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Housing the Homeless, How Novel

Brian Harkin
Larry James, president and CEO of Central Dallas Ministries
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In February 2005, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson stood at a homeless shelter in Los Angeles, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and announced that HUD would be doling out $1.4 billion in grants nationwide whose sole purpose was to "bring an end to chronic homelessness." Of that money, Texas received some $64,448,511, which was intended "to provide shelter and care for persons and families without a home of their own," read the HUD media release. And of that, Central Dallas Ministries received exactly $547,639. On his blog Larry James, president and CEO for Central Dallas Ministries, documents how the money is being spent -- exactly as it was intended:

Thanks to a grant from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Central Dallas Ministries is placing homeless persons in permanent housing in two undisclosed Dallas locations.

We have funding for 50 apartments. We have secured these housing units through an agreement with one property owner. We control 25 one-bedroom apartment units in each of two different locations. In each location our living units are part of a much larger, multi-family development.

So far we have placed 18 homeless men in permanent housing. These guys now have a key to the place they call home. Thanks to a couple of area churches, they also have what they need to set up housekeeping.

We've been at this for several weeks now. Before too much longer we will have filled all 50 of our apartments.

Guess what?

No problems whatsoever from our tenants. They are so grateful for the housing and for the freedom, you should hear them talk. Without a doubt, these gentlemen will become some of these developments' best residents.

The CDM doesn't get a whole lot of bread from the government -- less than $2 million, during last fiscal year. But it knows how spread the manna. --Robert Wilonsky

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