Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Edd's reflection on 2013 homeless census. . .

[I'm privileged to work with some of the finest people in the world every day.  None finer than Edd Eason.  

Edd and I go back a long, long way.  We were in college together 44 years ago!  Edd and I served the same church in Richardson for 14 years.  We've been blessed to have Edd here at CitySquare over many years.  Whatever Edd puts his hand to turns out to benefit everyone around him.  

He sent me the following reflection on the annual "point in time census" of our homeless neighbors that took place in late January here in Dallas.  LJ]

There were about 8 -10 of us last night at the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) homeless census. All of the CitySquare Homeless Outreach Team, plus Steven Arias and I from Project Access Dallas.

Very interesting activity.

I spent about 4 hours at The Bridge interviewing homeless people. 

I’d recommend everyone at CitySquare do this at some point in their career. 

It’s best thing I've ever done to “put a face on homelessness.” It’s one thing to face homelessness individually out in our neighborhoods.  It’s quite another to face up with homeless folks one after another for 4 straight hours.

At the end of each interview volunteers ask, “What are the five most important things you need right now?” 

Overwhelmingly, the number one answer is “a home.”

I visited with a man who had been homeless off and on for 27 years. 

Recently, he had been moved to one of the transitional units at The Bridge. He told me he had been sober for 10 months and was beginning to lose the cravings for alcohol for the first time in his life. 

I showed him a list of 20 + things to choose from - things like money, transportation, substance abuse treatment, medical/dental care, etc. For his list of 5 things his number one response was “a place of my own.”

Most folks assume that a man who had lived in emergency shelters for 27 years would have adjusted to that reality and would have given up on having “a place of his own.” 

Just goes to show that changing the trajectory of people's lives sometimes is as simple, and as challenging, as continuing to provide opportunity and support until a person is ready to make changes.


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