– John Dornheim, President of NAMI Texas
“One of the big things is to talk about mental health more than mental illness because you want to have good mental health. If you use that terminology, it’s a lot less scary to a lot of people.”
Dallas Public Library staff at NAMIWalks Dallas on May 9, 2015
According to John Dornheim, Special Projects Manager of NAMI Dallas, National Alliance on Mental Illness, one if four people are affected by mental illness. Many times it is more than just the person who suffer, it is his/her friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances. John joins the Street View Podcast team to talk about mental illness, mental health and how NAMI works to provide education, support and advocacy for those affected by mental illness. Mr. Dornheim too suffered from mental illness prior to joining NAMI and shares his personal experiences.
Season 2, Episode 7:
– 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.
– Ron Cowart, on the role of the police in dealing with complaints about the homeless
“A police officer has to walk a fine line between protecting the individual right of that citizen, but also having to react to the greater society or community who wants them out of their sight.”
In Episode 2 of Street View, you meet Ron Cowart with the Dallas Police Department’s Crisis Intervention unit. Ron provides insight on the ambivalent relationship Dallas Police have with the homeless, limitations to law enforcement due to the homeless being a “protected class” and the need for specialized methods in approaching and helping the homeless. Discussion continues with Kiki and Chris, a homeless couple who open up about mental health issues and their experiences on the streets since childhood. They question “Who owns public space?” and “Why are homeless people arrested for not having an ID?”