With the Benches Gone from the Downtown Library, the Homeless Wonder What's Next

Categories: City Hall

LibraryHomeless.jpg
The east side of the Dallas Public Library was homeless-free after Downtown Dallas, Inc. removed benches there.
Until recently, if you walked along the eastern wall of the Dallas Public Library, you would have to weave your way through a gathering of homeless people idling there. Never gave me much of a problem, but apparently something went down because, as Rudy Bush noted yesterday, Downtown Dallas, Inc. quietly removed the benches a week and a half ago.

Bush talked to Downtown Dallas, Inc. head John Crawford, City Manager Mary Suhm, and Rev. Bruce Buchanan of First Presbyterian Church, who works closely with the homeless. All well and good. Downtown Dallas, Inc. owned the benches and had them removed, and they were on land controlled by the city. Missing was the people most affected by the benches' removal: the homeless themselves.

So when I was at City Hall yesterday, I stepped across Young Street and, sure enough, the benches -- and the homeless people -- were gone.

Walking to the north side of the building, I found a couple of men sitting on the planter.

"When they did take 'em out, all I thought was 'Man, they're just being assholes,'" said one, who identified himself as Jeffrey.

As for the drug dealing cited by Suhm in Bush's article as a reason for removal, he scoffed.

"Every big city in the U.S. has drug dealing everywhere," he said, then added, "If it is drug dealing, it's just marijuana."

"It's just to pick on the homeless," his friend, Joe, decided.

Back across Young Street, a half dozen men had claimed benches on the tree-lined pathway leading to City Hall.

One ("They call me Straight Up.") said most of people who gathered at the library were there to read and use the Internet to look for jobs, network, and shop online. The removal of the benches has had its desired effect, since many people no longer go to the library.

"It's kind of messed up," Straight Up said.

A couple of other men, who wouldn't give their names, traced the removal of the benches to an incident a couple of weeks ago when a guy got jumped. (They were apparently referring to this.) Now, they say, the library is a no-go zone.

"If you even stand on that side of the street, they'll damn near take you to jail."

So, too, the City Hall benches, which they expected to be shooed from at any minute. All of which leaves them few places to go downtown that' provide any respite from the blazing Texas sun.

"If the shades going out, you better hug it."

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13 comments
MattL1
MattL1

Hold on. You can't accuse me of treating women badly. I will not stand idly by while you hurl such unfounded accusations my way. Apologize for sullying my good name, or go fuck yourself. I'm sick of this shit. 

MattL1
MattL1

I fail to see your point.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

I just uncomfortable with treating a whole class of people badly" . Yes, it sounds like you do, Matt. Unless the class happens to be women. Your apology does nothing to reveal any enlightenment. And while you've spent time living downtown, please get back with us when you've spent time as a 5'3" gal.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Unless, of course, you happen to be one of the women in those stories.  I'm sure it was small comfort to them that their unfortunate incidents were isolated and not the norm.  Perhaps you could go to the home of the 17 yr old Dallas girl who was almost killed and left behind a dumpster and explain to her how she is just an unfortunate aberration, statistically insignificant.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Stop being disingenuous.  In this one article, it appears that those who support doing something about the homeless issues in downtown are hiding in anonymity, while the three or four who think it is no big deal appear to be using their real names.  In other stories, on other issues, you'll find the cloak of anonymity is donned by both sides of an argument, and also that there are people on both sides who put their name to their opinions. Perhaps the divide is more starkly illustrated here because of the issue at hand, and not the social/political leanings of the commentors.  I see approval for moving the benches away from the library here from screen names that generally propose a more liberal stance on things.  Perhaps having to walk through a gauntlet of drug-deals, addicts, mentally ill, and, be honest, potentially dangerous individuals (although they might be few, that will be small comfort to the person who does get victimized), is one of those unifying causes, able to bring people of diverse opinions together.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Now, just imagine if, on those same mysterious internet lines, each city was able to have their own website.  On those miraculous virtual cities, one might even find the same sort of function one finds on commercial search engines. For instance, in mere seconds, I entered the City of Mesquite's website (without any sort of ID, voter or otherwise) and discovered no less than three pages of returned hits when searching 'homeless programs'. I didn't read any of them, so you'll actually have to do that for yourself.

Paul
Paul

 We are talking about homeless shelters specifically. Yes there are homeless programs listed for many of the cities which I listed but as best as I could tell, they were all run by some nonprofit organization and none by the city itself. My point that I am trying to make is that there only seems to be two government funded homeless shelters in the area; the one run by the City of Dallas and the other by Collin County.  I am sure that there is probably one run by either Ft. Worth or Tarrant County. I do not see why the City of Dallas needs to pick up the government funded homeless shelter problem by itself for the entire county. I think that the City of Dallas needs to dump its homeless programs onto the county.  Although we will probably pay a dear amount for the various "go to guys" and consultants. Why are there no homeless people in Highland Park?  Probably two reasons, one Highland Park does not operate a homeless shelter (as far as I know) and the HP PD probably escorts any that they do find to the city limits.

Paul
Paul

 Hmmm ... I went and tried one of those advertising engines .... Surprise, Surprise there is a shelter for homeless people in Mesquite, but ... Surprise, Surprise it is not run or funded by the City of Mesquite as far as I can tell .... Thank you for your suggestion

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

What a GREAT question.  I wish there were some service out on the interwebs where you could search for an answer to such complex questions.  Some site where you could type in "Mesquite Homeless Shelter" and get about 99,100 hits in 0.25 seconds. I bet if somebody came up with something like that, it would make a lot of money.

Timetomoveon
Timetomoveon

Liberals are maladjusted vindictive assholes who will try and ruin the lives and livelihood of anyone they disagree with. There is also no reason to believe anyone is actually using their real name.

Branden Helms
Branden Helms

Have you notived those that are negative are hiding behind anon names, while those that say they aren't alarmed are using their real names. My pregnant wife walked to the library from our apartment in downtown with my less-than-two-year-old son all the time. She and I never had a problem.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I don't think Balch Springs has enough people to have a homeless program.

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