The Intermittent Volunteer’s Weblog

Befriending People in Dallas Who Are Homeless

Of Supermarket Trollies and Rolex Watches February 19, 2008

Filed under: criminalization of the homeless,homelessness — Karen Shafer @ 8:23 pm

Journal Archives
Wednesday, 12/31/03

I was talking with my friend, Dee, today about homelessness — I asked her for coats for our mobile soup kitchen’s coat drive. She has several well-heeled friends, who are also friends of our current mayor (2003), and they told her recently that the homeless problem in Dallas had been solved! “How,” I asked, “by ignoring it?”

I mentioned a news report I’d heard which said the city was clamping down on crime by toughening the enforcement of the no-panhandling ordinance. With no small bit of sarcasm, I told my friend, “This sort of crackdown is very important to prevent the starving from crawling into our cars at red lights on chilly evenings. Also urgent is the innovative plan to make it a criminal offense to remove shopping carts from grocery store parking lots, as, once out on the street, the damn runaway trollies have been attacking people and stealing their diamond bracelets, Prada handbags and Rolex watches. Really, they must be stopped.” She laughed.

Joking aside, it seems the city wants to sweep the homeless problem under the rug with their no-tents-allowed rule, their no-panhandling ordinance and their intention to further regulate those who feed the homeless. What is the solution to the problem of homelessness? In a word, HOUSING.

KS

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2 Responses to “Of Supermarket Trollies and Rolex Watches”

  1. Dee Schore Says:

    I continue to find it incredulous that people in our city do not understand that having a roof over ones head with heat and cool air when needed, a safe environment, and easy access to food and water, and bathrooms are necessities that everyone is entitled to. Why are the homeless relegated to a position of “lesser than”? Why are they ignored? Being ignored adds not only a tremendous stress to each individual, but stresses the city. Homelessness should not be an issue in a city where more people care about entertainment venues than the homeless population, a city where some children have I-phones, expensive vacations and all the latest fashions. If we believe that our actions affect every other human being, then it’s time to take stock and set new priorities. There must be a way to better manage the finances of this city to include food and facilities for the homeless population.

  2. Karen Shafer Says:

    What a heartfelt and eloquent comment. Thank you, Dee.

    The good news is that the Homeless Assistance Center will open in the next few months, and it will make a big difference.

    The bad news is that, even with the HAC, the number of individuals living in homelessness and poverty is so great and ever-increasing that it will certainly, at best, be an enormous challenge, even to this facility (although it is a vast improvement over anything we’ve ever had here.)

    Thanks to the voters in Dallas who had the heart and good sense to approve the $23 million bond for the HAC’s construction — and in a part of town where it will be used — and to those who have raised/ are raising operating fees.

    Still, the long-term need is housing, housing, housing: emergency, transitional, permanent-supported. One thing that we can do is to lobby the federal government to constantly INCREASE the funding for housing at all levels, not decrease it, as has been the trend.

    At the local level, I think there is currently more awareness and concern at city hall than in the past, but we should continue to let our own city government know that homelessness and poverty are a priority, along with development, in making us a great city.


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