Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Counting misery

Two weeks ago Thursday evening, over 100 concerned citizens fanned out across Dallas, like their peers and counterparts in cities all over the nation, to participate in what's called "the point in time census" of our neighbors who have no place to call home.  The annual "snap shot" count provides a baseline number that becomes useful in year-to-year planning and understanding of the scope and scale of the challenges of homelessness in the United States.  The census never provides an accurate. full count--we know there are more people dealing with homelessness than we ever manage to account for.  But, the count does allow us to understand more about trend lines and changes among the most miserable of our fellow human beings.

CitySquare sent a team to work on the project.  About 20 of us took our assignment to survey/interview anyone we found on Louise Street or its environs.  We know this part of town, the Opportunity Center sits right in the middle of the neighborhood. 

The night was bitter cold and wet.  This will likely be good for the final tally, as most folks found places inside to spend the night.  Local shelters open their doors wider, and some find places to spend the night with friends.  Since the census documents the presence of all in shelters, it drives the count up, though we have no way to count folks who find places inside with friends or family. 

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