I am about to have a baby (official seven-week countdown). That means some number of weeks or months away from the streets of South Dallas while I try to figure out this thing they call motherhood. I’ve been going there weekly for nearly two years, and I am terrified of being away for any number of weeks …Read More
One of the ways people described Saturday's Street-Side Salon was that it was FUN. Now I don't know about you, but I have rarely thought of volunteering at a non-profit event as fun. Rewarding? Yes. Part of my duty? Definitely. But fun? Not so much.
Normally, I would drag myself out of bed on my "volunteer" day, slap on some clothes, and barely make it through the committed hours. I would always feel good I spent time volunteering after the fact (and especially good when I got high school or college credit), but I can't say I ever really looked forward to it.Read More
We just got the best phone call. Last November, one of our homeless friends attended Street-Side Salon where he had his hair cut and received new clothes. Street-Side Salon was a momentous day for him because it gave him the courage to start looking for jobs, since he had a clean cut and nice-looking clothes to wear.
Within that very month (November 2014), he started attending NA/AA and completely stopped using crack while still living on the streets.Read More
Homelessness and its struggles are really just a metaphor for all of life. Stripped of the clothes and the cars and the houses, a person is left vulnerable and transparent.
But inside mansions or outside under overpasses, people are people. Addictions plague the wealthy and the poor. The capacity for violence and self-destruction exists equally in every human heart.Read More
When a person who got off of the streets and into a home shows up again on the streets.
You hear her voice around the way. She is asking about you. "Is Elisabeth coming to Bible study today?"
Heart sinks. She should not be here. This was not the plan.Read More
It was a hot day — so blistering we did something we've only ever done this once: move our Thursday afternoon time under the shaded foyer of CitySquare's building in our hood. Normally, we brave the elements, heat or cold, with our friends who are homeless.
It is not for this reason, however, that I remember this day. It stands out because two homeless men said the exact same thing to me in a short two-hour span. What they said is the sort of thing you know people think but that you never expect to actually hear.Read More
In talking to my friend Greg yesterday, I was reminded of how long it took for us to see just one person get clean, move forward in their life.
He asked me, “Since you started this, how many people you seen get out?”
I said, “Maybe five.”Read More
The plight I was told of yesterday is the difficulty of getting back up when you’re this low, of the judgment that comes through the eyes of others when you’re not put together.
Two women. Each with different stories. Reasons she has fallen so far.Read More
Let's get real: I find the idea of washing someone else's feet quite awkward. I occasionally broke into a cold sweat earlier this week just thinking about today.
And on top of it all, because of the cloudy, misty day, we weren't sure if anyone would actually show up to get their feet washed. But Jonathan faithfully set up the chairs, and we got the stations ready ...Read More
Two weeks ago, Elissa and I were at a recovery center checking someone into rehab when I saw a friend from the streets out of the corner of my eye. I hadn’t seen her in months. I had to do a double take — she looked different. She wasn't just physically cleaned up; her entire demeanor had changed.Read More
Sitting in a rehab waiting room today.
Stark, white walls.
Fluorescent lights beam brightly down.
Pain hovers like a storm cloud over the room.Read More
Written by Elissa Romines
I'd like to think I am particularly gifted and that I have some unique "calling" to be with people living on the street. Like God picked me to eradicate homelessness and crime and drug abuse.
I want to be that girl. You know the one ... Well-versed in current social justice issues and legislation, helping homeless people with addictions to things most people only hear about on CNBC documentaries. Bussing them from tents under bridges to drug rehabilitation programs.Read More
Last week I stopped at a convenience store just north of where I work on the streets. Though this convenience store is located less than a half-mile from where I work, it is a different world, a bustling, artsy area of Dallas known as Deep Ellum.
What's not so different is that people who are homeless also roam these streets. It is the nearest place to pick up spare change or sell something to make a few bucks.Read More
A few weeks ago, CeCe made the hard and brave decision to go to rehab. It was there, in the tiny waiting room, surrounded by a pile of paperwork, where CeCe shared some of her latest work with us.Read More
I used to have dreams of grandeur.
And when I say "dreams of grandeur," I'm talking a two-decade-long love affair with stardom.
It all started when I was a wee lass of 5 or 6 and got to be on a seesaw with a big red bow in the Neiman Marcus Children's Christmas catalog. From there, I skyrocketed to elementary-school fame...Read More
Written by Elissa Romines
I have tried really hard to be a normal, productive person.
I went to college (Woo Pig Sooie!) and earned a Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. My resume is loaded with service projects and hours of committee-ing it up. I have spent months working with inner-city kids and have rallied man, woman, and child around anyone with a pulse and a need.Read More
Our friend Lula was killed on the streets the Sunday before Christmas. I learned about it on our drive to Memphis to see Austin's family. Lula was also murdered. It is such a harsh word, but there is no other way to say it. She was killed across the street from where Ava had been killed a mere four months before.Read More
The number one question I get about being on the streets is about safety.
Am I afraid?
How do I stay safe?
Last night, I waited for food-to-go next to a Dallas Police Department officer. He and I got to talking. He also talked to me about safety. He didn't understand why I do what I do. I told him that we are on the streets because we believe every person has value. I told him that I don't go out alone and that we are conscious of what's going on around us at all time.Read More