This insightful commentary from long-time Dallas News Columnist Robert Wilonsky illustrates the temerity of charity, business and government leaders and their collective efforts to renovate and occupy St. Jude Center.
Who will come to the rescue to help house the senior homeless in northwest Dallas? We have names
Robert Wilonsky, City Columnist
From the ever-widening, ever-deepening maw of horrific and heartbreaking news escapes a glimmer of light.
In coming days and weeks, dozens of men and women who would otherwise be sleeping on Dallas streets — on mattresses of concrete, beneath newspaper or cardboard bedsheets — will instead tuck themselves into warm, dry, soft beds of their own. They will be able to cook over hotplates; look for jobs; get mail for the first time in recent memory; or just find a moment’s peace. They will do this in northwest Dallas, along Forest Lane near Josey Lane, in a $6-million facility called St. Jude Center, where there are 104 decked-out units for the homeless ages 55 and up.
I reported two weeks ago that about 90 of those rooms would go empty for the foreseeable future because the Dallas Housing Authority cannot currently afford to fill them. DHA leadership says rising rents have stretched thin their federal funds, and that as a result, “regrettably, DHA is temporarily unable to provide Housing Choice Vouchers to St. Jude’s.”
But a few days ago I got a call from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who said several entities have stepped up to fill the void left by the absence of vouchers. Among them: the county, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, Citysquare, Metrocare Services and anybody and everybody with a spare cent and a spare voucher.
“Everyone is trying,” said David Gruber, MDHA’s Development and Communications Director. “All these different partners came together, and without all of it coming together, this wouldn’t happen. It’s important to keep this positive side in mind.”