– 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.”
– Jon Edmonds, on the solution to homelessness
“The answer to the ills of homelessness is found in the homeless. We have to tap into that wisdom.”
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.
– Dr. Susan Spalding on why the homeless are not covered under the Affordable Care Act
“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.”
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.
– 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.
“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.”
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.
– Pastor Wayne Walker, on the solution to homelessness
“[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.”
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.
– 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?”
– Jo Giudice, on the library being an advocate for the homeless
“The library is a place of free and open access for every human being, and we are all human beings. We are all equals, and you are our customers.”
In Episode 1 of Street View, you meet Rashad Dickerson, host of Street View, and learn more about the Dallas Public Library’s Homeless Engagement Initiative from library staff. Part 1 of the podcast provides background on the project from library staffer Jasmine Africawala. Part 2 showcases Rashad Dickerson and introduces us to Ann Bever. Part 3 features the Director of Libraries, Jo Giudice and her stance on public libraries and the issue of homelessness. The podcast is split into three parts for time-sensitive listening.