The Dallas Morning News published my Op-Ed piece in this morning's editons of the paper. Here's a taste of my point of view:
I think I understand the feelings, including the fears, of the folks who live in north Oak Cliff around the now controversial Dallas Housing Authority property Cliff Manor.
Our housing authority recently teamed with Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance to open 100 apartments at Cliff Manor for use by the chronically homeless, who overcrowd the city's homeless assistance center, The Bridge. Neighborhood reaction fell into the familiar pattern we've come to expect when it comes to housing homeless men, women and children.
Just ask these Oak Cliff property owners and residents what they fear, and they'll recite a familiar list: Loitering. Petty crimes and misdemeanors. Public intoxication. Public obscenity (usually related to absence of toilet facilities). Panhandling. Threats to the safety of children.
Fears about crimes against children – or violent crime in general – are largely unfounded.
And the remaining fears relate directly to behaviors characteristic of people with no place to live. The obvious way to eliminate the offensive behaviors of the homeless is to provide them permanent places to live. Permanent housing serves as an amazingly effective intervention in the lifestyles of the chronically homeless.
Click here to read the entire essay. Love to have your reactions.