– Mike Faenza on the need for more compassion and understanding in order to end homelessness.
“As individuals and as communities, we experience some compassion fatigue and it’s hard for many people to understand what a terribly hard job and emotionally draining experience being homeless is.”
In Episode 8 of Street View, you meet Mike Faenza, President of the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA), a non-profit that serves as the coordinating entity for the $16 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding shared among forty-four area homeless service agencies. In addition to stewarding these funds, MDHA is responsible for tracking the outcomes of these agencies and providing recommendations for improvements. Their ultimate goal: to end homelessness in Dallas. It’s quite the mission, but according to Mike, “On one hand we feel like we are making a big difference. On a bad day we feel like we are bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon.” Mike addresses questions about housing from homeless guests, Don Foreback and Leon Holeman, both of whom struggle with steady employment and housing options. There is a serious shortage of affordable housing for the poor and homeless in Dallas with 20,000 people on a waiting list, the maximum allowed on the list, leaving thousands more waiting to get on the waiting list. Ultimately, the conversation turns to the need for increased community awareness and a change in public perception regarding homelessness and those experiencing it.