We are trudging through a lot of information regarding the proposed Permanent Supportive Housing in the Lake Highlands area, but I figured I’d throw out a few tidbits as we continue to do research:

We did learn during an interview a couple days ago, that the 20 formerly incarcerated people who are being interviewed for places at the Woodside Condominiums are singles, mostly men, between the ages of 51 and 65 years. One of the caseworkers for Project Reconnect (through which PSH clients will be placed at this particular property) said that these are not generally these young gang bangers that many of us might imagine. “They are old; they’re tired; they are not tryin’ to get into any more trouble,” the caseworker says.

We are working on compiling more info about our potential new neighbors.

Meanwhile, many of our passionate neighborhood leaders, including those in the neighborhood where I live, Woodbridge, are convinced that this is by no means a done deal, and that those who have concerns about the permanent supportive housing can still have a say in what happens here. In fact, says Murray Morgan, Jerry Allen just sent him an email stating that the month of July would be set aside for more discussion on the matter (see that e-mail at the end of this post). What could possibly come out of those discussions remains to be seen. (No, no specific meeting dates have been set yet).

Moss Haven Moms are sponsoring petitions to “show neighborhood solidarity against the use of the 9300 block of Forest Lane for the formerly incarcerated”. So far they’ve collected more than 700 signatures.

They have frequent updates concerning their efforts on their web group. After the jump, see the letter from Jerry Allen regarding July being a month for discussion about the matter: Dear Neighbor:

I have received many emails regarding the Dallas Housing Authority plan to put two permanent supportive housing communities in our neighborhoods. Many question whether Forest Lane is the right place for these communities. Some express concern that crime could go up. There is also concern that the very people that are supposed to be getting help are being put in a difficult situation and some of you feel our district has already done its fair share when it comes to permanent supportive housing. Please know-your voices are being heard.

Permanent supportive housing is a very complex issue that requires thorough and thoughtful discussion.  The Mayor and I have had conversations regarding this issue and as a result of these conversations the Mayor and I are asking the Dallas Housing Authority along with the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance to set aside the month of July for an open, frank and thoughtful discussion with neighborhoods being affected. If DHA and MDHA agree, then I will ask the Board of the Lake Highlands Area Improvement Association to put together a Blue Ribbon committee made up of the leadership of the affected neighborhoods to open up the communication process. I hope that this process is the first step in a timely, constructive communication process between all stakeholders resulting in a Good Neighbor Agreement being adopted by all parties. This agreement would express in writing our mutual expectations with measurable accountability assigned to all.

Once we have done this, we will call a town hall meeting.

Friends, as I have said, this is a complicated and controversial issue. But I know the people in my district, and I have confidence that together, we can work through the issues in a constructive and respectful manner. This is too important of an issue not to get right.

All the best,