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Mary Lou Montes Zijderveld

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04/19/04  Harry Hines is wrong place for a homeless shelter.

are notes I took at a meeting this week where Herschel Weisfeld spoke about the homeless situation in Dallas.  I was interested in what he had to say because his brother Ronald owns the Harry Hines location being considered for the Homeless Shelter. 

Herschel has a wealth of information about the homeless situation in Dallas He went to great lengths to avoid commenting on the Harry Hines site, which was of great interest to several of us attending the meeting.

is an interesting man who works hard to get what he wantsI learned a lot by watching and listening to him.  He is a smart cleaver man who knows how to get what he wants.

When I asked him directly about the Harry Hines site, his answer was vague.  He did admit asking his brother (who owns the Harry Hines property he's promoting) to sell it to the city at a loss.  He claims it is valued at $8 million, but his brother is willing to sell it for $3 million.  What a brother!

Here are some issues Mr. Weisfeld raised:

1.  The City counts the homeless every winter and summer.  The last count in Dallas in January 2004 was 5,182.  The City pays $10,000/yr per homeless person.  In a forceful way he
told us these people need a safe place to stay.  He mentioned a couple of places downtown where they can go BUT implied they were unacceptable because some require them to hear about the Bible to stay.  He thinks the city needs to provide them a better place for them to live. 

He said most citizens do not realize that although the homeless don't have a voice they own Downtown Dallas after dark.  (THIS IS THE MAIN PROBLEM in my opinion).  Most prefer to wonder or sleep on the streets.  Their presence keeps people from wanting to be Downtown, which then hurts the dreams and plans our city has for improving the Central Business District Their presence also hurts the plans developers have for Downtown.  Is it the poor taxpayer's fault who live and pay taxes because they reside inside the city of Dallas? 

3.   HUD has told the city
it needs to have more affordable homes.  The number quoted was 100,000.  Herschel seems to think we need Single Room Occupancy (SRO-Flop House's) rooms.  Much like what New York City, etc., have.

Herschel thinks we need a Homeless Shelter to house several agencies under one roof.  He also proposes that the agencies be combined under one director so the resources can be used to assist the homeless rather than multiple high dollar directors.  Currently there are around 60 agencies purporting to provide service to homeless people He wants the shelter to have a phone bank and mail boxes for people wanting to get in touch with the residents with job offers,  assuming they are out there trying to find a job and leave that lifestyle.

5.   No one wants a
homeless shelter built close to their community, but some neighborhood will have to be sacrificed in order for progress to be made.  I suggest Mr. Weisfeld look for a location close to his neighborhood since the homeless cause is so important to him.   To me it would show he not only wants to get them out of Downtown (which is what he really wants to do) but that his heart is in the right place about the people who are homeless. 

Mr. Weisfeld spoke passionately
that the Harry Hines site is surrounded by property that has no tax base.  There is a huge gas station across Harry Hines that probably pays much in property taxes.  He said the shelter should have an open space area for those homeless people who do not want to sleep inside a building.  If the Harry Hines location is picked, people who drive through Dallas on I-35 would see a tent city.  Just what Dallas needs.

As I left
, one person stated that the Harry Hines location is the best one because the nearby neighborhood is filled with people who never vote nor care what is near their homes.  The arrogance of some people! 

Just because someone is poor or uneducated does not mean they should
have hundreds of people who choose not to live by the standards of society dumped on them

May I remind Mr. Weisfeld and others who think like him that everyone has worth.  Especially these people who own homes nearby and pay tax
es.  Is this fair for hard working people to pay money in taxes so those who choose not to work can live off of them (indirectly) and ruin their way of life?

This problem by law is the
County's responsibility, but they refuse to take care of it.  Herschel said the County is unable to take care of it because the money that is allocated for the homeless problem throughout the state is divided between ALL cities in the state.  Since it has become such a HUGE problem Downtown, the city will have to take the initiative in finding a solution.

City Councilman Steve Salazar is our main hope in NW.  The site is in his
District 6.  If he continues to fight for us and reject that site, other council members will support him. 

I urge everybody to encourage City Councilman Steve Salazar.  No one will vote against him if he takes the stand that he does not want the Homeless Shelter at the Harry Hines location.   

I want to go on record to say that I do not want the Harry Hines location
(9702-9713 Harry Hines).  It is too close to our neighborhoods, parks and businesses.  Since the problem is one that belongs to the County, perhaps a site outside Dallas but within Dallas County can be found that is not near homes or parks.  A place where they can house the homeless.  But also a place where they can be trained to do some type of work.  Otherwise, homelessness will be something that we approve for people to live without responsibilities for the rest of their life. 

Please stay informed about this problem
; otherwise,  they will try to stick it in at the Harry Hines location.

                  Mary Lou Montes Zijderveld






  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8