Whenever the issue of homelessness comes up in Dallas (probably true in every major city in the U. S. ,come to think of it), someone begins quoting crime statistics.
It doesn't help that just this week we learned that Dallas, Texas is the most dangerous city in the U. S. A. in which to try to live!
The safest major American city? New York City!
But, back to the stats.
The attempt to link crime and its growth to the homeless population in a city like Dallas is not fair, nor does such a connection line up with reality or experience. Homeless persons, if they commit crimes at all, typically commit petty misdemeanors associated with the fact that they don't have homes. Their "crimes" are not violent and genearlly not related to property violations, except to find a place to lie down for a bit.
Turn the page with me.
I've met and talked to lots of men on the streets of Dallas who don't panhandle. They also wouldn't think of coming to an aid center like the one we operate in East Dallas.
Way too proud for that. They are determined to "make it on their own. "
Wonder what would happen if they all went away?
One thing I know for sure, discarded aluminun cans would be everywhere! Our homeless population cleans up the trash and liter on our inner city streets. Picking up cans to sell for food and yes, for some, a drink or two, serves a good purpose for the rest of us.
Reaching out the people on the basis of their value always seems to be the place to begin productive engagement. The fact is lots of homeless people work hard every day picking up at least part of our trash.
Maybe more of us should stop and express our thanks.
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Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
Today and throughout 2013, we need your support to continue our life-changing work in inner-city Dallas. Every day hundreds of our wonderful neighbors arrive at our doors seeking our assistance, offering their help and prepared to pursue a better life. Frankly, the folks we "serve" make essential contributions to the scope, nature and soul of the work we attempt. At CitySquare we honor and recognize the amazing value and richness of our low-income neighbors. During 2012, almost 55,000 different people received the benefit of our wide-ranging services designed to assist in the process of building better lives. We need your help TODAY as we continue to respond to the needs of our community. Even more, we need you to become our PARTNER in the work of compassion and community renewal--work that continues day after day at CitySquare.