I have endlessly struggled with words. When I started working on the streets of South Dallas almost three years ago, words came easily. Everything was new to me. I had never been around poverty in our country before, and in retrospect I realize it was much easier to relay all of these brand new experiences.
Over the past several months, it feels like so much has changed. In truth, very little has changed, but my perception has. Read More
In the end we just stopped and prayed.
We did not know what else to do. It seemed as though the emotions of the day had overwhelmed all of us. I have spent a lot of years working with the homeless, and I never felt as overwhelmed and helpless as I did today. Read More
Ava died in August.
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
We are often asked how the homeless handle the cold. It's such a natural question during the winter as we get to curl up by the fire and turn up the heat. On really cold days, it's easy to think about people living on the street who have no such luxuries.
Today, I was out on the streets in the cold for about an hour, and when I went back inside, I couldn't feel my hands or feet. I can't imagine living outside as a way of life.
So how do the homeless handle the cold? Read More
On Saturday, December 13 we headed to South Dallas to hand out the brand new coats that so many of you helped purchase. I don't if there are any America's Next Top Model fans reading this, but Tyra would be proud of so many great photos we got from that day. Read More
Before I had this job, saying thank you often got forgotten. It was a lost relic in my busy life.
Over the past year, I have gotten to say thank you more than ever before in my life.
And I have come to love the privilege of getting to say thank you more than I ever thought I could. Read More
Eva and her husband Allen have been in my life for an eternity. On the streets that translates to about eight months.
There are a lot of things I love about Eva, but probably right at the top is that she is a loving grandmother AND she's tatted up -- two things I previously thought to be mutually exclusive.
The truth is, Eva is a dear and true friend. She has been a fixture in our Bible Study and also in our little neighborhood. Eva's "clean" -- meaning she doesn't drink or do drugs. My child knows her; together, Eva and I have watched my baby change into a little girl. Read More
When I first learned I was pregnant, I felt terrified. I learned I was pregnant on a Monday in early November, and the next morning I was to go out onto the streets. Like normal.
In addition to this fear, I immediately did not feel well and learned that your immune system gets suppressed very early in pregnancy so that your body does not reject the baby as a foreign object. I therefore became afraid of being on the streets with people more likely to carry untreated illnesses. Some have the flu. Some have AIDS. Some just have the common cold.
But I wanted to run and hide 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
Oftentimes people ask me if what I write about here is my full-time work. When I started going to South Dallas in July 2013, I planned on continuing to work other jobs and do this part-time on the side. After several months of doing both, I decided to make this work my full-time job. No non-profit that I found had the type of job I wanted to do, so I decided to fundraise so that I could continue and expand my work. In December 2013, I began this process of fundraising. Read More