Leon Reyes, who’s an artist, father, and pastor from Southlake, is going homeless for 30 days in downtown Dallas. He wants to do this so he can walk a mile in homeless people’s shoes so he can better understand what they’re going through.
I have several issues about this approach. (Full disclosure: I’m going to go spend the night at the Dallas LIFE shelter next month. I’m not going to ask strangers for food, or pretend that I’m homeless. I’m going as part of a homework assignment for our leadership group, D Academy.)
My issues: 1. At the end of the day, Reyes knows he has a family and home that he’ll be returning to in 30 days. 2. There is absolutely no way he can truly understand what these homeless people are going through or the conditions that got them to where they are. 3. (This may be the most important.) I have issues with how Reyes and his family view downtown Dallas. On the website created to follow Reyes through the process, his wife wrote: “A Note About Safety: the streets of downtown Dallas are no joke..they can be dangerous at times, and if you decide to go downtown to find Leon, be smart when deciding what time (we recommend between 12pm-5pm) and also realize you are doing this at your own risk.”
Yes. Because between 5:01 p.m. and 11:59 a.m., those downtown Dallas streets just get plain mean, especially in November, with Dallas City Lights lighting up a huge Christmas tree and kids crawling in and out of tunnels at Neiman Marcus.