Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Group Homes

One of the forums I learn the most from is MDHA's Alliance Homeless Forum. Why is that? Because if you want to learn about homelessness... ask those who are/were homeless! This forum is organized by Ryan Dotson, Claire Nilson and Ricky Redd, with the able assistance of Shavon Moore, our Continuum of Care Program Coordinator.

During the last meeting, Ricky, a consumer and MDHA board member, shared his experiences and perspective on group or boarding homes. This was very enlightening to me personally, as I did not know a whole lot about this type of living arrangement. He explained that this type of home is usually most appropriate for those who have a disability. The home typically provides each person a bed, and a place to store belongings. It has communal areas for meals and sometimes for recreation. The residents pay a few hundred dollars in return.

Ricky pointed out that not all group homes are "created equal," and recommended a general "buyer beware" approach. Obviously, Ricky warned, one should never stay at an unlicensed home. Claire pointed out that closing down a home or revoking a license due to legal violations, usually necessitates a proactive complaint to the city. She has been active in visiting homes to help out with this, and courageously managed to bring about the closing of a few sub-par homes.

Ricky further warned, that many licensed homes do not provide adequate food, and many more provide few recreational opportunities. One more important recommendation he had was to not allow the group home to be a representative payee for social security or other types of benefits. The only specific home Ricky felt comfortable recommending by name was the aptly named Friendly Manor.

To learn more about the Alliance Homeless Forum, feel free to email Shavon at
Shavon.Moore@mdhadallas.org. It is usually held on the second Friday of every month on the 5th floor of the Central Dallas Public Library.

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