugar levels if need be, and provide general preventive care. Social workers will offer therapy up to three times a week.

Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern, will lead a team that keeps a database of different metrics for all of the Cottage’s residents before and after they started living there.

“The goal is to stabilize 50 people and monitor their outcomes,” he says. “The hypothesis there will be that all of their outcomes will be better. Mental health will improve and substance use severity will go down and they will stay out of the criminal justice system. That is the goal, moving them out is not the primary goal.”

The residents can stay in their 400 square foot cottages as long as they like.

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