Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Update on one of our next projects. . .

Communities Foundation of Texas and Meadows Foundation Join Forces to Fight Chronic Homelessness in Dallas
April, 2010

DALLAS – April 6, 2010 – Communities Foundation of Texas and the Meadows Foundation have partnered to combat the problem of chronic homelessness in Dallas through a private-public partnership that involves a collaboration of six local organizations to create the first permanent supportive housing community for homeless individuals with histories of mental illness, substance abuse and involvement with the criminal justice system.

The three-year model program—called The Cottages at Hickory Crossing—will provide permanent housing and on-site support services to 50 people on a site just southeast of downtown Dallas. The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund at CFT has committed up to $3.5 million to the effort, with the initial $1 million being used to support pre-development costs and to provide immediate transitional housing services to individuals that had been served at The Bridge, the city’s homeless assistance center. The remaining Caruth Foundation contribution is a challenge grant, with one dollar matched for every three dollars raised, up to $2.5 million toward the costs of construction, support services for residents, and independent program evaluation over the three-year life of the demonstration project. The Meadows Foundation is providing additional support in the form of a $750,000 program related loan to support land acquisition and development. Private fundraising and government grants will fund the balance of project costs.

The Cottages at Hickory Crossing represents the first time that six leading agencies join the local effort to end chronic homelessness, and have come together on a single project. Project partners include Metrocare Services, Central Dallas Ministries, Central Dallas Community Development Corporation, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Dallas County Criminal Justice System.

To read on click here


Anonymous said...

This is good.

I think the independent program evaluation is extremely important, considering the many and ongoing management problems and snafus at The Bridge. Of all these organizations, MDHA needs oversight and cannot oversee itself.

Many homeless individuals have been discouraged and given up trying to work their way through the levels of problems with the Bridge. Capricious decisions and poor communication between management and those on the ground have been rampant. Things are better, but they need to be much better still.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I witness, first hand, some serious gaps in services, communication, as well as chronic deficits with regard to a consistent, proper approach and attitude exhibited by employees toward the homeless there. Employees who have agreed to commit to the mission of The Bridge have an obligation to consistently project a spirit of hope that every person coming to utilize services there has the ability to make healthy changes.

I get the feeling that many employees there are "burnt out". I have heard this phrase repeated multiple times by Bridge staff, "You can't help everybody"; Not exactly the kind of hope-filled philosophy needed to create the necessary encouraging current required to move chronically homeless people toward healthy, sustainable change. Not to mention this negative energy does little to promote a cohesive, positive morale among employees.

There are effective people there, but, in general, there is a lack strong “can-do type” personalities. A number of staff members appear to lack the necessary, tireless spirit of optimism, inspiration and training required to promote the kinds of change that will best serve those who have been chronically homeless and who will need to develop an especially fortified skill set of coping that will see them through season to season -Change that will take root and grow.

The chronically homeless, like anyone else, are intuitive and know when they are being “handled”. They can sense a lack of faith held silent within the hearts and minds of those staff they interact with. It negatively impacts their innate, but, dormant, inclinations regarding self-efficacy –inclinations that most certainly can be fostered by proper, consistent support.

Hope and faith in ones’ own capacity to facilitate personal success is nurtured and facilitated by personality types “hard wired” for empathy, consistency and encouragements. The Bridge needs more of these kinds of people on their staff roster.

There is much room for improvement, but all in all I’m glad The Bridge exists…It has served a valuable purpose for many of our chronically homeless friends.