Season 2, Episode 2: Back on My Feet

“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.”

– 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.

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:

Season 2, Episode 1: Meet Malcolm

“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.”

– 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.

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:

Episode 9: A Jeep, A Boxer, and An Apartment

“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.”

– Antoinette Carey-Spriggs, CitySquare AmeriCorps member, on how working with the homeless has changed her perspective on the homeless.
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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.

Episode 9

Episode 8: Compassion for the Homeless

“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.”

– Mike Faenza on the need for more compassion and understanding in order to end homelessness.

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.

Episode 8

Episode 7: Charity is Not the Solution

“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.” 

– Larry James, on CitySquare’s approach to working with the poor and homeless
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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.”

Episode 7

Episode 6: Building Community

“The answer to the ills of homelessness is found in the homeless. We have to tap into that wisdom.” 

– Jon Edmonds, on the solution to homelessness
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In Episode 6 of Street View, you meet Jon Edmonds, Executive Director of Austin Street Center, a faith-based emergency shelter in Dallas. Jon discusses how community building and community development is key to solving many issues related to homelessness and the need to uncover the vast array of hidden talents and skills among the homeless. Joining the discussion are two men, Mitch Young and Tyrone Kenny who are both homeless men or “outdoor individuals” as Mitch calls them. Mitch and Tyrone share their different journeys to Austin Street and the various activities that help them through this transition in their lives, both at the shelter and at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library.

Episode 6

Episode 5: Healing the Homeless

“The healthcare provisions for indigent people are different between all the different states. In some states single adults who make a low enough income qualify for Medicaid. That’s not true in Texas. If you are a single adult…even if you had absolutely no income, there is no provision for health insurance for you.” 

– Dr. Susan Spalding on why the homeless are not covered under the Affordable Care Act
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In Episode 5 of Street View, you meet Dr. Susan Spalding, Director of Parkland Hospital’s Homeless Medical Services, including five HOMES mobile units. As Dallas County’s safety net hospital, Parkland continues to develop to meet growing demands for medical services to low-income families and adults, including the homeless and the poorest among us, since they do not qualify for Medicaid in the state of Texas or coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Spalding provides insight into the unique health issues facing the homeless, including the spread of disease in shelter-environments and the need for specialized medical services, including podiatry, since homeless individuals spend so much time on their feet.

Episode 5

Episode 4: Coping Creatively

“People have this kind of hubris that…everyone is drawn to their town to live off of them. What is true…as it is here in Dallas, the majority of people are homeless in their own hometown. So the majority of those 27,000 people [who have received IDs from the Stewpot] were from Dallas or have spent most of their life in Dallas.” 

– Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan on The Stewpot’s ID service and how it debunks the myth that the homeless are being imported to Dallas from other cities.

In Episode 4 of Street View, you meet Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan, Executive Director of The Stewpot, a safe haven for the homeless and at-risk founded by First Presbyterian Church in 1975. Bruce gives a glimpse of the past and future of homeless services in Dallas through the many projects initiated by First Presbyterian Church, including upcoming plans for 508 Park Ave and Encore Park Dallas. The projects expand upon The Stewpot’s efforts to go beyond addressing the basic needs of the homeless by inspiring creativity and building community through art, music and performance. Discussion continues with Charlie Piano, a quilt-maker who became homeless after losing his wife and his job. Charlie is able to cope with his current situation through creativity and the support of The Stewpot’s art programs. Charlie is known locally in Dallas for his quilt-making in public spaces like Klyde Warren Park and the fourth floor of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library.

Episode 4

Episode 3: When Sin Takes Over

“[Homelessness] is the dysfunction that happens in life when sin takes over. … I don’t think being homeless is the biggest problem, because if it was easy to put your finger on the problem, you could put your finger on the solution.” 

– Pastor Wayne Walker, on the solution to homelessness

In Episode 3 of Street View, you meet Pastor Wayne Walker, Executive Director of Our Calling, a faith-based non-profit dedicated to serving the homeless. Wayne provides insight into the realities of homelessness and the faith-based perspective that dysfunction has taken over the soul and only a relationship with God can help – a belief shared by many faith-based homeless service providers in Dallas. Discussion continues with Jason Parks, a homeless individual who has been homeless for eight years and frequently uses the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library.

Episode 3

Episode 2: Protect and Serve Who?

“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.” 

– Ron Cowart, on the role of the police in dealing with complaints about the homeless
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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?”

Episode 2