Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dallas Morning News publishes Op-Ed essay

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.


Mandy Schalk Cooper said...

The article was perfect. Too bad you still have people calling you an extremist giving propaganda. I guess thats the opposition in all things. How can we get involved or give our support?

Larry James said...

Thanks, Mandy. There will be a public meeting on Monday night, June 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Methodist Hospital. Please come and bring like-minded friends!

Jennifer said...

As a property owner in the area directly surrounding the Cliff Manor, I understand that giving people a place to live is the only way to end homlessness. And I'm all for it. If it could be accomplished in such a way that would not affect me adversely at this location, I would be all for moving these unfortunates in tomorrow. But, as a property owner, my largest concern is the value of my biggest investement - my home. It's been said that if this project moves forward, the developement of the area that used to house the Colorado Place apartments will not happen, and the word I hear from the new Avalon at Kessler Park Active Senior living is that they have already had many cancelled leases (and they're not even done with construction!). We all worked hard to bring in these developments, and I stayed in the area when I was planning to move because I was really interested in what was happening in my area. If what I'm left with is a huge empty lot & loss of property value, then I'm not for this venture. No matter how my heart bleeds for those less fortunate than me.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for being honest. If we can't admit that most such opposition is about money, we can't address the real concern. So, does anyone have numbers on whether such projects really lower property values, or if this is an unfounded fear?