Dallas Fort Worth Urban Forum


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Postby dukemeredith » 22 Feb 2017 11:05

I wanted to start a thread in this forum about the homelessness dilemma.

Last night, I saw the attached image on Facebook, and many commenters were heralding the great job of the DPD for enforcing the panhandling laws. Many of those same commenters also referred to the proliferation of "aggressive" panhandling in downtown.

I have only once been "aggressively" panhandled -- when a man in Victory Park refused to take my offer of a $10 Subway gift card and insisted I go to the ATM and withdraw $10 cash instead. I was outraged, and politely let that man know how I felt.

But this photo struck me with a mix of emotion. I have been non-aggressively panhandled by this man, and he has stared menacingly when I say "no." So when I initially saw the photo, I thought, "good riddance." But the longer I stared, the less positive I felt.

I have thought through and read the history of vagrancy laws and how they were aimed at deterring and punishing otherwise able-bodied individuals from being unproductive members of society. It was a punishment of laziness and, in my mind, a punishment for not being profitable to the government, since they couldn't tax you.

But I don't get the sense that most of the homeless / panhandling folks downtown are "otherwise able-bodied" or merely "lazy." Perhaps some are, but most need help: whether it be physical shelter, drug treatment, mental health treatment, etc. Which, of course, is all very costly. So I struggle to find solutions to address this dilemma.

So-called "community activists" or "stakeholders" (particularly on Facebook) seemingly offer mere lip service. And City Hall only creates commission after commission. The status quo isn't working -- what, truly, can we do to make substantive progress?

My only answer to this question is that homelessness can be dramatically improved with the investment of a lot of money -- money that we don't have (or don't want to spend). According to this report(http://www.endhomelessness.org/page/-/files/2016%20State%20Of%20Homelessness.pdf), there are over 500,000 homeless people in the US. And over 83,000 are "chronically homeless." These 83,000 are the most dire cases that we see.

So suppose we aimed to help the most helpless -- those 83,000. And suppose (purely unscientific) that the yearly cost of living averages around $30,000 per year. (I get this number from the average cost to house an inmate). And if these individuals need special help, lets double it (just to be conservative).

So these 83,000 people would need $60,000 per year to get "better," which, of course, could be anything from institutionalization (if truly mentally unstable), or rehabilitating these people's lives over a term of years.

$60,000 x 83,000 = ~$5,000,000,000. Five billion dollars per year.

And the creation of a governmental agency to oversee this spending would surely cost billions more.

I'd love to hear other thoughts.
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Re: Homelessness

Postby Tivo_Kenevil » 22 Feb 2017 11:33

Interesting thoughts. If you're talking about subsidizing this at the national level I could see people getting outraged.

The country can't even agree to partially subsidize health care. With that said, I'm more interested in what NTX, as region, does to address this.

I've heard stories where other cities come and "dump" their homeless in DTD , simply because they don't have any services..Which is wrong on so many levels.

But my thought is that a regional level it may be doable.

Whatever happened to the old National Guard Encampment in Grand Prairie that was tossed around as a regional homeless shelter? That's a start.

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Re: Homelessness

Postby tamtagon » 22 Feb 2017 12:23

In a nut shell, a couple decades ago, a movement swept across Federal and State Govts to scale back the scope of caring for people who could not or struggled to take care of themselves. The movement called for religious organizations to perform the tasks as govts stopped. The govts dramatically scaled back services but the religious organizations did not, for the most part, pick up the slack.

You might think homelessness would not be a problem in the Bible Belt, but you would be wrong.

---I have much less rant-y, more detailed thoughts on this subject, but I'm short on time and chock full of frustration, but come on! look at how many churches are in the Central Business District. There should not be such a large homeless population within such a concentration of Christianity.

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Re: Homelessness

Postby dfwcre8tive » 22 Feb 2017 13:39

In Seattle there is now a proposed property tax to help address the homelessness issue.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-new ... education/

The mayor acknowledged that while many are benefiting from a booming local economy, thousands are sleeping on the streets in a dystopian “Other Seattle.”

He said he wants to double the city’s spending on homelessness with a five-year, $275 million property-tax levy.

Murray has asked billionaire tech entrepreneur Nick Hanauer and Daniel Malone, executive director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center, to lead an advisory group tasked with hammering out the details, he said.

The mayor said he hopes the City Council will put the measure on the August ballot.

“This would allow us to invest in mental-health treatment, in addiction treatment and in getting more people into housing and off the streets,” he said, adding, “I believe the residents of Seattle are ready to support such a measure.”

Murray is challenging the city’s business community to come up with an additional $25 million over five years, he said.

On Wednesday, the mayor will activate the Emergency Operations Center to help people without homes. The center is traditionally activated only during severe storms, major city events and natural disasters.

The move comes more than a year after Murray first proclaimed Seattle to be in a homelessness state of emergency.

How much does the City of Dallas currently contribute to addressing the issue?

Seattle is also opening a new type of shelter based on an example in San Francisco.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-new ... -district/

Seattle’s facility will be modeled on the Navigation Center that San Francisco officials opened in 2015, with the goal of providing people with wraparound services and moving them quickly into permanent housing.

Like a dormitory, the Mission District center has showers, restrooms, laundry machines, lockers and on-demand meals.

Guests receive customized case-management, mental- and behavioral-health counseling and connections to benefits.

They come and go as they please without losing their beds, unlike guests at traditional shelters, who must line up each night.

The facility is designed to accommodate groups of people moving out of unauthorized homeless camps.

It allows partners, pets and possessions, which are barred from most traditional shelters, and there aren’t many rules and admission restrictions.

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Re: Homelessness

Postby Hannibal Lecter » 26 Feb 2017 02:55

A one-way ticket from Dallas to Los Angeles on Greyhound can be had for $59. I imagine the city can get a discount for buying them in bulk.

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Re: Homelessness

Postby jrd1964 » 29 May 2018 03:21

Sunday night, a man vandalized the lobby area and smashed windows at the 1505 Elm building. He was arrested and believed to be homeless.

http://www.fox4news.com/news/man-arrest ... e-building

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Re: Homelessness

Postby tamtagon » 29 May 2018 08:18

He needs help not jail. If he was a homeless veteran, would that matter? Nope.

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Re: Homelessness

Postby cowboyeagle05 » 01 Jun 2018 11:15

Sounds like the library has decided to be a part of the solution rather than just fight the homeless problem on their front doorstep.

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2018/05/31/dall ... r-for-all/

Lowe oversees the library system’s adult services: everything from tax assistance, to healthcare navigation, computer classes, English classes, and now a robust homeless engagement program as well. Several years ago, a grant allowed them to add a staffer with a social work background to help connect homeless patrons to services because success is often about access.

Giudice admits that she had to overcome her own assumptions when shaping the program. After transferring from a branch library to expanded duties downtown, she says she saw the homeless loitering outside and decided that helping them obtain their GEDs would solve the problem. Her awakening came when a homeless patron with a doctorate offered to teach it for her.

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