The sun was barely up, the air was crisp, and the sign on the The Chestnut Tree said they were closed. But inside, the eggs were fluffy, the coffee was hot and there was a low roar of chatter among young Dentonites, it was DYP’s November morning coffee!
This month, thanks to our generous sponsor, The Denton Kiwanis Club, we got to hear Courtney Cross from United Way of Denton County discuss initiatives and programs centered on the issue of homelessness.
She opened by explaining their “PC” approach to homelessness. No, not a “politically correct” approach but rather a “people centered” approach. Just as we now refer to someone in a wheelchair as “having a disability” as opposed to “disabled”, we should say “a person is experiencing homelessness” as opposed to “a homeless person”. They also take a more grounded, attainable stance on homelessness. Instead of pursing the impossible task of “ending homelessness” they are instead focusing on making it “rare, brief and non-recurring.”
She posed the question “How many of you use data at your current job to make decisions?”. A good number of people in the room raised their hands. She went on to ask, “How many would make a decision based on one day’s worth of data?” Understandably, no one raised their hand. But for the homeless programs in Denton, that’s it, that’s really all they get. One single day’s worth of data
to make decisions. In addition to this limited time frame of data, they also are seeing the growth outpace the funding.
Even with these limitations, the programs are still working hard and are able to find some trends. One obvious contributing factor based on data is lack of accessible transportation and another is a lack of a support system.
Courtney went on to field some great questions from DYPers and encouraged us all to reach out if we have more questions. She also provided this resource for DYPers to get involved! Denton County Holiday Volunteer Opportunities & Donations. Thanks Courtney!