Recently, Dallas Morning News columnist, Steve Blow "investigated" Central Dallas Ministries' (and Central Dallas Community Development Corporation) housing development at 511 N. Akard in Downtown Dallas. His column hits the streets in this morning's edition of the paper.
Of course, I love what he found, what he reports and what our neighbors, both inside and outside the building, have to say.
The recent controversy over the Cliff Manor housing plans put forward by the Dallas Housing Authority for their building in North Oak Cliff seems small and foolish in view of our on-the-ground experience with formerly homeless persons who live with the same sorts of challenges.
I wish the Oak Cliff folks would come over and check out what we're doing here. We've made an effort to reach out to the folks concerned about redevelopment along Fort Worth Avenue, but they informed us that they weren't interested in a "sales job" and that they knew all about Permanent Supportive Housing. Hopefully, a more open approach will eventually surface over there.
Here's what Steve Blow had to say. . .
Downtown condos could allay Oak Cliff residents' fears about 'formerly homeless' living in Cliff Manor
04:43 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 30, 2010
One afternoon last week, I found a shady bench across the street from 511 N. Akard St. in Downtown Dallas. And I sat awhile, watching the activity there.
You know what I saw?
Oh, there was a little bit of coming and going from the building. But none of it was the least bit out of the ordinary.
And I suspect the view outside Cliff Manor will be very much the same, assuming that apartment building also becomes a home for the formerly homeless.
We have certain images in our heads when the word "homeless" is mentioned. None of them are pretty.
But that building I watched – CityWalk@Akard – is working hard to give us some new mental images to go with the phrase "formerly homeless."
"Quiet," "orderly," "inviting" – those are some of the words to describe what I found when I visited inside CityWalk the next day.
CityWalk is a project of Central Dallas Ministries. The 200-unit apartment building opened in April. It has 50 apartments set aside for the formerly homeless. The other 150 are for low-income tenants.
It's a home, but it's also a demonstration project.
To read the entire essay and to access links to recent, related stories click here.