– Pastor Len Taylor, The Lord Hands and Hearts Ministries on the role of hope for the homeless at Solomon’s Porch
“There’s a group of the homeless that don’t go to the shelters…so at night they walk around with everything they own on their back. They might stop at a park bench or at a DART stop and rest a moment because they’re weary, but they can’t get rest because they always have to be on guard. Solomon’s Porch is a place they can let their guard down. … It’s a place where hope lives. ”
Pastor Len Taylor of The Lord’s Hands and Hearts Ministries joins Rashad and the team to talk about hope and homelessness. Pastor Len provides service at Solomon’s Porch on Saturday mornings as part of the ministries. Rashad and Pastor Len met for the first time while both were staying at Dallas homeless shelters. Pastor Len who was raised in by a preacher-father and a church-going mother, found himself homeless for a short period after his life spiraled out of control following his divorce. He provides a unique perspective and lively dialogue on the need for hope for those experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty in South Dallas and how respect, fellowship and places like Solomon’s Porch can help.
Season 2, Episode 5:
– Andre Woodson, Street View Podcast fan and Back on My Feet success story sharing his success in using the Back on My Feet program and motivating himself to get up and run.
“I’m not a great runner, but the fact is I went out and we’d get up at ungodly hours in the morning and …running in the rain as we did some days, you’re kinda looking at yourself going ‘why am I doing this?’…But I’m just going to put one foot in front of the other until I get back.”
In Episode 2 of the new season of Street View Podcast, the team is joined by Gina Parker, Executive Director of Back on My Feet Dallas, one of eleven chapters of the successful program model across the U.S. Back on My Feet uses running and physical exercise to improve the self-esteem and self-worth of homeless individuals as well as an avenue to developing relationships with homeless individuals to assist them with becoming self-sufficient. Andre Woodson joins the conversation. He and Rashad go back years from their days at the Bridge. Andre is also a fan of the Street View Podcast, and a Back on My Feet success story.
Season 2, Episode 2:
– Jasmine Africawala, Community Engagement Administrator, on the library’s plan to develop the “Community Exchange” to engage all members of the downtown community through the Central Library.
“Sometimes people view the ‘community’ as their people, who they are…no, actually the ‘community’ is really diverse and just because you see things your way does not mean you are the whole community.”
Welcome to Season 2 of the Street View Podcast! The team is back and we have a new team member, Malcolm Varner. Malcolm joined the Dallas Public Library in October 2014 and serves as the library’s Homeless Engagement Coordinator thanks to a Special Projects grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Catch up with the team and find out what new programs they have developed, whether or not Rashad got his Jeep or Boxer or apartment and exciting new plans for the development of the Community Exchange and engagement of the whole downtown Dallas community.
Season 2, Episode 1:
– Antoinette Carey-Spriggs, CitySquare AmeriCorps member, on how working with the homeless has changed her perspective on the homeless.
“Once you really sit down and remember that’s not a homeless person. That’s a person. A person with thoughts and feelings and needs that may not always be met. You start to realize there is more to it than that.”
In Episode 9 of Street View, the team reclaims its old studio, complete with Destiny’s Child poster and graveyard of antiquated equipment, for a nostalgic look back at where it all began. Rashad, Jasmine, Ryan and Ann reflect on the podcast series so far, how it has changed them, and what they still want to hear. The team is joined by Antoinette Carey-Spriggs, one of the library’s AmeriCorps members who coordinates resources for the homeless at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library.
Rashad reflects on the power of perspective, the June 2014 D Magazine article about him, the “Butt Naked Club,” the evolution of his “Word of the Day,” and his ambivalence to continue the show as he hopes to remove himself from a life of homelessness and aspires to one day have a Jeep, a Boxer and an apartment.
– 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.
– 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.”