Homelessness increasing slightly in Fort Worth area, count shows

On the night of Jan. 25, hundreds of volunteers and members of law enforcement canvassed Tarrant and Parker counties to count the homeless population.

Their results showed there are 2,015 people experiencing homelessness, an increase of 91 people, or 5 percent, from 2017. The homeless population continues to shrink as a percentage of the overall population and remains below 1 percent of the total Tarrant County population.

Homelessness on the western side of the Metroplex continues to be concentrated in Fort Worth, with smaller totals counted in surrounding suburbs and rural areas. Totals for 2018:

  • Fort Worth, 1,787, up from 1,594.
  • Arlington, 207, down from 252.
  • Parker County, 8, down from 12.
  • Northeast Tarrant, 13, down from 66.

Other facts about the homeless population counted in January:

  • 56 percent were male.
  • 44 percent were white.
  • 14 percent were children.
  • 20 percent were families.
  • 8 percent were military veterans.
  • 14 percent suffer from chronic homelessness.
  • 18 percent suffer from mental illness and substance abuse.
  • 5 percent were the victims of domestic violence.

Learn more online.

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Increasing Awareness About Deadly Game

Protecting teenagers from societal dangers can be a difficult task for parents and educators. There are already many challenges to overcome such as bullying, eating disorders, alcohol and drugs, just to name a few, but now there’s a new danger in the form of an online game called the Blue Whale Challenge. The term “Blue Whale” comes from the phenomenon of beached whales, which is linked to suicide.

No one knows for sure where the game originated but some believe it may have gotten its start in Russia and now exists in several countries. The Blue Whale Challenge is an Internet game that goads vulnerable teenagers into role playing with deadly consequences. To play the game, teenagers are given a series of tasks assigned to players by administrators during a 50-day period, with the final challenge requiring the player to commit suicide.

The participants are told to record all of their tasks, which include waking up at odd hours, inflicting harm on one’s body, listening to psychedelic rock music etc. The Blue Whale Challenge also involves carving out shapes on one’s skin and other forms of self-mutilation. The game reportedly can be played with an app or other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram etc.

Police Chief James Brandon says, “Parents should educate themselves about this latest threat to our children and talk to them about the dangers of playing this deadly game. Children who are vulnerable to peer pressure should be reassured that it’s okay to refuse to take part in any activity like this and if they hear the game being talked about they should immediately report it to an adult.”

If you, or a friend, or a family member are having serious thoughts of suicide, unrelated to the Blue Whale Challenge, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. A skilled, trained crisis worker will answer the call and will be able to help. Suicide is not the answer. Talk to someone.


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