Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To house or not to house

Kim Horner reports news for The Dallas Morning News.  She holds down a big piece of the human and social services beat for the region.  Over the past several months Kim has published stories on homelessness in Dallas.  The latest in what she calls "an occasional seriers," appeared in last Sunday's paper. 

Here's how the report begins:

Unwelcome mat out for project to house chronically homeless
12:26 AM CST on Sunday, December 13, 2009
One in an occasional series By KIM HORNER / The Dallas Morning News

Developer Larry Hamilton has been working for months to turn the empty Plaza Hotel south of downtown Dallas into homes for the homeless. But it's been much tougher than he imagined.

Hamilton and other developers complain of roadblocks even as they try to carry out the city's goal of opening 700 apartments for the homeless by 2014. The housing, which would come with mental health and addiction services, is considered the most effective way to clear the streets of the hard-core homeless.

But Dallas has lagged behind other major cities in creating the units. Public financing, neighborhood cooperation and political will are all in short supply in a city that has been able to raise millions for arts projects, a convention center hotel and Calatrava bridges over the Trinity River.

"They have this aspiration to do 700 units, but I think it's going to be hard to do any," Hamilton said. "I don't see how it's going to get done."

To read the entire story click here.

Read Kim Horner's entire series on homelessness here

Lots of work to do both in development and community education. One fact our community must face:  more public funding must be found and a deepened public commitment must be nurtured.


Anonymous said...

Call it empire building.

Larry James said...

Anon, hard to understand what you mean. Not much empire available among the poorest of our neighbors, at least not that I can see.

Brian said...

larry - have you read some of the readers' responses to that and the other articles? . . . really helps demonstrate some of the lovely Christian voices who seek to show that poor people deserve to be poor, don't deserve government assistance, etc . . . truly a challenge in our current cultural wars to be able to work for justice in the face of such "Christian" values!

tln01 said...

You need to look for those who WANT to be helped. Some of the homeless like it that way, god only knows why, but they do. Look for those who staying in therapy, those who can't work because of a mental disability. SSI does not pay much,and most face a hard battle just to get approved for SSI. it's not their fault they have a mental illness, check out those that are inharited. Those with Severe mental illnesses get addicted to drugs because that is the only time they feel normal. help those who really want the help.

Larry James said...

tln01, of course, we work with those who want to "be helped." Let me hasten to add, that this group includes just about everyone in the poppulation in question, at least in ourexperience. Often well-intentioned "helpers" make more mistakes than those they attempt to "help." We are more into opportunity creation than "help" as traditionally understood.