Originally published by WSPA 7 News. See original story here.
SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Spartanburg leaders are sharing what they learned from a visit to Texas.
More than 30 people including council members made the trek to Fort Worth last week.
City and county leaders say was one of the big takeaways was how Fort Worth addressed homelessness.
“We have a moral obligation to take care of those who are less fortunate,” said Spartanburg Mayor Pro Tem Alan Jenkins. “They [Fort Worth] provide a great model for how other municipalities and organizations can address homelessness.”
According to United Way of the Piedmont, a recent count found 2,500 homeless people in Spartanburg County.
Leaders hope Fort Worth’s efforts can inspire local change.
“Their homeless initiative was being driven by this growth of Sundance Square,” said Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt.
Councilman David Britt was among seven city and county council members who recently visited Fort Worth.
The Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce led the trip with more than 30 local stakeholders.
“Fort Worth and Dallas have that symbiotic relationship much like we do as a region of Spartanburg-Greenville,” said Jansen Tidmore, Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President of Corporate and Urban Development. “Fort Worth’s done a really good job of being able to find their own brand.”
He said that’s their goal for Spartanburg as it grows.
“You don’t do it just by recruiting companies. We have to recruit people to come to Spartanburg,” said Councilman David Britt, adding Sundance Square was inspirational. “It’s not just about the money that they’re bringing into downtown. It’s the opportunities that they’re creating for the people in Fort Worth.”
Tidmore said Sundance Square helped the homeless in Fort Worth.
“How providing that place and providing that mechanism that builds your tax base and builds revenue for your community allows you to take on other projects such as True Worth which is their homeless initiative,” Tidmore said.
Fort Worth’s Blue Zones is a health and wellness initiative that county leaders want to also look to for insight.
Everyone who went is going to meet again within the next month to go over the takeaways and see what concrete changes can be made.