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The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships For Mental Health Journalism 2008-2009

Kim Horner
Staff Writer
Dallas Morning News
Dallas, TX

TOPIC: Examine the struggles of people who are homeless to find treatment for mental illnesses and substance use in Texas.

Battling Homelessness in Dallas Requires More Housing, Mental Health Services, Advocates Say
In cardboard boxes under bridges, in tattered tents in the woods and in vacant downtown buildings live some of the hardest people to help. They are the chronically homeless, those who suffer from mental illnesses and addictions and have been on the streets repeatedly or for years. Few are getting the care they need. Instead, they wander year after year between shelters, psychiatric hospitals, drug and alcohol treatment, and jail.

As Mental Health Support Wanes, Many Doomed to Homelessness
Richard Antwine's last home was the county jail. The 47-year-old ended up there, again, after another round of homeless shelters, boarding homes, and psychiatric hospitals. This time, it was because he failed to report to his parole officer. He said he missed the appointment because he was hospitalized. He has severe depression and was hearing voices telling him to hurt himself. His court-appointed lawyer said he doesn't belong in jail. "Somebody dropped the ball somewhere," she said.

'Frequent Fliers' Run up Dallas County's Homeless Tab
Dallas County taxpayers spend about $50 million a year sheltering, treating and jailing the homeless. Perhaps half of that is for the 600 to 1,000 toughest cases – many of whom visit emergency rooms, psychiatric hospitals, jails so often they're called "frequent fliers." These very ill people repeatedly cycle through a massive, uncoordinated system of local, state, federal and private institutions at an alarming speed and alarming cost. And despite the millions being spent, many of these chronically homeless people remain in shelters and cardboard boxes.

Seattle's 1811 Eastlake Project Puts Housing First, Saves Lives and Money
An attractive blue and gray apartment building with views of the Space Needle saved taxpayers $4 million in one year – simply by giving hardcore homeless alcoholics a place to live. This home for the homeless has attracted visitors from across the country – including Dallas – looking for ways to move the most seriously ill off the streets and cut costs. But it has detractors because it doesn't require residents to stop drinking.

Unwelcome Mat Out for Project to House Chronically Homeless
Developer Larry Hamilton has been working for months to turn the empty Plaza Hotel south of downtown Dallas into homes for the homeless. But it's been much tougher than he imagined. Hamilton and other developers complain of roadblocks even as they try to carry out the city's goal of opening 700 apartments for the homeless by 2014. The housing, which would come with mental health and addiction services, is considered the most effective way to clear the streets of the hard-core homeless.

Proposal to Cut 50 Beds at Terrell State Hospital Draws Concern
A proposal to cut 50 beds at the region's public psychiatric hospital is generating concern from North Texas officials.

Oak Cliff Residents Angered by Plan to Move 17 Homeless People into Cliff Manor Next Week
The first meeting of a task force seeking public input about moving the homeless into north Oak Cliff ended with an announcement that left neighbors furious: 17 homeless people are moving into Cliff Manor starting next week.

Advocates for Housing Win Homeless Struggle to Win over Dallas Neighbors
The move to provide 700 homes for the homeless across Dallas has left residents in many neighborhoods complaining of being blindsided with no advance notice.

Oak Cliff Opposition Shows Why Supportive Permanent Housing in Dallas is Still a Tough Sell
The recent uproar over Cliff Manor in north Oak Cliff reveals the main political hurdle for solving Dallas' homeless problem: Even though experts say permanent supportive housing is the key, neighborhoods aren't supporting it.

Anti-Energy Drink Hard for Some Mental Health Experts to Swallow (link no longer available)
Drank, the anti-energy drink sold at convenience stores, is generating concern among Dallas-area mental health experts who say it's made to resemble popular illegal homemade cough syrup concoction known as "purple drank." EVANS CAGLAGE/DMN Drank bills itself as an "Extreme Relaxation Beverage." 

United Cerebral Palsy of North Texas Helps Those with Disabilities Use Technology, Live Independently
Connie Prilliman found her voice in the ERICA II, a device that tracks her eyes' movement to let her choose words that are said in a computerized voice. 'She'll be able to do much more than she's ever been able to do,' says her brother.

Plan to Move Homeless into Oak Cliff Tower on Hold
Plans to move chronically homeless people into a north Oak Cliff public-housing tower are on hold indefinitely, Dallas City Council member Dave Neumann said Thursday.

Dallas Officials Move Ahead with Cliff Manor Homeless Plan in North Oak Cliff
The Dallas Housing Authority will continue with plans to move up to 18 homeless people into a north Oak Cliff public housing tower, the agency's leader said Tuesday after a heated meeting with concerned neighbors the night before.

Oak Cliff Residents Challenge City on Apartment Plan for Homeless
Dallas housing authority plans to open 160 homes for homeless, formerly jailed (link no longer available). The Dallas Housing Authority has plans for five new initiatives that would provide homes for 160 chronically homeless and formerly incarcerated people.

Lines for Housing Services Getting Longer at the Bridge
When people come to The Bridge, the first thing they have to get used to is the long lines.

Athletes Finish Strong at Special Olympics Summer Games 
Doctors predicted Billy Thomas would never walk again after a car crash left him brain-damaged at age 6. But the Cedar Hill boy shocked his family later when he not only walked - he ran.

2,700-Plus Take Home Medals at Special Olympics Texas Summer Games at UT-Arlington
More than 2,700 athletes went home with medals this weekend after competing in the Special Olympics Texas 2010 Summer Games at the University of Texas at Arlington's Maverick Stadium.

Special Olympics Seeks Cheerleaders for Events in Arlington
Special Olympics athletes from across the state will compete in the annual Summer Games this weekend in Arlington - and they need people to cheer for them.

Dallas Housing Authority Opening 100 North Oak Cliff Apartments for Addicts, Mentally Ill
Starting next month, 100 chronically homeless people will have a new place to call home.

Dallas-Area Services Aim to Help Families Prevent Child Abuse
Daisy Cano stood before a classroom of parents in Pleasant Grove and listed the ways they can get help so that job losses, evictions or other financial stresses do not become overwhelming."If you know that you're having a hard time, you know you can get services," said Cano, social services coordinator for AVANCE-Dallas. "If you're stressed, you can go to counseling. All of these agencies are just a phone call away."

Rise in Cases Leaves Dallas-Area Abused Kids Waiting for Help
The Dallas Children's Advocacy Center says it cannot keep up with the growing number of children who need counseling after suffering physical or sexual abuse.

North Texas Agencies Could Report Rise in Child Abuse Cases
The Dallas Children's Advocacy Center says it cannot keep up with the growing number of children who need counseling after suffering physical or sexual abuse.

Quietly, 'Cheese' Heroin Problem Continues to Plague Young People in Dallas-Fort Worth
The headlines about "cheese" overdose deaths have faded, but Dallas-area treatment centers still struggle to keep up with a high number of teens as young as 13 addicted to the mix of heroin and sleep aids.

Dallas Cottage Project to Help Chronically Homeless
Fifty of Dallas' most costly homeless "frequent fliers" - people who repeatedly cycle through institutions such as hospitals and jail at a cost to taxpayers - could soon be finding homes, just south of Deep Ellum.

Family Violence Up in Dallas as Overall Crime Declines, Mayor Tells Conference on Crimes Against Women
Family violence has risen 5 percent in Dallas even as overall crime has dropped, Mayor Tom Leppert said Monday at the opening of the Conference on Crimes Against Women being held downtown through Wednesday.

Task Force Urges Education on Homeless Housing in Dallas
A Dallas task force recommended Tuesday that the city launch a major campaign to educate the public about housing that officials want to build for the chronically homeless.

Four Dallas Apartment Projects for the Homeless Seek State Aid
Four proposed apartment projects would move Dallas much closer to its goal of creating 700 homes for the chronically homeless.

Four Dallas Proposals to House Homeless Fail to Win State Tax Credits
Four proposed housing developments for the homeless failed to receive state tax credits needed to help finance the projects Thursday

Autistic Girl to Get Another Round of Horse Therapy
Background: Ten-year-old Alexis Diaz cannot talk, bathe or feed herself because of her severe autism. But the Duncanville girl, who also lost one eye to cancer, made significant progress in a local horse therapy program last year.

Volunteers to Count Homeless Tonight in Dallas, Collin
More than 100 volunteers will visit shelters and encampments tonight for the annual count and survey of the homeless in Dallas and Collin counties.

Duncanville Outreach Ministry Puts a Smile on Autistic Girl's Face with Riding Lessons
The Duncanville Outreach Ministry usually provides emergency rent and food but sought special approval to provide riding lessons for Alexis Diaz, 10, through the Therapeutic Riding of Texas, or TROT, program in Cedar Hill.

Formerly Homeless Women Find Room for a New Start at Dallas' Pebbles Apartments
Lawanna Rogers, clean and sober for four months after a 20-year addiction to crack cocaine, calls a friend to talk about her new apartment. In five months, she went from a mat at The Bridge shelter in Dallas to a bed in a cubicle there to her own apartment.

Work is Part of Recovery for Addicts at Soul's Harbor in Southeast Dallas 
Salvatore Caudo lifted weights last month at a workout station he created from donated equipment at Soul's Harbor. Caudo, a former crack addict who is in recovery at the shelter, said the exercise has helped him stay away from drugs.

Former Homeless Man Known as Mayor of Boxville Finds Job, Home, and a Smile
Sporting a sharp black tuxedo, Mack Choice takes meal orders from homeless people at the SoupMobile's fifth annual Christmas Angel Project at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. At the same event a year earlier, Choice was one of the guests.

Terrell Boy's Charity for Homeless Comes from the Heart
Casey Rogers couldn't believe what he saw when a homeless man tapped on the window of his family's car outside a Burger King near downtown Dallas one day, asking for money.

How You Can Help Children in CPS Care
Stories of abused children can leave anyone feeling helpless. But there are many ways to make a difference in the kids' lives.

In Texas, Moving from Home to Home Becomes a Way of Life for Many in Foster Care
Megan Honey was only 4 when Child Protective Services took her from her home.

Dallas Still Hopes for Homeless Funding Despite Tough Times for Texas Budget
Officials with The Bridge, Dallas' homeless assistance center, have not given up on the $1 million the state cut out of its annual budget.

Plano Institute Trains Adults with Autism to Work in Technology Industry
Teacher Andrew LaBounty (front) of Allen works on a game character graphics with student Amelia Schabel of Lake Dallas during a class at the nonPareil Institute.

Mentally Disabled Man is Serious About His Comedy
James Brennan launched into a joke about his mental disability as soon as he took the stage at "Make Me Laugh Mondays" at the Dyer Street Bar.

Thousands Participate in March for Respect through Dallas' West End
They weren't raising money. They weren't running a race. Thousands of people participating in a 1.5-mile walk through Dallas' West End on Saturday wanted just one thing.

Homeless to Move into 245 Apartments at Seven Dallas-Area Complexes
The Dallas Housing Authority announced plans Tuesday to provide 245 homes for the homeless - including at least 150 to families with children - at seven area apartment complexes.

Possible Texas Mental Health Cuts Raise Concern after Arizona Shooting
Texas already ranks 49th in the nation in spending on mental health care and now faces steep cuts because of a budget shortfall of up to $27 billion.

New Face of Homelessness is a Family, Dallas-Area Agencies Say
First, they stayed with family. Then, they rented a trailer. Finally, they went to a shelter.

Elizabeth Smart a Keynote Speaker
Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped in 2002 and missing for nine months, was in Dallas on Monday to tell law enforcement workers about her "sojourn into hell" and urge investigators to never give up on finding a missing child.

Dallas County Teens are Seeking Heroin Treatment at Steady Pace
The number of local teens seeking treatment for heroin addiction remains high three years after a series of fatal overdoses from a mixture of heroin and sleep aids, according to a new report released by the Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

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