Can you imagine never getting to dress up nice? Never getting to take two hours getting ready, putting on your best, and heading out for a night of indulgence and fun?
What if, in order to stay warm in winter, you had to daily layer on your thickest clothes? Unfortunately, your warmest clothes, socks, and shoes are also your most casual. You are outside every day in the elements for eight to ten hours, beginning at the coldest time of day, 6 a.m. So practicality is all that comes into your mind when, before dawn you are awoken and shuffled out the doors while it is dark, most often without getting anything to eat or drink. Read More
People getting warm clothes last December!
We are delivering the 170 Coats to the Streets this coming Saturday, December 13.
We are so excited to have raised over $1,000 already! Thank you, thank you to every person who has already given to this cause. We are so grateful!
We have $610 left to go, and our goal is to be fully funded by this Friday, December 12 so that we are able to pay for the coats by the time we deliver them! Read More
Homeless people spend all day outside. Some homeless people spend all day AND all night outside. What does this mean?
There are A LOT of cold men and women in South Dallas right now. Read More
UPDATE: To see our Street-Side Salon video, click here! AND check out our Year-End video here.
Last Saturday's Street-Side Salon was one of the most special days we've had in South Dallas. That's why we're putting together a video to give a good picture of the day! Until then, we wanted to share some pictures from our morning. Here they are! Read More
Yesterday in the rain and cold, we traveled down the block in our little neighborhood to bring coffee under the bridge.
Under the bridge is the place Ava died.
It took me two months to go back there after she was killed, and the first time I went I felt terrified.
But there was something healing about walking back there, knowing that the intended outcome of her death -- fear and pain -- would not ultimately win Read More
"If only I could get a good woman, I would be different."
I heard that twice last week, from two different men who are homeless. The assumption is that their vices -- alcohol and cigarettes -- could be tamed if the "right" woman entered their life. Strangely enough, they have been chasing this ideal woman their whole lives, and they have yet to find one that helps them vanquish their addictions.
But they keep searching.
And so do we. Read More
On Wednesday, November 5, we start Street Art!
Dallas-based artist and art therapist Rachel Nash will be leading Street Art. Rachel is an incredibly gifted artist herself who also displays the work of other artists on her online gallery, "Rachel Nash Gallery."
Click here to see more about her work and the other artists whose work she displays. Read More
On Saturday, November 8, we are holding our next community gathering in South Dallas. After trash pick-up, we asked the homeless community what other needs they have. Their immediate response was, "We need haircuts!"
Of course! It was something we would have never thought about, but it makes so much sense. It is such a basic human need, and one that I take for granted.
So in partnership with some local hairstylists, we are hosting our first "Street-Side Salon" on November 8. Read More
Recently, I have encountered a different kind of language barrier. Jerry, pictured above, has never had the ability to hear. Maybe to the trained ear, his speech and language would pose no barrier. However, his chronic homelessness and inability to gain access to a shelter are proof that a hearing impairment can complicate life on the streets.
For a person without a disability, getting out of homelessness is difficult. For a homeless person with a disability, everything -- from getting an I.D., to finding work, to purchasing a bus pass -- is exacerbated. Adding something in like deafness or paralyzation (which we encounter every single week) complicates overcoming homelessness tenfold. Read More
This is the first time I get to share someone's story from their perspective. What you will read below is mostly quoted from a couple with whom I spent time last Tuesday. Their names are Cecilia and Raymond.*
"You ain't shit and you ain't never gonna be shit."
That's what her stepmom used to tell her. Read More
This is Cecilia. She and her husband Raymond are homeless -- they live under the bridge. Cecilia shared the poem below with me. She was thrilled when I asked if I could record it and share it with you.
There is more to their story, and we will share it in our next post. But for now, be encouraged by this poem Cecilia wrote called Surrender. Read More
She came to us like a wild animal. For months I had watched her, hiding in the shadows, always staying far enough away to not be reached.
Then, one day, she showed up at our Thursday morning Bible study. She asked for help.
I want to go to rehab, she said. I am ready for help. Read More
Thanks to many of you, in 24 hours, we raised nearly $7,000 (before matching funds)!!
This is way beyond what we could have ever expected.
We care deeply about the individual homeless men and women in our community in South Dallas. We feel honored to be an extension of all of you, our community of supporters, to those that are homeless. Read More
Has anyone noticed how in Dallas high-society, people use the phrase "lunching"? As in, "Where are you lunching today?" I could be wrong, but I think I "lunched" today. I don't think I'll be invited to go lunching again soon. You'll agree after reading what happened.
Around noon I got a text message from a friend inviting me to a last-minute lunch with her and a mutual friend at Bistro 31. Read More
As I walked into the courtyard thirty minutes before Ava's memorial service began last Thursday, I couldn't believe all of the people who had already gathered. We didn't expect many people to show up even though we had passed out flyers in the community to let people know about the service.
I noticed some people getting coffee and many already sitting down. So many who attended were elderly or disabled. As we walked in, we met up with Ava's family. Elissa, who works with me, had coordinated through the funeral home with her family, and they drove several hours to be with us Thursday. Read More
Tomorrow at 9 a.m. we are holding a memorial service in honor of Ava.
We are excited to honor her memory with our friends, those who are homeless and those who are not. For those of you who normally attend our Bible study, this will be in place of Bible study tomorrow Read More
I loaded up my backpack, heavy duty sleeping bag, and freshly cleaned pillow to make my homeless stay as ideal as possible. I was ready. It was go time.
With my backpack on, my massive sleeping bag and pillow in hand, I walked up to a group of people sitting in a circle. You’ve been there, right? That awkward initial meeting of a group about to participate in a poverty simulation? It was all fun and games and giggles. And then things got real. Read More
As I was safely sleeping inside a locked facility with two armed security guards for the poverty simulation Wednesday night, a block away my friend Ava was being beaten to death.
It is nearly incomprehensible to think that of all the nights this could happen, it was the night I was there -- not actually there but just down the road. While she was undergoing this horrible attack, we were laughing and talking, so nearby, and yet of course having no idea what was happening to her. Read More
Next Tuesday through Thursday, I will participate in a poverty simulation hosted by CitySquare. No one attending has a clue what will actually go down, but here are a few possibilities:
- Living on a few dollars a day,
- Sleeping outdoors on the ground (but inside the gated CitySquare building for safety),
- Always having to carry around all of the stuff I need to live -- including a sleeping bag, clothes, toiletries, a pillow, etc. -- so that my stuff doesn't get taken by someone else.
We gathered on Saturday for the especially fun job of picking up trash!
Before getting started, we had breakfast burritos, bagels, and coffee. We had a good time chatting and catching up for those that had been there before.
Here are the beautiful pictures. Read More