– Larry James, on CitySquare’s approach to working with the poor and homeless
“Really all that matters is how we treat people and how we take care of each other…We want to humanize our relations with each other…Charity is not the solution. Friendship is, and justice is.”
In Episode 7 of Street View, you meet Larry James, author of The Wealth of the Poor, and President and CEO of CitySquare, a Dallas-based social justice agency dedicated to fighting the root causes of poverty through service, advocacy and friendship. Discussion revolves around CitySquare and Larry’s strong vision of how to approach change in housing and poverty in Dallas. Larry discusses CitySquare’s various housing and service projects including, 511 Akard, The Opportunity Center, and The Cottages at Hickory Crossing. Larry James was recently appointed by Mayor Mike Rawlings to head the Mayor’s Poverty Taskforce to develop short-term wins in the fight against poverty which held their first meeting on May 29, 2014.
Throughout the episode, Larry relates the core issues of homelessness to the same core issues of poverty, saying, “If you start unpacking these stories, there are common threads. Generational poverty, unforeseen tragedy or accidents, health issues, sexual abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism, drug addiction. Often beginning with some tragedy or trauma and people self-medicate. This kind of thing is happening in University Park. It’s in the Park Cities. It’s in McKinney. It’s in Allen. It’s everywhere. But in the poor neighborhoods where the resources do not exist, it’s more difficult to cover all that up.”