“There is no cookie-cutter answer for each person who comes through the door. Some people have been hurt, some have been discouraged, some have been misused, some abused and so it’s not until that issue that brought that person into homelessness presents itself that any kind of resolution can take place.”
– Bill Thompson, Executive Director, Union Gospel Mission
Brother Bill Thompson, Executive Director of Union Gospel Mission (UGM) visits with the Street View team about the services available through UGM and its affiliate shelters and services, including emergency shelter for men, women and children, and vocational training. UGM has served Dallas area residents in need since 1949. Brother Bill has served as the Executive Director since 1988 and continues to UGM evolve to meet the new and increasing needs of the homeless and hungry in Dallas.
“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.”
– John Dornheim, President of NAMI Texas
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.
“I help you to incorporate new values and new beliefs about you, raising self-esteem, self-awareness, self-acceptance because that’s what true success is. It’s not about how much money I make. It’s not about how big my organization is, it’s about me helping you become who God intended you to be.”
– Brenda Street, founder of God’s Truest Miracles on ‘What is Success?’
Brenda Street, founder of God’s Truest Miracles joins the Street View Podcast team to talk about her transitional housing programs and her personal story from pulling herself out of alcoholism and homelessness to establishing God’s Truest Miracles. Brenda shares some ‘Brenda-isms’ and her personal philosophy on success and how she tries to instill it in others.
“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, The Lord Hands and Hearts Ministries on the role of hope for the homeless at Solomon’s Porch
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.
“This really was a way for me to change the dynamic between myself and the person on the street. It really gave me a way to engage with them and connect. … Now I am continuing to do this because I also realize it has the potential to help other people to slow down a little bit and realize these people on the streets are just like them. They’re just like me. We’re all the same.”
– Willie Baronet, SMU Professor and Artist on ‘Where did the idea to purchase cardboard signs from the homeless come from and why do you do it?’
The Street View Podcast team is joined by SMU Professor of Creative Advertising, Willie Baronet. But it’s not his work in Creative Advertising that has brought him to the show,. Willie has made quite a name for himself through his art using cardboard signs he purchased from homeless individuals on the street. Willie has been collecting them for over 21 years and has had several art installations throughout the country. His work is featured on his website www.weareallhomeless.org as well as on feature articles by NPR and the Dallas Morning News, among others. In addition to his art, Willie has a feature-length documentary, “Signs of Humanity” in the works. Rashad and the team discuss how the project has changed Willie and those who witness it as well as the fundamental question, “What does home mean to you?”
“You know when you see a guy drowning there is a lot of things you can throw his direction. Maybe I’ll throw a sandwich his direction. Maybe a toothbrush, a razor, a blanket. But when a guy is drowning what he really needs is to be rescued. … The problem [of homelessness] is much bigger. Many of the solutions we provide are just band-aids. … Without a foundation of faith, a dysfunctional life cannot even begin the process of healing.”
– Pastor Wayne Walker on why he believes the Gospel is the answer to solving homelessness
The Street View Podcast team reunites with Pastor Wayne Walker, Executive Director of Our Calling. Pastor Wayne was featured on one of our most popular episodes from last season, “When Sin Takes Over,” which stirred up some controversial ideas about sin and homelessness. He joins us again to talk more about the general dysfunction that all humans deal with, the issue of providing short-term solutions to individuals experiencing homelessness and his philosophy on healing the whole person.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
“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.