Friday, March 09, 2007

Dallas and the new HAC

Almost two years ago now, Dallas voters approved a city bond package that provided almost $24 million for the development of a new "homeless assistance center" (now known as the HAC).

The funds also provided for the development of much-needed permanent housing in the form of studio apartments or single room occupancy (SRO) units.

Central Dallas Community Development Corporation received a commitment of $1 million for this purpose from this same fund. We are now in the process of developing 209 units of Downtown housing due, in part, to these funds. We are most grateful for our partnership with the City of Dallas.

We are also proud of the progress the city has made in regard to the HAC.

Dallas homeless Czar, Mike Rawlings, has done a phenomenal job of pulling everyone together to see the project through to this stage of its development. Groundbreaking for the HAC took place on February 27.

Thanks to Mike's leadership, the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) Board of Directors has been reorganized and now serves as the governing body for the HAC.

Among the Board's first official actions was the hiring of Mike Faenza as our new Executive Director for the HAC and MDHA. Mike returns to Dallas after serving for several years as the leader of the National Mental Health Association in Washington, DC. A number of years ago Mike served as the executive leader for the Dallas Mental Health Association. We are very fortunate to have Mike back in Dallas. Already he is making a difference for our homeless neighbors. Mike is a person who really "gets it" when it comes to the very poor among us.

The new center will be a beautiful place. It will serve as a community tool and a place of refuge for regrouping and movement forward for hundreds of homeless men, women and children.

I was very proud of my district's council member, Pauline Medrano who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony. She offered a very helpful reminder when she said:

"HOPE works in these ways:

. . .it looks for the good in people instead of harping on the worst,
. . .it discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what can not,
. . .it regards problems, small or large, as opportunities,
. . .it pushes ahead when it would be easy to quit,
. . .it lights the candle instead of cursing the darkness."

Thanks, Ms. Medrano. Of course, you are correct. It is all about hope.


syvess24 said...

I have to applaud the city's efforts. The new center looks like it will be beautiful, and what better way to show our support for the homeless than by building something they can be proud to be a part of. Most homeless shelters and relief organizations are in buildings that look so pathetic that, if I were homeless, I would be embarrassed to go to them. A center like this one will show the poor that we really do care, and it will help them hold their heads up a little higher. After all, they are humans too. Why should they not have a place they can be proud to call refuge from the world?

HAM*I*AM said...

Parallel lives....

Fort Collins recently approved a Housing Services Day Center at the planning and zoning commission, after a 5 year, uphill battle on behalf of the non-profits that are building it.

Someday we'll be fortunate enough to have the resources such as yours to address the issue in kind.