Friday, October 28, 2016

Dallas City Council Meeting - October 26, 2016 - Item 48 - Ordinance to Deal with Source of Income Discrimination in Residential Property Rental

Wednesday was actually a pretty exciting day for Dallas! The Dallas City Council passed an ordinance to deal with source of income discrimination. They considered, “two alternative ordinances amending Chapter 20A, ‘Fair Housing,’ of the Dallas City Code to either (1) prohibit discrimination in housing on the basis of source of income; or (2) prohibit discrimination in housing on the basis of source of income, except as prohibited by state law.” Check Item 48 here to read the lengthier pertinent texts,

Our blog post from last year, Not So Fast - The Final Part of Our Series on Source of Income Discrimination, explains the background to this discussion. Though that post contains enough information to understand what City Council discussed and decided, you may want to go back to Rents Rise, the first part of this series, and start there for fuller context.

The meeting featured robust and quite interesting discussion, and it is worth watching the whole thing. Go to: and then I won’t keep you in suspense, though; Option 1 was rejected 9-6, and Option 2 was passed 9-6.
Dallas City Council Member, Mark Clayton
(Courtesy of the City of Dallas)
Robert Wilonsky wrote a great piece on this in the Dallas Morning News, Dallas council rejects effort to require landlords to accept housing vouchers . I highly recommend reading it. Here is a key quote: “[Mark] Clayton, who has become the council's leading anti-poverty advocate, said most are being rejected for one simple reason: the color of their skin. ‘And he hit the nail on the head,’ council member Philip Kingston said after the vote. ‘To say it's not about skin color is to ignore the data. Over 90 percent of voucher holders are minorities, and there are 1,100 of them trying to get housing, trying to put their kids in school, who need to know where they're going to sleep at night. And they can't get housing in Dallas.’" I don’t know if he then dropped the mic, but it sure sounds like it…

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Housing and Shelter Targets Exceeded as Haskell Encampment Closes; Street Outreach and Case Management Continues

Haskell Encampment, Dallas, Texas – Yesterday, October 24, 2016, the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) and the Street Outreach Initiative, closed out an intensive week of case management and engagement, reviewing options with the remaining thirty-seven individuals, living at the Haskell Encampment, who had not moved yet. The encampment area located between S. Hill and Haskell Avenues under I-30 is in the process of being formally closed today, October 25, 2016.                                          

Street Outreach Initiative
Team Mobile Office
The site was slated for closure after a joint meeting with City Officials on September 29, 2016, when MDHA and collaborative partners agreed that the Street Outreach Initiative could reasonably house half of the then population of eighty-two encampment residents. The closure guidelines were developed by MDHA in consultation with the City of Dallas, following the clearing of Tent City in April-May of this year. As of yesterday, 45 persons have been placed, just above the goal of 41. 

Over the course of the last few weeks, in fact, MDHA and its partners from the City of Dallas, CitySquare, Nexus Recovery Center, Turtle Creek Recovery Center, The Bridge, Austin Street Center, the Salvation Army and Metrocare Services, were able to find and place forty-five residents into shelter, treatment, rapid rehousing, permanent private housing, and group homes or help them reunite with their families.

“Consistent and persistent case management, patiently undertaken by seasoned professionals, trained in trauma-informed care,  and armed with a toolbox of evidence-based solutions, is the only way we can end unsheltered homelessness in Dallas,” said Cindy Crain, President and CEO of MDHA. “The success of this effort could not be accomplished without strategic interagency collaboration, which has been developing over the course of 2016 into a true crisis response system, where we all work together, breaking down silos, and securing the best possible outcome for every individual,” she added.   

Yesterday, as case managers and volunteers helped the remaining residents pack up, they were joined by five formerly unsheltered homeless from prior tent encampment closures who are now permanently housed.

Crain reflected, “Their presence gave residents a glimpse of hope and possibility of the results of accepting shelter, housing, treatment and services. Seeing is believing, and is critical to motivating and working through the ever present trauma enforced fear and uncertainty of accepting assistance. The Street Outreach team gets better every day at the hard work that they do.”

MDHA and its partners will continue to work with these and other unsheltered individuals to get as many of them as possible off the streets and into shelter and housing. The overall impact of the successful, peaceful and housing-oriented closing of three encampments since the beginning of May 2016, will not be fully known before the annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count, which will be led by MDHA on the night of Thursday, January 26, 2017.

In the last Count, conducted on the night of Thursday, January 21, 2016, MDHA counted 539 unsheltered homeless individuals in Dallas. In order to conduct a full and accurate count of the unsheltered homeless, this coming January, MDHA will need 1,000 volunteers, registered as teams of 3-5 persons. Registration will open mid-November. Those wishing to receive notification of such, should text keyword MDHA to 22828 to join MDHA’s mailing list.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Dana Turns a House into a Home - with the Help of the Dallas Furniture Bank and the MDHA Flex Fund

Imagine waking up on your last day of homelessness. This is it. Today you are going to be housed. Your case manager picks you up, and with your few belongings you arrive at your new home. With a sense of hope and some trepidation you slowly open the door… to an empty apartment. Well, unpleasant, but no big deal, you might say; just go out and buy some furniture, right? Well, not if you don’t have money for furniture. Still, no worries, you might think, just save up a little money, and then buy furniture. Well, not if you have chronic health challenges, can’t work, and your sole income is $733 a month from Social Security. 
The Bridge, a Dallas shelter and homeless assistance center, Courtesy of The Bridge
Now, you may have to imagine what this would feel like, but Dana (name changed to protect her privacy) does not. What I just described was her actual predicament. She had worked hard with her case manager, Nicole, at The Bridge, and she had moved into a Dallas Housing Authority apartment. She was no longer homeless, but that apartment was completely bare, and she had no way of buying furniture on her own. And, living in apartment without any furniture can sometimes feel like you are barely a step above being literally homeless. As Our good friend, Dr. Iain De Jong, renowned expert on homelessness, writes: “If you leave the apartment unit blank looking, it is going to feel more like a prison cell or place where they may have squatted, than a place to call home.” Dana could certainly identify with that.

So, what to do? Fortunately, Dallas is blessed with the Dallas Furniture Bank (DFB)! As DFB’s website eloquently states, it “fills the missing gap” that resulted in Dana having an apartment, but not much more. As the website explains, “Though many of our agency partners provide housing for those in need, the resource of furniture is not provided to approximately 90% of these families. At Dallas Furniture Bank, we believe that living spaces should be filled. Furniture not only fills a house with practical comfort, but also instills a sense of hope and dignity… resulting in increased chances for self-sufficiency, higher levels of self-esteem, and long-term stability.”
Aliah Henry, CEO, Dallas Furniture Bank, Courtesy of the Dallas Furniture Bank
Earlier this year, the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) struck a partnership with DFB, through which folks just like Dana could fill a furniture order from DFB, and have the cost of the order ($250, on average, including a $60 delivery fee) covered by the MDHA Flex Fund.  The MDHA Flex Fund was designed by MDHA and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas to address minor but impactful expenditures, just like this one, that can help clients resolve their homelessness. All Nicole, Dana’s case manager, had to do, was pull up a simple one page form, available in the guidebook on MDHA’s website. Under DFB and MDHA’s partnership, Dana could choose up to five basic furniture items, plus a bed frame. Nicole and Dana discussed what furniture would be most helpful to her, and Dana chose a sofa, a coffee table, a dining table, two dining chairs, and a queen size bed. Nicole filled out the form, marking down Dana’s selections, and sent the form over to Shavon, at MDHA. Shavon approved the request, and submitted it to DFB. 
Dr. Iain De Jong, CEO, OrgCode, Courtesy of OrgCode
DFB then called Dana in for her private appointment. It felt great to shop in style at their facility, and choose her very own furniture.  The furniture was then promptly delivered to her new home. Dr. De Jong emphasizes the impact that selecting one’s own furniture can have, “A lot can be said for the new tenant having a say in the furniture that goes into their unit, rather than them just being handed furniture that they had no say in… While I have seen many a chronically homeless person be overcome with emotions on the day of move in when they get their keys, I have seen more actually break down and weep with joy when the furniture that they picked out arrives, and they have a say in where it is set up in their place. Powerful.” Dana couldn’t agree more…

Thursday, October 20, 2016

To Bigotry No Sanction, To Persecution No Assistance, by David Gruber

Seek the Peace of the City

The Responsa tradition in Judaism is one that is almost as old as Judaism itself. Responsa (singular responsum), as a concept, are pretty simple: a person asks a rabbi a question, and the rabbi writes a detailed answer, not just answering the question, but spelling out how the rabbi arrived at the answer.

One of the first Responsa is found in the Bible, written by none other than the prophet, Jeremiah. He addresses an important question, which was on the minds of his brethren, who had been exiled to Babylon. What are the People to do, now that they have been exiled from their land? Should they plan on quickly returning to Judah or put down roots in Babylon? In his answer (Chapter 29) he addresses this, but goes beyond this question:

“Build ye houses, and dwell in them, and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply ye there, and be not diminished. And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray unto the Lord for it; for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” The People are not only to put down roots, but to seek the peace of Babylon, be good and loyal citizens, and even pray to the God of Judah for it.
Jeremiah, as imagined by Rembrandt in 1630
Now, though Jeremiah is speaking to the exiles of his time, the Ancient Rabbis were of the opinion that prophecies were included in the Bible, only if they had relevance for future generations. And this tradition, begun by Jeremiah was one the Jews carried with them for more than 2,500 years. Indeed, in the Mishnah, Tractate Avot 3/2, Rabbi Chaninah, the Assistant High Priest, is quoted as saying, “Pray for the welfare of the kingdom (=government). For without fear of it, people would swallow each other alive.”

Think about this for a second. Who is Rabbi Chaninah talking about, specifically? He speaks of the Roman Empire! This is the same Roman Empire that conquered Judea, put an end to its independence, and eventually destroyed its great temple. Still, pray for its welfare, for without the order it imposes, society falls apart. And so, through the generations, Jews kept praying for their rulers and the welfare of their governments.

The Vision of G. Washington
In 1790, the new President of the United States, George Washington, traveled through the thirteen states of the union, to promote the new Constitution. One of his stops was to be Newport, Rhode Island. The Jews of Newport were conscious of their ancient tradition discussed above. They prayed for the government and its ruler. However, they dared to think one step further. Perhaps, this new democratic experiment could yield something better. Perhaps, this new country would reciprocate, and treat them as equals. This was almost unheard of in Europe, where Jews were barely tolerated, and certainly never thought of as equals of their Christian brethren.

And so, the Jews wrote a letter to their new national leader, hoping beyond hope, that this country would be different. Washington wrote a letter back copying many of the very phrases they used, into his own letter. This letter, signed simply, “G. Washington,” is still read in full at an annual ceremony at the Touro Synagogue in Newport:

“The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens...  May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.”
George Washington’s Letter, Courtesy of the National Museum of American Jewish History
The United States, at the time, would stand out in this sense. In later years, with the coming of the Napoleonic Wars, and with the Enlightenment sweeping across Western Europe, other countries adopted policies, under which Jews enjoyed rights approaching the full equal rights enjoyed by Jews in the United States.  However, in Eastern Europe, home to the ancestors of most of today’s American Jews, this was still a foreign concept, well into the 20th Century. The government and its rulers, whom the Jews still would pray for, at most tolerated the Jews, and at worst persecuted them. That was just part of life. The humorous representation of this is preserved in the opening scene of Fiddler on the Roof, when the village rabbi is asked, what blessing one must recite upon seeing the Czar. The rabbi pauses for a moment, and says, “May God bless and keep the Czar... far away from us!”

This is why when these Jews would arrive here in the United States they would not only be surprised, but could not really comprehend that any government would treat them otherwise. Between 1907 and 1914, groups of Eastern European Jewish immigrants were brought to Galveston, rather than going through Ellis Island. In one instance, a group was greeted not only by fellow Texas Jews, but by Galveston’s mayor, Henry Landes, who welcomed them to the community. They were stunned! Historian Bernard Marinbach, in his book Galveston: Ellis Island of the West, quotes a representative of the newly arrived Jews, who spoke for all of them in response to the mayor’s warm welcome, “We are overwhelmed that the ruler of the city should greet us. We have never been spoken to by the officials of our country except in terms of harshness, and although we have heard of the land of great freedom, it is very hard to realize that we are permitted to grasp the hand of the great man. We will do all we can to make good citizens.” 

These ideas and the approach of the United States to the Jews had legal ramifications in Jewish Law. In a responsum written more than 2500 years after Jeremiah’s, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the premier scholar of Jewish Law of in the 20th Century, warns school administrators, not to attempt to receive more government support than they were entitled to. Why? Because the United States is different; It is a, ”kingdom (=government) of kindness, whose only goal is to do good on behalf of the residents of the country” (Igrot Moshe, Choshen Mishpat, Part 4, Responsum 244) This is definitely NOT what the Fiddler’s fictional rabbi would ever dream of saying about the Czar.

To Bigotry, No Sanction?
Now, one could triumphantly and optimistically end this essay here, and there would be nothing wrong with that. However, we would be missing something. We forget something important, when we read the inspiring words, “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance,” written by one G. Washington. We fail to remember that that great leader, on this very journey through the states, had in his retinue enslaved people. The new Constitution he was promoting, without one mention of the word slave, wove bigotry and persecution inherent in the legal ownership of human beings, into the fabric of the nation.

And even after the Civil War, once Reconstruction was crushed by the South which rose again, those of darker skin did not, to once again quote Washington’s letter, “possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.” In the very Galveston, to which the Jews were welcomed by the Mayor, Jim Crow ruled the roost all the way up to the beach.  In fact, African Americans were restricted to one small block, along the water, between 28th and 29th Streets. This State of Texas, like the rest of the South, was no “kingdom of kindness”, to its African American citizens. Even in the North, though preferable to the South, segregation was alive and well in many places. And let us not forget that redlining was the official policy of the Federal Government in most communities, throughout the country. Therefore, Rabbi Moshe’s words, that the government’s “only goal is to do good on behalf of the residents of the country,” would have rung hollow to any person of color.

And yet, I would like to think that the words of Washington in 1790, and the words of that newly minted Galvestonian in the early 1900s, represented a promise for the future. This may have been a future that they did not or could not think of – a future where their words pertained not only to the Jewish citizens of the United States, but to its African American citizens too.

That brings us to today. We, as a society, often say to our African American brethren words that sound like Jeremiah’s, “And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray unto the Lord for it; for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” And yet, we speak a lie. Despite the monumental progress this country has made since the days of the author of the letter to the Jews of Newport, can any of us, with a straight face, say to African Americans, “for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace”? How can we, when innocent African Americans, like Philando Castille, Terence Crutcher, and Tamir Rice, are killed by individuals sworn to keep that very peace?
Family photo of Tamir Rice, courtesy of the New York Times
Addressing Inequity
And, specifically, in Dallas, and specifically, in the area closest to our hearts, at MDHA, homelessness, dare we say that we have, in the words of Washington’s letter, “a policy worthy of imitation?” How can we, when the persistence of racial inequality stands out in the area of homelessness, across the nation, but particularly in Dallas? African Americans make up 13% of the population, both in the U.S. and in Dallas. Across the country, on average, African Americans make up 40% of the homeless population, and 28% of the unsheltered homeless population, which is troubling, in and of itself. However, in Dallas, African Americans make up 67% of the homeless population, and 70% of the unsheltered homeless population! This cannot stand. This cannot continue.

We must and we will tackle this overrepresentation of African Americans in the homeless population. With the help of a generous grant from United Way of Metropolitan DallasUnite Dallas Relief Fund, we will do so through a new research and action program from the Center for Social Innovation (C4)titled Racism and Homelessness - Addressing Inequity in 10 American Cities”. In the words of c4, “While no single initiative can end structural racism across all systems, we believe,” that through this initiative we can, “create positive change in attitudes and behaviors that will begin to close the racial gap that has led to the disproportionate prevalence… of homelessness among African Americans.”

As we, at MDHA, address the inequities in this area, in which it is in our power to bring about change (homelessness in Dallas), we hope other organizations and individuals (in Dallas and beyond), will do the same in the areas in which they can bring about change. Only then, in the words of the prophets and the words of Washington, will we able to finally rest, as regardless of race or creed, “every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

Monday, October 17, 2016

Should All Ideas be Explored, or Just Those that Work?

In the discussions around homelessness in the last few months, we have heard the statement, “All ideas need to be explored,” more than once. Is it true?

I believe that in his satirical essay, New Proposal for Taking Care of Homeless Problem: a Catapult, Jim Schutze, in true Swiftian fashion, highlighted the fact that actually we all agree that some ideas do not merit exploration, or in other words, not all ideas need to be explored. Now, I could go down the Schutzian road, and say that the catapult would not work, because of its, ahem, impracticalities, but we all realize that it is really the immorality of the solution that precludes us from putting it into practice.

Cindy J. Crain, MDHA President and CEO, with a friend at Tent City, earlier this year
(Courtesy of WBAP)
So, now that we have established that not all ideas need to be explored, the question is, beyond the outright immoral solutions, how do we know which ideas are worth exploring, and which are not?

Here, unfortunately, morality will not help in decisively deciding this issue. There are those that say, that the homeless must prove themselves worthy of the help they are offered, and once they do, and only if they continue to prove themselves so worthy, should they be helped. Others contend that in a developed country, all have the right to a home, and that if, as a byproduct of our economic systems, some find themselves without a home, society is obligated to provide such a home. Both of these sides have a moral argument on their side. You, the reader, probably agree with one side and disagree with the other, and that is OK.

So, what we need to turn to in this case is not morality and philosophy, but social science. Through social science, we can analyze and decide what ideas work and what ideas do not. Social scientists can study these issues, reach conclusions, and tell us exactly what ideas work and what ideas do not. Then, in the words of our good friend, Randy Mayuex, we can do what works, rather than what we think might work, or what we wish might work.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the modern homelessness crisis has been with us long enough, that social scientists have amassed a significant amount of evidence regarding what works and what does not. As Randy explained, though the word science makes some people (me included) sweat, the idea of following the science is really quite simple, according to Thomas Kuhn. With any new idea, the first step is to try it, the second step is to measure it, and the third step, if the measuring shows it actually works, is to replicate it. Though many outside the field of empirical peer-reviewed homelessness research may not be familiar with the research on what works and what does not, we are at that third stage. We know what works, because we have been measuring it, and we also know what does not work, because we have been measuring it. 

We know (not think) that the newer Housing First  model, housing the chronically homeless, on the condition that they abide by the terms of their lease and meet with a case manager, combined with wrap around services made available (not obligatory) to them, works for 85% of clients, on average. We know (not think) that the older Housing Readiness, housing the chronically homeless, only once they have hit certain treatment benchmarks, and conditioning their housing on their continuing to hit certain treatment benchmarks, works for 30% of clients, on average. 

Now and then we hear, that that is all fine and good, but that so and so, from her familiarity with homelessness knows that Housing First does not work. Not so. Once again, the evidence proves this person is wrong.

Now and then we hear, that that is all fine and good, but so and so simply cannot remain housed, and that proves that Housing First does not work. Not so. There is a small minority of people for whom Housing First does not work. However, often “does not work” just means that it did not work that time for that person, in that setting, with that array of services. So, we assess and try again to find an alternative setting, or a different array of services, that will help that person achieve permanent housing stability. This, by no means, proves that Housing First does not work. That is not how social science (i.e. reality) works.  

Now and then we hear that that is all fine and good, but Housing First will not work in Dallas. Now, if Housing First had not been tried in Dallas, that would still be wrong, because the numbers are consistent, everywhere it has been tried. However, Housing First has been the policy for permanent housing programs funded by the Federal Government, for a number of years, so we actually can answer that question. In Dallas, these programs, over the course of the last 12 months, have shown a 96% success rate! This is why, our good friend and board member, Ikenna Mogbo, said a few months ago, on KERA’s Think, that arguing about Housing First, is like arguing if the world is round or flat. What we need to do is stop arguing and just continue implementing.

One final criticism we hear is that Housing First might work in the long term, but we need some short term solutions too, today, tomorrow, or if possible yesterday. This criticism misses the mark too. The idea of Housing First is that the homeless can and should be housed from the street, if need be. In How Dallas is starting to solve its homeless problem MDHA President and CEO, Cindy J. Crain, shared with the readers of the Dallas Morning News, results of how we have been housing the unsheltered in the encampments in Dallas, in accordance with the precepts of Housing First, from mid-February through today. As we speak, we continue to do so, right now. These results further elucidate what can, should and will continue to be implemented in our community, in the short, medium and long term, as we follow the evidence of what works.

Monday, October 10, 2016

On the Road Again – with the Help of Austin Street Center and the MDHA Flex Fund

An effective homeless response system is one where we always ask, “What solutions best match the needs of this person or household, and will end their homelessness quickly and permanently?" In asking this open-ended question, we acknowledge that a one-size-fits-all approach to homelessness is never the right one. Solutions must match the needs of the person, more than one solution might be needed, and a progressively “lighter touch” should be preferred.

Sometimes, the answer to that question is simpler than you might think.  Take Leonard (name changed to protect his privacy), for instance, an Austin Street Center guest. Though experiencing homelessness, Leonard is a healthy 58 year old, who has made his living driving a truck. Unemployed, homelessness for this road warrior was just a bump in the road. With the help of Austin Street Center’s job program, E2, Leonard was ready to get back on the road, figuratively and literally!
An “inside look” at Austin Street Center
(Courtesy of Austin Street Center)
As you may know, they don’t just let every Tom, Dick and Harry drive a truck, or as it is technically referred to a Commercial Motor Vehicle or CMV.  The Federal Government requires that one have “a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than that (sic) required to drive a non-commercial vehicle.” Every truck driver must obtain and maintain a Commercial Driver's License or CDL. Now, though the Federal Government makes the rules, it does not issue the licenses. That is left to the states, and one must obtain one’s license from one’s state of residence. As Leonard’s CDL was from Florida, he could not use it, and so could not begin looking for a job, that could then help him resolve his homelessness. 

Fortunately, Leonard could transfer his CDL from Florida to Texas. However, because of the higher standards involved in maintaining a CDL, he would have to undergo a full Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination by a physician. The cost of the examination is $60, which Leonard did not have. If you think about it, this is the classic example of a Catch 22. If Leonard had a job, he could probably afford the $60 examination. But, of course, he couldn’t even begin looking for a job, if he didn’t have the Texas CDL. He was stuck!

Leonard explained his situation to Dulari, an Austin Street Center program manager. She told him that though Austin Street Center could not pay for the DOT examination, she did have another tool in her tool box, that could help her quickly resolve this predicament – the MDHA Flex Fund. The MDHA Flex Fund was designed by the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas to address minor but impactful expenditures, just like this one, that can help clients resolve their homelessness.

Dulari helped Leonard find a physician who could perform the examination, and issue the necessary documents. The physician’s office manager made Leonard an appointment, and sent over a confirmation email, including the $60 cost. Dulari then pulled up a simple one page form, available in the guidebook on MDHA’s website. On the form she explained how this expenditure would help Leonard, and she certified that there was no existing resource, that could pay for it. She ran all of this by her supervisor, Laura, they both signed the form, and submitted it to Shavon, at MDHA, for approval. Shavon reviewed all of the details of Leonard’s case, approved the request, and asked Wayne, at MDHA, to issue a check written out to the specific physician, who would perform the examination. Dulari was then able to pick up the check, and give it to Leonard, to take to his appointment. (The MDHA Flex Fund never hands over cash to a client or a case manager.) Leonard was able to transfer his CDL, and embark on his job search. He was now one step closer, much closer, in fact, to resolving his homelessness and becoming once again self-sufficient.
Laura, one of Austin Street Center’s “Superheroes”
(Courtesy of Austin Street Center)
And, in getting Leonard the help he needs, Dulari and Laura not only helped Leonard. Once Leonard has a steady paycheck, he will be able to move into an apartment, leaving Austin Street Center behind. This will enable Austin Street Center, who is forced to turn folks away every night, due to lack of space, to take in and help one more person. And all of that, for just $60. Not a bad return on investment…