Dallas Fort Worth Urban Forum

Homelessness

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dukemeredith
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Homelessness

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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Tivo_Kenevil
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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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tamtagon
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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.

dfwcre8tive
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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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Hannibal Lecter
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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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jrd1964
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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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tamtagon
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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.

cowboyeagle05
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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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mdg109
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Re: Homelessness

Postby mdg109 » 01 Jul 2018 12:55

Is Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance the main organization for homelessness in Dallas? I was out downtown yesterday during the day, and I noticed a lot more homeless than usual. I'm just trying to read up on what the city is doing and how to support.

Also, has anyone visited the central library recently? I'm just wondering if the library experience is ok once you get past all the homeless hanging out outside.

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jrd1964
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Re: Homelessness

Postby jrd1964 » 02 Jul 2018 10:16

The central library is one of the few places one can go to in their situation, outside of a shelter, and not get run off by police or property owners. There's a/c, sockets to charge up cell phones, computers, and that outreach program also. The bathrooms used to be a problem with folks trying to bathe, but I think there's less of that now. There is security there, and the employees there seem to want to help anyone who has a question. You should be all right there.

I'm not sure what the City is doing, but it doesn't seem to be quite enough to turn the corner on the situation. You have the publicizing of the breakup of various tent cities underneath freeways and other areas, but seemingly not much more.

The MDHA seems to be the lead agency, but there really isn't just one resource. With different providers here, there are multiple angles regarding assistance.
* The Bridge looks like it was supposed to be an all-in-one spot for help, but in the end, not quite. There are meals served, a Parkland clinic, and a few places one can sleep (but those are always full).
* The Stewpot has a clothing room, will help get birth certificates or other needed ID/paperwork, and provide a secure way to receive mail if one doesn't have a mailbox somewhere. (They used to serve food there, but now that is handled by The Bridge)
* Austin Street provides a few overnight shelter spots with dinner and breakfast and shower at no cost, but few caseworker opportunities.
* CitySquare has several services including education, a TX Workforce office, a food pantry, a thrift store, and a clinic (collaboration with Baylor Scott & White); housing is available infrequently and under certain guidelines.
* OurCalling provides some meals and a free washer-dryer service, as well as printed and app-based lists of their and other resources.
* Dallas Life is an overnight shelter but I'm not sure what else they do.
* Union Gospel Mission is also an overnight shelter, and I don't know what else they do, either.
* Salvation Army provides up to 30 days shelter free, then there is a charge. I don't know what the amount is, nor what else they do here.
* Soupmobile provides meals, has their own church, and is the organization that puts up several hundred each Christmas at a local hotel (the downtown Omni has hosted it the last few years); they get catered food, gifts, and clothing during that stay. As far as other day-to-day services, I'm not sure.

A few churches do various things, like free meals, food pantry, and individual day bus passes.

I do remember hearing about having part of the old naval air station as a possible place to put up folks but that talk didn't last long. The station isn't near any social service resources and there was supposedly pollution or other EPA-type issues out there.

I'm not sure if the more-than usual thing is because of the economy, or because people are moving here from other cities/areas, or what it could be.

As for the magic solution, I'm not sure what it is. More mental health resources (and better indigent physical health, including dental) would be good, some kind of longer-than-a-day DART bus pass availability would help, maybe a secure spot(s) to leave bags/personal items when not needed during the day. I'm sure there are other things that could be done that are unfilled niches.

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mdg109
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Re: Homelessness

Postby mdg109 » 02 Jul 2018 13:15

Thanks so much for the info. I know housing first has worked really well in other cities, and BC Workshop has helped out with a small village here in Dallas, but that takes a lot of money to start up and sustain.

I'm going to check out the library and see what the experience is like.

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jrd1964
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Re: Homelessness

Postby jrd1964 » 02 Jul 2018 17:12

mdg109 wrote:Thanks so much for the info. I know housing first has worked really well in other cities, and BC Workshop has helped out with a small village here in Dallas, but that takes a lot of money to start up and sustain.

I'm going to check out the library and see what the experience is like.


I forgot to mention the Cottages at Hickory Crossing, a collaborative effort between CitySquare, the city, and other groups/agencies. It is overseen by CitySquare and is across the street from one of its main facilities. It took at least a year or 2 longer than expected to complete and open. Most folks there are the most chronically homeless, and they can stay in each cottage for as long as they like. The setup of each cottage is simple, with living area, kitchen, bathroom, and a bed (as well as other modest furnishings). There is a laundromat on-site, it is on the bus line, and close to CitySquare and other social services.

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Matt777
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Re: Homelessness

Postby Matt777 » 02 Jul 2018 18:06

jrd1964 wrote:
mdg109 wrote:Thanks so much for the info. I know housing first has worked really well in other cities, and BC Workshop has helped out with a small village here in Dallas, but that takes a lot of money to start up and sustain.

I'm going to check out the library and see what the experience is like.


I forgot to mention the Cottages at Hickory Crossing, a collaborative effort between CitySquare, the city, and other groups/agencies. It is overseen by CitySquare and is across the street from one of its main facilities. It took at least a year or 2 longer than expected to complete and open. Most folks there are the most chronically homeless, and they can stay in each cottage for as long as they like. The setup of each cottage is simple, with living area, kitchen, bathroom, and a bed (as well as other modest furnishings). There is a laundromat on-site, it is on the bus line, and close to CitySquare and other social services.


Isn't that the one that ended up costing like $130k per 400 sqft "cottage?" Surely there's a better solution. You could likely give them a 3/2 single wide mobile home and lot on the city outskirts for less than that.

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Hannibal Lecter
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Re: Homelessness

Postby Hannibal Lecter » 02 Jul 2018 23:36

^ Or bus tickets to california for about $120 a pop.

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jrd1964
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Re: Homelessness

Postby jrd1964 » 03 Jul 2018 09:48

I don't know why the $$$ and time overruns. I have heard that if CitySquare does any more housing (I have a feeling they will) they will approach it differently next time.

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tamtagon
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Re: Homelessness

Postby tamtagon » 03 Jul 2018 10:04

Hannibal Lecter wrote:^ Or bus tickets to california for about $120 a pop.


gross

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I45Tex
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Re: Homelessness

Postby I45Tex » 03 Jul 2018 17:58

tamtagon wrote:gross


I know, it's gotten tricky to respond in detail to his posts about transit, smart growth and culture or society when I can't recall which Koch brother he is IRL

Tnexster
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Re: Homelessness

Postby Tnexster » 03 Jul 2018 23:54

Matt777 wrote:
Isn't that the one that ended up costing like $130k per 400 sqft "cottage?" Surely there's a better solution. You could likely give them a 3/2 single wide mobile home and lot on the city outskirts for less than that.


What?

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Hannibal Lecter
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Re: Homelessness

Postby Hannibal Lecter » 05 Jul 2018 17:43

tamtagon wrote:gross


Gross is having someone take a dump in the hallway of your building, or drop their pants and do the same in the street. Gross is having to explain to your son that the brown pile by the dumpster didn't come from a horse like he thought. Gross is watching a man jerk off into the grille of a car in broad daylight a block from your house. Gross is having someone destroy a present from your mother trying to use it to break the window of your residence, with you inside. Gross is no longer feeling safe walking down your own street late at night. Gross is watching them just drop their trash in the middle of the sidewalk, while standing next to a trash can.

Gross is being knocked unconscious, with a concussion and a broken facial bone because you opened your front door in the middle of the day.

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jrd1964
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Re: Homelessness

Postby jrd1964 » 05 Jul 2018 22:57

They're not all like that.

I know, because I was homeless for a year.

I have never resorted to hurting or attacking anyone, nor have I broken into anyone's home or business.

It's awful that things have happened to you and around you that have led you to how you feel, but please, don't throw me (and some others who are legitimately trying to come back from very difficult situations) out with the baby and bathwater.

They're not all like that.

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tamtagon
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Re: Homelessness

Postby tamtagon » 06 Jul 2018 09:58

Hannibal Lecter wrote:
tamtagon wrote:gross


Gross is having someone take a dump in the hallway of your building, or drop their pants and do the same in the street. Gross is having to explain to your son that the brown pile by the dumpster didn't come from a horse like he thought. Gross is watching a man jerk off into the grille of a car in broad daylight a block from your house. Gross is having someone destroy a present from your mother trying to use it to break the window of your residence, with you inside. Gross is no longer feeling safe walking down your own street late at night. Gross is watching them just drop their trash in the middle of the sidewalk, while standing next to a trash can.

Gross is being knocked unconscious, with a concussion and a broken facial bone because you opened your front door in the middle of the day.


I'm encouraged by your bravery, compelled by your conviction. Most people would have moved years ago.

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mdg109
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Re: Homelessness

Postby mdg109 » 07 Jul 2018 13:49

There are several public outreach meetings scheduled to talk about the spike in homelessness in the area:
https://www.docdroid.net/QzUoeGC/homele ... etings.pdf

I definitely plan on attending one of these.


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