• Kleinert Foundation

Weekly Reader January 31, 2020

By: Hannah Rabalais, Program Officer

1. Dallas Residential Neighborhood Empowerment Zones to Promote Affordable Housing

By: Ken Kalthoff, NBCDFW

“After years of work on how to combat the surge in Dallas housing costs and departure of middle class families for the suburbs, the Dallas City Council Wednesday approved seven new Neighborhood Empowerment Zones.

“I think this is critically important for us to make Dallas the type of Dallas we can all be proud of,” Councilman Casey Thomas said.

The zones come with new money and programs.

Builders get incentives to construct new affordable housing to attract new middle class homeowners. Existing owners get tax breaks and repair assistance to keep them from leaving older homes.”

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2. To understand youth gun violence in Dallas, there’s no substitute for proximity

Violence is creating a cycle of trauma in the 75216 ZIP code area.

By: The Dallas Morning News, Taylor Toynes

"Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, speaks about the importance of proximity and how it’s a pathway to learn how to heal oppressed communities. I agree with Stevenson wholeheartedly and I challenge everyone working toward the moral good of all to find a way to become more proximal to the issues plaguing our city.

For me and others who’ve grown up in South Oak Cliff, proximity to social ills such as murder, mass incarceration, drug addiction, poverty, inadequate learning facilities and police brutality has become our reality.

Our team members at For Oak Cliff have dedicated ourselves to the mission of liberation of our community. Our work is geographically focused on an area we call the Superblock, the 75216 ZIP code, which is currently in a drastic state of emergency.

The data shows that our targeted community leads the state of Texas with the most inmates in prison (812). The data also shows this to be one of the most physically and mentally unhealthy ZIP codes in Dallas. The ZIP code is a hotbed for violence and drug addiction, and it is one of the most impoverished and highly unemployed ZIP codes in the city. But if you only look at the qualitative data points, you’ll never truly understand the depths of pain and trauma that we’ve had to endure for generations."

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3. New Initiative Will Provide Housing for the Most Frequent Users of Emergency Rooms and Jails

By: The Dallas Observer, Lucas Manfield

“Six Dallas social services organizations are teaming up with the county hospital and jail to help some of their most frequent users: the homeless. Newly hired caseworkers will find them housing, which will get them off the street and out of taxpayer-subsidized emergency rooms and jails, according to the initiative's organizers.

Beginning April 1, caseworkers will be strategically placed across the city in institutions frequented by the homeless, including Parkland Memorial Hospital's Emergency Department, the Dallas County Jail and various nonprofits. They will identify heavy users of these services and fast-track them into housing. It's based on a national model called Frequent Users Systems Engagement (FUSE) that's already being implemented in dozens of cities across the country.

The program will cost nearly $750,000 a year and is initially funded by grants from Texas Instruments and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. Participating organizations — Parkland, Dallas County, Austin Street Center, CitySquare, Salvation Army, The Bridge and Homeward Bound — will pay half the salary of their caseworkers.”

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4. My Night Tallying Dallas’ Growing Homeless Population

By: D Magazine, Will Maddox

“Last year’s count found 1,452 unsheltered homeless, another 2,313 in emergency shelters, and about 800 in safe haven housing and transitional housing. The increase lies in stark contrast to Houston, which has reduced its homeless population by 54 percent since 2011. Dallas now has a larger homeless population than Houston, despite being a smaller city.

The increase in unsheltered residents has been burbling for nearly 15 years. Since 2005, Dallas’s unsheltered homeless population has gone from 412 to 1,492, while the overall homeless population has increased from 3,729 to 4,538. The numbers remained fairly stable until 2016, when the unsheltered population more than doubled. The number then doubled again between 2016 and 2019. The unsheltered—a 262 percent increase over 15 years—is particularly alarming to many of Dallas’ homeless advocates.”

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5.Super Bowl LIV shines light on 365-day human trafficking problem

By: Fox News, Emily DeCiccio

"While the Super Bowl showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., is attracting millions of eyes to the gridiron, the mega-encounter is once again bringing much-needed attention to the issue of human trafficking.

Caroline Diemar is director of the National Human Trafficking Hotline at Polaris, an anti-human trafficking nonprofit that provides data to explore and inform trends in the matter. Part of her job includes clearing up claims such as the long-held belief that the Super Bowl contributes to an increase in sex trafficking.

“We actually haven't seen a significant increase in reports to the National Human Trafficking Hotline around the Super Bowl or really any other large event,” Diemar told Fox News. “Instead, we're seeing an incredible amount of awareness, which is bringing great attention to the issue of human trafficking and might cause a slight uptick in reports to the trafficking hotline, but we don't consider that actually indicative of an increase in trafficking occurring at the Super Bowl.”

Diemar said that, due to the increased awareness, a larger number of people and institutions tend to invest more in resources to combat human trafficking around the Super Bowl. Law enforcement officials in Miami have reportedly warned hotel workers, ride-hailing service drivers and security personnel to be especially alert during the Super Bowl weekend."

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6. Indie coffee shop in South Dallas is now open at Bonton Farms

By: The Dallas Morning News, Sarah Blaskovich

"Bonton Farms in South Dallas, a “little haven for the community” with a restaurant and garden, has added a coffee shop and farmers market to its operation. Founder and executive director Daron Babcock says both efforts are intended to continue to make Bonton Farms a gathering place, as it sits in the middle of a food desert in one of Dallas’ poorest neighborhoods.

Bonton Farms’ coffee shop opened on Jan. 25, and the farmers market is expected to open in early February.

The restaurant, which opened on the property in 2018, has become a beloved spot for chefs and foodies. Not only does the eatery serve veggies grown right on the property, but it also serves as a connector for food-focused folks: Bonton is a place for people who live in northern parts of Dallas to experience South Dallas. And it’s a place for people in South Dallas to find healthy, local food to eat and buy.

The farm is also a place where neighbors in South Dallas can work in exchange for food. “We don’t give away stuff for free unless it’s a crisis situation,” says Babcock, a South Dallas resident. “But you can do anything around here of value to get food if you don’t have money.”

Babcock says he’s seen Bonton Farms “change the narrative” between people who live in North Dallas and South Dallas, “from us and them to we.”

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