The Dallas Library Is Now Producing a Homeless-Person Podcast

Categories: News

RashadDickersonStreetview.jpg
Street View Podcast
Rashad Dickerson and Dallas Library Director Mary Jo Giudice
The Dallas Public Library has a fraught relationship with downtown's homeless population, on the one hand reluctantly accepting that they are members of the "public" the institution was built to serve, while simultaneously wishing they weren't.

So feel free to be deeply cynical about the library's new "Homeless Engagement Initiative," which launched last September. At least it's produced an intriguing podcast.

Yes, a podcast. The library has tapped local homeless dude Rashad Dickerson to host Street View, its just-launched series offering an on-the-ground view of life on the streets.

Episode 1, which dropped last week, is an introduction in which Dickerson interviews various library staff, including director Mary Jo Giudice, about their efforts to tackle the library's homeless issues.

See also: Dallas Police Are Now Rounding Up Homeless People for "Sleeping in Public" Downtown

Sounds dry, but its a fascinating dialogue. The rhetoric occasionally approaches hyperbole ("I think we're kind of embracing the issue instead of [just] addressing it," says library community outreach coordinator Jasmine Africawala; "We got together to perpetuate humility between all individuals across all walks of life," Dickerson offers), but Dickerson is an intelligent and eloquent representative of Dallas' homeless community, and the library staff come across as genuinely interested in improving their relationship with the unhoused. At the very least, It's worthy of a listen.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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42 comments
gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

Anything that gives homeless people the opportunity to re-join the mainstream community is a good idea.  When a person becomes homeless in the United States, it is not that there is not enough to eat, or a lack of shelter (in Dallas, there is lack of shelter), or a lack of necessities  Rather, it is the stigma, the belief among common people that homeless people are "untouchables" or "outcasts", "moochers", "drunks"m "crazy people", "dope fiends".  Consequently, the homeless community is a ghettoized community and it is more ghettoized than South Dallas or West Dallas or Dallas-anything. 

Ghettoization does not mean "poor"; it means "separated", "Isolated", "left out".  And, yes, that hurts people.  Some people are scarred for life from the stigma of losing one's home.  


What homelessness activists refer as "the homelessness/industrial complex" is actually quite similar to the gulag archipelago documented in four long volumes by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn in the Seventies.  It is a world in which people are "disappeared".  While 70 percent of Dallas's homeless population have jobs and look exactly like you and I (a pity, I know, but I diverge), these people still feel the stigmatization.  Here's some things to think about:

1. The Pilgrims were homeless people. 

2. The pioneers who founded Dallas and the entire American West were homeless people. 

3. In ancient China, men who had raised their families were expected at middle age to leave home and family behind, wander the wilderness and become beggars as part of their spiritual development.  That is how an ancient civilization saw the relative value of having/not having a home.  


4. Many Native American tribes were peripatetic and thus had no homes.  


5.  "Home is where the heart is": TRANSLATION: No matter where you go in life, if you keep your home in your heart, all the material goods in the world are relatively unnecessary. 

6. Margaret Meade, one of the world's greatest anthropologists, considered the Australian Aborigine the most successful and advanced civilization in the world.  Why? 

Because, like homeless men, women and children in America, they lived with less and thus lived more efficiently than the putzes who need castles and massive mansions to feel human. 

I'm glad the library is doing this.  And best of luck to my homeless brothers and sisters on the streets. 

citizenreader
citizenreader

Doesn't sound "dry" at all, but interesting. I'll be tuning in. 

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Put em in the underground parking of the ValleyView midtown project. Best chance we'll have to approximate subway dwellers.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

the obvious solution to the homeless problem is bus them to the suburbs.

Plenty of wooded camping, plenty of game (feral or no), none of this "concrete jungle" crap, and it will lead to an exodus of suburbanites, re-vitalizing the downtown metro areas.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

If the city's leaders can scare up hundreds of millions of dollars for future derelict "mixed-use" projects, they can certainly fund new housing for the homeless.  And no, we don't "run them off" as if they were feral hogs.  These are human beings we're talking about here.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

The link to Street View is, ironically enough, dysfunctional.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Sadly, the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library has become a de facto homeless shelter through no fault of the homeless.  Downtown has a serious problem that is not being addressed by the city's leaders, and the problem is not helping the image of the central district as a viable neighborhood and its quality of life.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Make this the loop on all hotel tv channels for the Republican convention.

pak152
pak152

I well remember when that facilty opened in 1984(?). in the old library the homeless stayed in the periodicals reading room in the basement. The perfume that tickled one's nostrils when they entered that room definitely woke an individual up. When the new building opened the homeless were no longer restricted to a single room but now were able to go anywhere in the building. Within 6 months the beautiful large lounge chairs had to be removed and cleaned thanks to what the homeless did to them. 

No one in the administration thought to ask "what are we going to do about the homeless." 

nothing like walking into one of the restrooms and seeing one of the denizens of downtown stripped down to the waist or completely stripped as the bathed from the sinks. 


and now they are doing podcasts. now there is progress

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

I'll bet the "Street View" is a really popular podcast with Dallas residents, as well as the international community (I know I'll be listening in!

I assume the bums will access the podcast on their iPads while sipping mocha grande at Starbucks?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

And this is where DISD busses school kids to visit the main library.  No wonder families are moving to the suburbs in droves.

Across the street, City Hall had to put in a TSA'esque security apparatus to assuage the fears of their employees.  

I felt safer in the Beirut Green Zone.

This is but one lasting effect of using downtown Dallas as a repository for the homeless metro-wide.  Certainly makes it a livable, walkable environment for the New Urbanists, so long as you are walking with steel. 

So yeah, tear down that overpass!

and put in a moat.

jjaguero
jjaguero

I pray you never become homeless, Larry. My hope is that you never have to find out what it feels like to know you are not accepted and everywhere you go, you are falsely judged, shunned out, and mistreated because of your situation. I pray you never have to be that broken to really come to grips with how much each of us really have in common. Better yet, I do. God bless you, always, in Jesus' name.

jjaguero
jjaguero

I was homeless for about a year or so. I'm one person you would look at and never imagine I would be that, or have been there. I have an extensive resume, with professional skills to land any job and become a great asset to any company. None of us are ever too far from being homeless. The HONOR, BLESSING AND GREAT INCREDIBLE PRIVILEGE of coming to.know my brother Rashad is by far one of THE best things that have EVER happened to me in.this lifetime. What he is trying to make each of us see, what he is trying to reach out to every mind and heart to teach, is something you don't come across every day, and I can sign my name to the promise that if you take two minutes to listen...... you will find in the first 2 seconds just how richly blessed you will be. I invite EVERYONE to take just a few minutes of your day, grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back and listen. You are Very Welcome! God bless you now and always, in the mighty and holy name of Christ Jesus.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@bvckvs

I had no idea that the immigrant/refugee community even commissioned surveys.

pak152
pak152

@TheRuddSki"plenty of game" there ya go that's how we'll solve the feral hog problem

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

They'll be "run off" to all the section-eight units in your apartment complex, and the new homeless shelters on your block.

After all, once the "homeless" have "homes", that which caused their homelessness just disappears, and they become model citizens. Perhaps even frequenting your favorite bodegas and accompanying you on your strolls.

pak152
pak152

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz"they can certainly fund new housing for the homeless." yes free housing for folks who don't want to leave what they are doing right now. better yet lets hire the homeless to pick the plastic bags that everyone hates and we can use the nickel bag tax to pay for it. then they would be gainfully employed

pak152
pak152

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz"through no fault of the homeless" that's right it is never their fault. it is someone else's fault

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Same situation I described in Sarasota.

City leaders addressed the problem, they ran them off.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@pak152  The City declared War on Poverty.

Poverty won.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Yes it's the main library why families move to the burbs and not the shitty DISD.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

I offered a possible solution. Geez, so sensitive.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@pak152

There's a growing suburban shar-pei problem, and they're less risky to hunt. The pelts make fine blankets as well.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@pak152

Unfortunately, the newly-homed former homeless, who presumably will still be plagued with joblessness, listlessness or illnesses that caused their homelessness, will have to rely on re-useable canvas totes to make a living.

That those Eco-friendly totes will be full of marvelous ingredients for a meal and toted by area residents strolling home on days of marvelous weather is a big plus for the toteless new residents. Wins all around!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@pak152

It is the fault of the homed, like me, who selfishly refuse to share.

pak152
pak152

@holmantx wasn't even a war they surrendered faster than the French did in WW2

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Sharon_Moreanus  

and guns cause crimes, eh?

No, it is DISD's decision to bus kids into areas created by the city that are infested with a huge population of drifters, child molesters, early releasers, schizophrenics, drug addicts and alcoholics that drive out families.

It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@bvckvs

No need for literacy, bvckvs speaks their language.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  

During the recession, people are turning their shar-pei loose like Emus.  Once a get rich quick scheme, the little bastards are running wild everywhere.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@pak152

... surrendered faster than the French did in WW2

Is that possible?

pak152
pak152

@holmantx @Sharon_Moreanusnot only did the city set it up but they encouraged it. or rather they just bent to the will of the liberal/progressives who fought against anything that was designed to get the homeless out of downtown

mn62980
mn62980

@Sharon_Moreanus  And what about the rest of the class? 5 kids going on to a good college ≠ victory.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Sharon_Moreanus  

Barbara M Mann's High School is one block west.

The main library is 1,800 feet.

First Presbyterian Day School 1,200 feet

City Hall Plaza (public park) 1,800 feet 

Old City Park

and of course, do they still let homeless women with children stay at The Bridge?

What's the purpose of this article for God's sake?

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

The main library, DISD schools, a public park are NOT within 2000ft of The Bridge.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Sharon_Moreanus  

The main library, DISD schools, a public park and daycare are within 2,000 feet of The Bridge mega shelter - where 42 registerted sewx offenders are domiciled.

California has a state law prohibiting this condition within 2,000 feet of those listed uses.  Several states do.

The City of Dallas set it up and the DISD has no problem with it.

Those parents that object can leave.  Others just drop their kids off at the front door of the library.  The new daycare.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Sharon_Moreanus  

Oh it's the crappy education all right however, think of the "educator" mindset that sees no problem with the main library environment but rejects monkey bars.

It's the whole package.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

So bad downtown 5 kids from Booker are going to Juilliard this year.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

So its the busing and main library not the poor education.

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