- Why did Dave Neumann front load the question line with citizens he knew are adamantly opposed to this project? Those of us who might have had voices of reasons didn't stand a chance and would have had to stay til midnight to get a word in edgewise.
- Why hasn't Mr. Neumann met with citizens in Oak Cliff who either support the project or at least are not rabidly opposed to it? He has met only with those persons who are railing against the project. I've heard no call or request from him to hear the other side.
- Why did Mr. Neumann allow the meeting to degenerate so quickly? As facilitator, he had a great opportunity to show his leadership as a representative of Oak Cliff. He failed miserably.
- Why hasn't MDHA and DHA put together an educational power point showing research outcomes for permanent supportive housing and the impact on surrounding neighborhoods? The citizens of Oak Cliff are badly informed about this and need good, solid, credible information.
- Why haven't MDHA, DHA, and LifeNet put together a formal presentation on how Cliff Manor will change for the better, exactly what services will be offered (kind, quantity, quality, frequency, etc.) and the impact it will have on the neighborhood? When asked those questions last night, the answers were vague and useless.
- Why didn't Bob Stimson check his research on the saturation of group homes in Oak Cliff? The saturation in Oak Cliff is from unlicensed and/or illegal group homes, hotels, and flop houses; which I would fight against just as hard as anyone. Cliff Manor is not one of these.
- If Mr. Neumann knew about this project for a full year, why wasn't he talking about it much sooner?
It's pretty bad when opponents of this project come to the table with more facts and figures (even if they are inaccurate) than the promoters of the project. This is definitely a lesson in how NOT to move permanent supportive housing into a neighborhood.
It is critical for those of us who support these projects to be totally prepared with excellent educational materials, credible facts, information on how the project will improve the surrounding neighborhood, and to be able to second-guess objections and answer them BEFORE the shouting starts. Just because DHA has the ability to move forward with this project without approval from the neighborhood, that is no excuse for inadequate preparation, unconcerned attitudes about neighborhood reaction, and re-iteration of federal law.
On the other hand, just because the introduction of this project has been handled very poorly, that is NO excuse for the behavior of my neighbors that occurred last night. I hold Mr. Neumann partially responsible for allowing it to occur, but ultimately, each citizen is responsible for his or her behavior. I think we need some lessons in manners!
In the end, if we are going to end chronic homelessness in Dallas through permanent supportive housing, which I totally support, we are going to have to do a MUCH better job of educating our neighbors and building strong relationships with ALL the neighborhoods in Dallas. Nobody likes surprises or having something crammed down their throat.