If you drove by The Bridge, you might think it was a modern office complex or possibly loft apartments. You first guess probably wouldn't be that this modern building is a one of a kind, homeless assistance campus.
Some might argue that "homeless assistance campus" is a fancy word for shelter. I would argue that you probably don't know much about the Bridge. Built in 1988, The Bridge is a non-profit facility run by the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance. A combined effort of numerous charities and government agencies, The Bridge's goal is to end chronic homelessness in Dallas by 2014. I now believe it's a doable goal.
The Bridge is a warm, clean and safe place where the homeless can wash clothes, take a shower, get a meal, get mail, get counseling for drug or alcohol addiction, visit a clinic, get help from a mental health professional, search for a job, store their possessions or visit with the Veterans Administration, the Social Security office, or Legal Aid. A homeless assistance campus. Guest (as they are referred to by The Bridge staff) are treated with respect and compassion.
Yesterday, I spent the night at The Bridge. I was a guest on the men's transitional housing floor.
|A cubicle on the transitional floor at The Bridge|
My small cubicle included a cot, a locker and a chair. Despite it's spartan setting, the transitional housing floor is warm, safe and clean. Three precious commodities for men and women who were living on the street a few months ago. To move up to this floor is a privilege and the guests who live their must also work at The Bridge to pay the rent.
I've come to know quite a few of those who live there, as we are training together for a 5K run this Saturday. If you met my new friends, especially when they are in their top notch donated running gear, you'd think they were just another runner enjoying the city park. I know them as Freddie, Steve, Melvin, Kenneth, Sonja and Raymond. I know where they've come from.
I know how hard they've worked to get where they are now. And I'm confident they will take that last step across The Bridge. Their goal is to join the 89% of those who have moved from The Bridge into permanent housing and are still there 2 years later.
I believe it is a doable goal.
Join us Saturday for our 5K Run or 2 Mile Walk to Help the Homeless
Find out more about The Bridge