Dwaine Caraway Says Dallas is the "Homeless Capital of the World" and Should Bus Them Out of Town

Categories: City Hall, Housing

Thumbnail image for HomelessCount2012.jpg
It's been a decade since the city of Dallas announced the development of a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness, a quest that, as a short stroll downtown will tell you, has fallen short of its goal. There are still plenty of people without homes.

That's not to say the program, which has focused attention and money on substance abuse counseling, permanent supportive housing, prisoner reentry programs, and the like, has been a failure. According to statistics presented to City Council's Housing Committee today, chronic homelessness has decreased by 66 percent in that time frame.

That's good news, but it's not the whole story. As the city's homeless services manager, Suanne Durham, told the council, the same period has seen a sharp increase in the number of homeless families (36 percent) and children (22 percent), which is something neither the city nor nonprofits that serve the homeless are well-equipped to deal with.

"The new population is going to require new program delivery," Durham said, listing things like family counseling, parenting skills classes and day care. "Those are things that we're not currently funded to provide."

That was a not-so-subtle plea for more funding, but Councilman Dwaine Caraway had the opposite reaction. "I think the program needs to suspended," he said. "Put on hold."

Not just the family part. The whole $6 million-per-year thing.

Caraway quickly explained that the city's homeless outreach program is fantastic and shouldn't be permanently dissolved. Rather, it should be suspended "only for a moment. ... We need to come back and regroup so we can become more effective. We have some renegaede agencies and we need to take that renegade money and put it into a basket that is being productive."

He didn't specify how much to put in which baskets. He did go on at length, in typical Caraway fashion, about how Dallas unfairly shoulders the burden of homelessness for the region. "Other cities -- Plano, Desoto, Duncanville, Allen -- they're taking advantage of us. [Their homeless] are coming here to Dallas, and they're not helping Dallas."

Caraway also thinks Dallas is fast becoming the "homeless capital of the world." Go down to The Bridge and you'll find that a lot of the people there don't even hail from Dallas but from Virginia or Arizona or somewhere else. "They know that Dallas is a home of hope and help so they converge and convene on Dallas from everywhere."

Whether Caraway seriously believes that Dallas is some glittering homeless Mecca doesn't really matter. What matters is Caraway's solution to the problem, which is to use some of the city's funds to contract with Greyhound. As in the bus service.

"I'm for getting a ticket and, if you're from Virginia, I want you to go to Virginia. If you're from Arizona, I want you to go to Arizona. ... I want to help you if you're from Dallas, but people are coming here because we have so much stuff going that we're one of the only cities that they feel that they can reach into, and it's becoming a burden."

That may strike some as a callous approach that studiously avoids dealing with the root causes of homelessness, but Caraway doesn't care. Media outlets can quote him as much as they want. After all, he said, it's not like he has an opponent to worry about in May.

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48 comments
jkwaghorne
jkwaghorne

The annual homeless census count has been manipluated by the MDHA and City of Dallas for political and funding reasons. I do not make this statement lightly, but can prove these things. The citizens of Dallas and the homeless are being "screwed" for lack of a better term. I would remind the Mayor, Councilmembers and police that Dallas was rated at one time the 6th meanest city in America concerning how it dealt with our homeless neighbors. This certainly had a negative impact on our City and those with political aspirations.People like Gordon Hilgers and myself know all too well what negative comments by a Councilmember can do. John Loza once called our homeless "Bums". That didn't certainly work out to well for him and I can assure Mr. Caraway that making such ignorant comments will not work out to well for him. The citizens of Dallas passed 2 bonds to help our homeless. Just a reminder....

.

anon.ymous
anon.ymous

Every larger community believes this.  You should be able to verify this through your data.

gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

I remember that as a reporter for Endless Choices I interviewed Caraway's wife, Barbara Mallory Caraway in 2000, and you know what?  The interviewee was so absolutely uninformed that we decided to just drop the story for reasons of the sheer absurdity of the interviewee.  At the time, members of the Dallas Citizens Council, concerned that homeless people essentially spent their days in downtown Dallas, had suggested the same thing: FEMA camps for homeless people.  After all, because the City of Dallas refused to place self-cleaning restrooms that would operate on tokens given to Dallas homeless men and women and children at the Stewpot soup kitchen, the homeless, people who are actually human beings contrary to the belief of people who are oblivious to the fact they themselves are only a paycheck or a foreclosure away from homelessness, homeless individuals had absolutely no place other than the public library to gain restroom access. 

The reason homeless people are in downtown Dallas is obvious: The services they use daily are in downtown Dallas. 

Here, in this supposedly "Christian" metropolitan area, people seem incapable of wrapping their minds around the simple fact that when the economy goes down because of fraudulent behavior in the home mortgage lending and investment banking sectors, the population of homeless people is going to rise.  Even worse for the chronically oblivious is one simple statistic: While the "official" American unemployment statistic hovers around 7.8 percent, the real number is closer to 20 percent. 

Instead of trying to get Dallas to bus the homeless out of the city, Caraway would be much more effective in solving this situation by using his connections in the U.S. Senate and Congress to 1) tax the very wealthy; 2) to close tax loopholes; 3) shut-down offshore banking havens; and 4) find a way to bring jobs back to the United States. 

Also, if you can get Dallas' depraved developers to build affordable housing for low-income people rather than putting up one exclusive condominium after another in a quest for more money than these people really need, people wouldn't be living on the streets.  As far as people from outside the area using homeless service infrastructure, the last time I looked people in America have liberty and are free to go where they want to go. 

If Caraway doesn't like that, perhaps he should try Somalia. 

smichaelclark59
smichaelclark59

Busing the homeless to a different city was not Dwaine Caraways idea.  It was done years ago by the mayor of New York.  He bought a one way bus ticket to Miami and gave thousands to homeless people in New York City.  Within a 2 month peoriod all the homeless were gone.  It happened back in the 90's ask anyone that lived there.  It was very noticable.  The Mayor of Miami was pissed but nothing he could do about it.

director21
director21

Dwaine, would you PLEASE put Betty Culbreath on one of those buses? In doing so, you would be doing the city, county and state a really BIG favor! You could get Arthur and Archie to escort her to make sure she is delivered far, far away,

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

There's thousands of empty houses in Detroit.

Load up the Megabus.

BettyC1
BettyC1

I think he has a good idea. Many homeless have family in other places but have no money to go home.Family members will not send for them fearing they will spend money on something else. Buying a bus ticket and sack lunch putting them on bus home will work.Let's try it!

Birdseyeview
Birdseyeview

Thank you Mr. Caraway for stating the truth. Ask police who patrol the Farmers Market Neighborhood what their experiences are like around The Bridge.  The Bridge is nothing but a halfway house. When released from Prison, Terrell, etc the parolees are given instructions and directions to The Bridge.  Last month there were 40 people staying at The Bridge with warrants for their arrest.  Meanwhile, the City continues to approve and support additional services in the area. Including, the Opportunity Center which will house 1,000 homeless a few blocks from The Bridge facility.  Enough is enough.  Wake up City Leader's and recognize the current system and current Bridge management is not working and not capable. They are failing with new people arriving daily from across the Country.  Find solutions and fix this ASAP, before it is too late for all involved.  The homeless, property owners and business owners need a solution.

HLCares
HLCares

Mr. Caraway is correct in his acknowledgement that many of the homeless who currently reside in Dallas are from many other cities across the country.  It is admirable to help the homeless; however, you have to make some sort of boundaries when calculating costs.  Dallas is known for being sympathetic both economically and humanitarily to the homeless making Big D a huge draw for those looking for a better deal if you will.  Get more for free and enjoy the pleasant Texas climate.  There must be some reciprocation from the Homeless for their living expenses that is appropriate based on their own qualifications.  Those qualifications could be washing dishes, making beds, planting flowers to picking up trash.  God intended for us to help those who could not help themselves.  All cities should work to help their own and yes, get those folks back home to their perspective cities.    

HLCares
HLCares

Mr. Caraway is correct in his acknowledgement that many of the homeless who currently reside in Dallas are from many other cities across the country.  It is admirable to help the homeless; however, you have to make some sort of boundaries when calculating costs.  Dallas is known for being sympathetic both economically and humanitarily to the homeless making Big D a huge draw for those looking for a better deal if you will.  Get more for free and enjoy the pleasant Texas climate and enjoy the cooking.  There must be some reciprocation from the Homeless for their living expenses that is appropriate based on their own qualifications.  Those qualifications could be washing dishes, making beds, planting flowers to picking up trash.  As good neighbors, it is right for us to help those who can not help themselves but because we feel that our capable brothers and sisters should be useful does not make us bad.  Each city should work to help their own.   Getting those folks back home to their perspective cities is one way to share some of the burden and costs.    

HLCares
HLCares

Mr. Caraway is correct in his acknowledgement that many of the homeless who currently reside in Dallas are from many other cities across the country.  It is admirable to help the homeless; however, you have to make some sort of boundaries when calculating costs.  Dallas is known for being sympathetic both economically and humanitarily to the homeless making Big D a huge draw for those looking for a better deal if you will.  Get more for free and enjoy the pleasant Texas climate.  There must be some reciprocation from the Homeless for their living expenses that is appropriate based on their own qualifications.  Those qualifications could be washing dishes, making beds, planting flowers to picking up trash.  God intended for us to help those who could not help themselves.  All cities should work to help their own and yes, get those folks back home to their perspective cities.    

HLCares
HLCares

Mr. Caraway is correct in his acknowledgement that many of the homeless who currently reside in Dallas are from many other cities across the country.  It is admirable to help the homeless; however, you have to make some sort of boundaries when calculating costs.  Dallas is known for being sympathetic both economically and humanitarily to the homeless making Big D a huge draw for those looking for a better deal if you will.  Get more for free and enjoy the pleasant Texas climate.  There must be some reciprocation from the Homeless for their living expenses that is appropriate based on their own qualifications.  Those qualifications could be washing dishes, making beds, planting flowers to picking up trash.  God intended for us to help those who could not help themselves.  All cities should work to help their own and yes, get those folks back home to their perspective cities.    

if6were9
if6were9

I think it's high time for Mr.Caraway to have a 'Trading Places' moment......let's see how well he does. :)

BullJive
BullJive

Portland, Seattle, Sacremento, Phoenix, most of Florida, Austin.   Has this guy left the city?

Apocalypse_91
Apocalypse_91

Apparently, Mr. Caraway has never spent a minute in Houston. It has 20X the amount of homeless people walking around all day.

ms.freedmans
ms.freedmans

Whatch what U say we all a pay check from being HOMELESS!

Ms. Moxie
Ms. Moxie

I saw this in an episode of South Park once.

cindus4
cindus4

I think Mr. Caraway needs to bus himself somewhere else!

tbcgregory1
tbcgregory1

Isn't this what Giuliani did in NYC?  Also, I saw a cartel hit in Caraway's district just 6 months ago.  He must have his eyes set on that extra 6 million for some "personal projects", since he's picking that over Pleasant Grove murders as his concern.

MattL11
MattL11

If we get them over to Ft. Worth today, then we can just claim it was a hilarious April Fools prank. Best hurry! 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

What did he expect?  Wasn't it Dewayne running around demanding we shut down and raze all the No-Tell Motel's in S. Dallas and Pleasant Grove?  Where did he think the denizens of those humble establishments were going to wind up?

cantkeepthetruthdown
cantkeepthetruthdown

Why can't we mandate that alt-weekly writers sponsor at least one homeless? I am sure you have more than your fair share of space in your home Eric. You need to step up and share it with those less fortunate than you. 

John1073
John1073

Can we send D-wayne on the bus too?

ptmoore2012
ptmoore2012

Make them sit through a Dallas city council meeting and they will all leave town.

theslowpath
theslowpath

I remember once, right after Nam, I was homeless and drifting, hitchhiking, through the mountains in Washington, and this sheriff started hastling me. Tried to run me out of town. Pretty soon the whole department was hunting me through the woods and I had to take them all out. 

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

He's worried about the non-Dallas residents using The Bridge"...wonder is he has ever looked at Parkland.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Pish posh!  Have you been to San Diego lately.  Homeless sleep on the streets everywhere downtown.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Would he be okay with the homeless if they pulled up their pants or played poker?

gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

By the way, Endless Choices was a homelessness advocacy street newspaper that gave homeless people without jobs a chance to make money for themselves. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@BettyC1 

Family members won't send them $$$$ because they are afraid they WILL buy a bus ticket and come home.

Most of these people are homeless because if their families are not actually the cause of their dysfunction, they are unwilling or unable to take care of whatever damage has caused them to check-out of the fiction we collectively call "polite society".

if6were9
if6were9

@cantkeepthetruthdown So, now we know that you, yourself, are Dwaine Caraway.....explains quite a bit about the things, which your ignorant fingers, type forth! :)

russell.allison1
russell.allison1

@John1073 Oh no!!!  Caraway is a lot of things but he is worth having around purely for the entertainment value. 

John1073
John1073

Too many pool houses go abandoned year after year. It's terrible, I tell ya.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@theslowpath You did what you had to do, my man. Those guys were the assholes that drew first blood.

Daniel
Daniel

@Scruffygeist And what if -- say, hypothetically -- Arthur and Archie were to become homeless? Now, everybody knows that Arthur is from Dallas and he loves the Dallas Cowboys. But Archie is from Monroe, Louisiana. Would Dwaine really be so heartless as to put him on a Greyhound?

Storm_71
Storm_71

@Just Saying @theslowpath I tip my Ranger cap to the both of you. Genius.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@Johnny Bananas @scottindallas well, didn't Katrina displace many of those homeless?  I've not spent much time there since Katrina, but it certainly was a bastion of homelessness before.

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