Logan Cline sleeps nightly under an Interstate 635 bridge, where The Dallas Express visited him on Monday and asked him to recall how he ended up homeless in Dallas.
His story involves many elements of a country song – a woman, Budweiser, and youthful pride.
Heading into his eighth year of homelessness, the woman is done gone, and 30-something shame has replaced youthful pride, but Cline’s thirst for beer is stronger than before.
“I admit I need help,” he told The Dallas Express while eating a sausage and egg biscuit at 9 a.m. “I want a beer right now.”
Like thousands of homeless and vagrants across Dallas, addiction is one of many reasons they live on the streets. Average citizens and the homeless or vagrant themselves agree Dallas City Council is failing to address the issue seriously.
City council and the mayor often issue press releases and make public statements, but the homeless and vagrant population continues to grow.
One city that stopped talking and took action is San Antonio, which created a one-stop homeless service center called Haven for Hope, a “transformational campus” that offers services for homeless individuals and families.
Haven for Hope is a 22-acre area outside San Antonio, where the homeless and vagrant population has access to three meals daily, safe sleeping quarters, shower facilities, and medical care. They can also receive mental health and substance abuse services, job training, and work towards earning their GED certificates.
Haven for Hope also assists the homeless and vagrants in obtaining social security and military benefits if they qualify.
When told of San Antonio’s Haven for Hope recently, several of Dallas’ homeless said they were willing to go if the city offered it.
“Sign me up; anything is better than here,” said a man who only gave his name as “The Don.” In a homeless encampment along John W. Carpenter Freeway, “The Don” lives with three other men in two tents hidden by brush. The encampment is littered with shopping carts, garbage, and a broken bicycle.
A homeless woman said her safety is always a concern. Amanda Bauserman, who also sleeps under an I-635 bridge, tries to sleep during the day because it is safer. She related stories of attacks she and other homeless women have experienced.
“It’s not safe out here, and it’s especially not safe for us,” she said, referring to females. She said she has been attacked a few times. Bauserman said the homeless do not call the police when an attack happens because law enforcement either “does not come” or “treats them disrespectfully.”
Nearly two-thirds of respondents to a poll conducted by The Dallas Express said they support limiting the homeless and vagrant population to a specific area where services are offered rather than allowing them to roam the city.
A large majority — 65% versus 35% — of those polled responded in the affirmative when asked, “Do you support a plan to require the homeless and vagrants to occupy only one small specific area of town where all the homeless services are located, instead of roaming wherever they like?”
With a majority of Dallas residents and even the homeless and vagrant population favoring a similar solution to the problem, why aren’t council members acting? It is a question The Dallas Express has asked council members but that has so far gone unanswered.
In an interview with The Dallas Express, the organization’s director of communications, Terri Behling, said cities such as Dallas can mirror Haven for Hope by “bringing together community organizations that serve those experiencing homelessness and getting the ‘buy-in’ from your community.”