WWL>Topics>>7-24-14 1:10pm Angela: on homelessness in New Orleans

7-24-14 1:10pm Angela: on homelessness in New Orleans

Jul 24, 2014|

Angela talks with David Bottner of New Orleans Mission about homelessness in the city.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

I knew that sun was gonna come out I hope you're having a wonderful Thursday. I think we have three very interesting hours ahead I know I I can't wait to talk to. First of all David Buckner who runs the New Orleans mission because we're going to be talking about. His great insight into what's happening. With the tents that are popping up under the expressway. With the ever aggressive panhandling we're seeing. And he is very thoughtful about -- I'm looking forward to what he has to say. In our second hour kind of mind blowing things. We have representatives of the military. The guys who -- the recruiters. Because of a report that came out by the Pentagon. That said 71%. 71%. Of young people. Would not be eligible to get into the military. For all kinds of reasons and so we're gonna talk to the experts about what's going on and what can be done to fix that. And then our last program. Really looking forward to. I think we always hear about battered women and domestic violence and the horrors of that. And thank heaven we do now discuss it is there were days when we didn't. And we have some incredible groups that are helping and so many wonderful women's groups in particular. But it's just come to mind a young man's come up with a project. Of why aren't men. Who are very much against this kind of violence where is their voice. And so he is putting together a program that's going to engage in man who really believe that this is such a wrong thing. And perhaps their voice -- influenced those who continued to batter and bruise. So that's our third -- But we began -- us as we said we see the tents under the expressway again. And we've seen an ever growing number of panhandlers. As high traffic intersections. Downtown and elsewhere. We know the city of New Orleans is making headway with the homeless with a great numbers since Katrina now in apartments. Thanks to the efforts of -- But the tents have returned. And the panhandlers have multiplied. What are the answers. Our guest today believes he has son. David Buckner is the executive director of the New Orleans -- And I'm so happy to meet you at last. I do remember is we were talking that just two years ago he took over the nation. -- been around for so many decades in -- Doing wonderful work hit sort of a bad financial time and like an Angel you walked -- And that'll do this. Very year. That's correct first Angela thanks for having on the Chicago I'm so grateful to be here. And it is right in important -- it's time to continue. You work hard. The city in many organizations that made great strides. It's very easy to rest on what you've done in continue to be assertive and aggressive and pro active in moving full. And that is the word proactive. You know. You wrote a beautiful. Sort of the state of the situation say the union address on homelessness and I read that and that is what has prompted. This discussion. But you acknowledged that the there was a rebirth. Sort of of the swell. Of the -- under the expressway. And the growing number of panhandlers. And and frankly more aggressive panhandlers. You don't think necessarily that the growing number of homeless and the onslaught of the panhandlers are one in the same. No I actually do for you do I do feel that the increase in panhandling. Is because there is then over the course of the past ninety days. A lot of men and women that are actually coming from outside. Of our city. They're they're coming in on buses with the jewelry name of a job or the lower. The environment that the city has to offer because there's a lot of fund for -- certain types of behavior. And said this city really promotes that and that's right now what we're seeing and obviously when those men and or women com. And they don't get the job that they hoped for they turned to the corners. And the streets to aggressively pursue. Income to meet their -- OK I guess where I was confused was. I think we have all seen that the person Jewish home steps holding the card up you know I'm homeless. I thought I interpreted that what you were -- some of those people are not home I know that's also correct says that there's there's that double. On is that kind of a double edged sword. Many of those homeless. That were once homeless. Are in apartments. -- the behaviors now averaging just. Skis week even though we fixed what this city with C is an -- We've not fixed the heart. And show men. Indoor women will go back to meet the financial needs that they steal half. And they'll do that on street corners and that's just a reality. That it's like you and I go to a job they go back to what they're familiar. OK so that is that is -- so segment of what you're seeing. Are we also singing even people who. Are not homeless and never have been homeless but are standing there and that is their form of the money. I think that there could be some of that Angela but we see. Predominantly. The first hit okay that's what we engage predominantly. Okay you're saying that you know under the expressway. Which you know so much about yes. -- had cleaned out and that was things progress was happening and now they're coming back. You're saying that the majority are from out of town we invite them in a sense because of our environments and the wonderful city -- arm yes. But they don't want to get the same help that has been offered others. They're content to be underneath that expressway. Unfortunately. That is the case there's a segment there's about 13. Of the population may be 50%. Debt are chronically homeless that it gives Ben -- for a very long time. But then there's another half. Which are kinda closer to. Saint Charles and then right at the exit of loyal. They've kind of warmed three little cliques. So to speak those that are from Chinatown. Those that are from here. And again others from out of town and there's even animosity. Amongst. The three. Organizations. As you a copy may not communities yes and and their like. You're on my turf. Very much so that it that's a very dangerous thing because somebody will have fear. Perceived corner kind of like their grocery store misses my spot. And our war this spot -- we've had some abuse cases where people have come to the nation physically abused. Because they tried to take someone's spot and so for us what we do. We go out and do outreach. Team than men under the bridge and women three times a week. Do you really try to talk about these issues that that you're voicing that saying hey guys this is a reality. People are talking about this. We need help you even if the -- not a place isn't there are places all over this hunch for. That will help -- and meet the needs that you have. And so that's what we did and many of them maybe they may not hear it the first time but what happens is we see just with back consistency. That we're able to win some but not at all. And I really feel if we can be more consistent with it it be better but we just don't have the manpower yet to do. More please stay with us everyone this is a very interesting conversation. And one that we need to continually have and I think that David Wagner has some thoughts on. Things that we as individuals can do. Like not to give them money. Stay with this financial under the -- well. Our guest today is David Wagner who is the executive director of the New Orleans mission. Who -- recently wrote something that was just very. On target about. Sort of the the regrouping of the -- under the expressway. The continuation of the panhandling. When so much effort has gone into and success has gone into finding homes. And and getting services available to homeless and yet you say in the last ninety days or so we have an influx of people from out of town. Who for whatever reasons find comfortable here now let's talk about why you think it has. -- under the expressway. Who's giving them the tents. I don't know where that -- specifically. Are coming from the organizations. But I would imagine. It's from people that really. Think they they are doing. That individual a service. That their offering them a protected environments. When in reality. That may be the case for that day. But in for the long run you're actually doing more damage. To that individual. And you are good. So not that that's just what one of the things I just encourage. People stopped -- And in essence what you -- saying is. Don't give them a dollar deal to bring them food don't. Make their livelihood under that expressway comfortable because then there's no motivation. To go to the places that actually have. Incredible services right in and I wanna make sure that I'm clear because this is one of those things where you -- -- don't give them food. Not when there is food available we are not talking. About it a a number of people cannot be served not just that the New Orleans mission but it some organization. If they say -- like that kneels at the nation. Which would be very difficult it for me to believe as we have red beans and rice they. Big chicken sometimes we get wonderful states. And and we have a diabetic menu to available so they not only get nourishment at the mission but their other great organization there so. You're really not only wasting. You -- -- sources. You prohibit. Other organizations. From being able to breathe hope and life. Into the individual and call them out because god didn't create us to live. Under a bridge with no future. And no -- in mind as our -- So we need to get the organization's. That can provide and the hole and destiny. That they need in their life and it can't under the bridge with a meal. She just keeps us status quo we wouldn't do that to our own children. If my son or daughter was living under a bridge I would not go one and make them comfortable under there. That is somebody's daughter that is somebody's on that is somebody's mother. That is some responders so let's not look at just the immediate need let's look at how we perpetuate change. And you do that by being pro active. You know I'm posting in the commercial. When I was working on this the night before last year this particular segment. I was reading everything you wrote I was reeling. Not impacted by it has made tremendous sense it was a direction. And that night I feed cats at ferry landing every 9 at 10 o'clock at night I go every night at 10 o'clock and feed them. And this man walked up to me very unusual for anybody to be there. He was homeless he was polite he -- -- feed the cats inside feed the cats he says well could -- ask you for something that. Knew it was coming. And I sent him sir. There is a great organization is called the mission. And they have wonderful food and they have great food you can take a shower there that -- services and again it help you get a job if that's the case they will help you. He didn't wanna hear him. He's wanted money. And so I thought -- words about. Helping them with change how do you do. Consistency. In in other words that's for us because that's my job my job. Is to step in for the community. And be consistent. Going out and meeting every one of those homeless people that you're seeing on the street they're getting net. By the New Orleans mission three times a week we're going and talking to them. And sometimes we will bring them a sandwich if they're and one economy and and we'll sit down right there with them. Finish up that -- throw it away and say now what's next. What what do we do next. Because tomorrow again you're gonna be hungry. They also you know we talked about it in one and in between one of the segments. If you feed someone a meal they have diabetes they have other ailments that they're not taking care of and they're just masking their pain whether it's with drugs or alcohol under the bridge and they're not dealing with the issue of late -- Or their eyesight. Which the mission offers them help where. Now Europe again perpetuating. A bigger problem because within months they end up in our. Hospitals. In the emergency rooms and the bill goes up. So the reality is that dollar and we gave them. Will show counterproductive. And in it we don't she. We have to begin to again look past today. And I think that's a tough thing in America we just look at today. Let's look past today. How we help this person. Six months from now how are we up on the year from now. Many of them need education. Literacy vocational. Then mission offers all of that. Not just the mission. Other or wanted to organist aren't tons and that's why this is bigger Angela and just meek and the New Orleans mission. Don't like the mission support another organization -- doing great work. You know you. It kind of hit the nail on the head in a way even though well meaning people while you know I feel sorry Foreman standing -- looking at them. Even though he may go drink and I here's a dollar appears to adopt a whatever it is or something as overt as I'm hungry now -- simulate that. But we are enabling us because if there weren't supports services like commission and other groups. Then that's another story but it's out there. And that's -- percent yes. And yet and so. Maybe the consistency at the general public myself included needs to hear it is just the person under the bridge who needs the consistency of you talking to on. It's we as a community. But we also have the problem of what do we gonna do with the existing people there now yes and and what you know have you talked to the city. Yes I am and I think that plane and Angela is what we did for the Super Bowl. He's a wonderful place. A bunch of organizations. That help the homeless. Got together we met for weeks prior to. On end that. In that meeting led to a great outreach. With stations set up at different specific locations the mission was one of the primary once. And we all hook men and women and women with children off the streets that day. And based remain off the streets for close to three weeks. And so what happens then is. There in our -- there there in our system. They're getting well there are beginning what we call phase one where they've just now -- with its they're becoming should be were actually holes. But they haven't moved yet into emotional -- and it moved into intellectual intellectual almost and they haven't physically. Gotten -- so we update get them to these other phases of what we call our ministry. We're only just getting to that just that ship where we're beginning to break the habit and then that first bid goes back out there. Under the bridge. And then that guy has a really bad day he's in our program. And his buddy comes in that night that maybe he's not in our program but he just needs shelter and we have two point one day's regular shelter or a one year program -- is best for you. But his buddy comes in who doesn't want any part of the one year change. NEC's the beds are gone back out under the branch. That is a battle. That physically I can't win. And and show unless we get him far enough along. Where that doesn't seem like a really good idea anymore. And that takes time. Because if I've been under their for a long time. Then that some of the rules that I have to wake up at 6 in the morning and be out. Did that doesn't sound too good for me you know. But as I begin to change and she changed my patterns and change my eating habits changed my sleep habits. And it doesn't become. A good -- -- a -- under -- yeah that do you begin to say that is what was acting. For being an. Over talking about just hope everyone stay with this -- take a break for the news but don't we will be back talking about. Solutions. To all those -- under the bridge stay with this financial -- -- WL. We are back talking with David Butler who is executive director of the New Orleans mission. Without a wonderful guy holding Ed Lewis. And. Good afternoon. We want to do in great. Mr. -- flawed genes are on your efforts. And I wish you -- hope in continued success. I have -- question for you. Where the Ryder brother where an organization that has put together. A homeless veteran Bill Archer. And I always wondered in your contract so they treat arms that we basis. How many veterans are common source data or. All into a chat -- -- under the bridges limited being in the chair authority homeless. It is one out of every ten that are running into -- even at the mission right now Ed we have. Probably about fifteen to -- homeless veterans. More bad -- one -- -- projects are have spoken with the essential about what we're going. I'm hoping to created network. And I'm sure that this is something you can probably. Help us any idea soon. Reach out to the other organizations that are making contact. With -- don't homeless people and helping. -- downside to homeless veterans and now wait. Our project transitions well we're -- -- it's not an eight. Soccer chant that -- how to pitch -- -- on the weather. It is a transitional that we bring them into our locations much worse out. In medical attention. We've got a temporary marching on this site. We have the availability. Provided them in October -- it. Now don't get that financial supports. To where they can answer. -- productive society. True. Racial composition. O Li NA. Permanent place so all assistance for -- Cole. Who work -- had to help them to continue our corps. And -- would like very much -- just a first mortgage you know. I'd like to find -- way to get a copy. You're you're. You're steady or. You know what you -- need to meet -- They really do and I think if you yeah it's it's wonderful. The plan you had in place and I think it would be very -- grew into what I would recommend is. Is -- office and let's just at the meeting and to contacting anyone can contact me at 5232116. Which is the mission phone number. Contact -- there will be more than happy to sit and talk to anyone. About programs that they would have connected better serve the community that we have. Is that -- it's all about networking we don't need more we just need to make better use of the ones that we have often. And -- -- -- glory year read you that there're so many positive programs. That are out there but instead of blood -- its. Lets you know like -- -- we created work it would be to the benefit. Of not just that. We're. Target. But a consensus. All that followed to this category. And let people elected groups and organizations work together to -- one treatment short so now that -- -- And you've got that number 5232116. And there and you all need to have coffee one -- and I got the I don't know thinking that line. Thanks again and we kept it in the break. I just want to reaffirm what you -- saying that. If you say instead of reacting. All paid their answer back and to react we need to always be ahead. And one of the things is we need to we have to clean out under the bridge again we need to get them in programs that exist. And many willing groups. And then have a program where the first time the first -- goes down the police take it right and so there's never a progression. You know 88 -- blows my mind sometimes. Because if I want my son or daughter to change of behavior. And I say my wife always does -- -- on the cell phone -- right. Within minutes they are eating on the -- for you go take the bowl and you put it back on -- counter and that's how you teach your kids to have a different path. You don't let him eat the meal and say don't ever do that again on the sofa Yugo when you stopped them in the behavior. So it's a week it would can understand it with children and I hate to say sometimes. When we Forbes so many bad habits. We're creatures and how would they will go back so we've got to be we know what's gonna happen. What's the plan the first bad hits not six the bad. When the first bad or the first ten goes up. We handle it right -- -- We don't allow you to stay under average we've got amazing. Resource us. And you end and we would go out there and be at that initial bed laying down to say that we can say hey come on in the mission I don't want your services. Ari then let's find one the mission would facilitate. Where do you wanna go we do that all the time now Angela we say once I certainly doesn't at all. We wanna get you the right place out bust people out to LA. For a better environment we've bused them to Phoenix we've bused them to. Florida who knew very amazing organizations because. There's so many intricate needs a pretty young lady that was rate seven times where father and our facility. So we felt. There was a better place for her so we did we buster. To. Phoenix to -- into another facility that's just what we do. So we we we are not trying to be active of the homeless one -- facility change. In the community in the lives of. All of them stay with this every one -- gonna continue on talking to David -- about some very specific ideas he has. About the mission Kansas City right after this. David -- executive director of the New -- mission were talking about. We're talking about the bigger issue of homelessness but we're also talking about the proliferation of the tents under the expressway. And and more and more panhandlers. And your thought is is that ultimately the same thing will be done was done for the Super Bowl where all the groups come together. And and encourage all these people to move out clean out underneath there hopefully. These people will stay in the various programs and get them help that is out there the much needed help that's out there. And if they in fact some stragglers go back then it must be law enforcement that thing. This is against the rules. He can't have the -- That's correct that's that's where you have -- handle it and -- it again it just like we -- in between he doesn't have to be complicated. It's it's -- it's. Area that's probably would keep you from one end to the other by foot. You could walk and do with the -- in an hour or by car. You could drive through. And it might take thirty minutes to an hour but it would just be once a day consistency. Peaking. Folks and saying not picking up put him in a car and arresting picking them up and saying you can't be here. And -- call the mission call one of the organizations. To come out there saying hey we're gonna police right now. And they just call our our our help desk. And we'll have someone go out there -- under go right to the gentlemen it's under there facilitate -- change it once today. It's just like -- a regular routine patrol. Played -- back consistency. They stop to all no matter the they're gonna see the bridge if nobody's player. They're not gonna go this year but if there's a community. They say this is a safe place for me to go. And says that's why you see that growing population. Because we've we've we've said without saying it with words that it's okay. Court. And I think some in the Davison commercials are very important this is about the homeless but it's also about. That the people who live nearby it's about the businesses to -- nearby. It's about all of us. And we just have to be very firm and very strong. People don't want to see homeless hurt they don't want to see them thrown in jail but at some point something has to be done. Well that's stated the the net the confusion comes when people think. That when someone has a consequence that that doesn't mean that means you don't love them. I think. When you don't when you don't have consequences. That's when you don't love them. I love my kids so much that I want them to change. And so when they misbehave when they're doing things wrong I absolutely. Encourage change and -- won't tolerate. Them to just be completely rebellious. That's not a benefit for them long term. Said the same thing has to happen. If we want a facility change in the lives of any -- there has to be you can't do this and it's. Commitment -- And it's it it again it doesn't have to be complicated. -- we said it during the break. All it takes is someone to pull off that Leo -- exit. And their coming in town for a potential convention. And you lose out on Mac convention because they say I'm not bringing my convention here -- that just cost the city and this area. Businesses potentially millions of dollars. Said the money sometimes that we give to individuals that we gave to the organizations. Or we would actually be. Helping our businesses. And sometimes I think that's we are so focused on the need that in front of us. Again we miss what are we missing out on long term. And we do it in say well that gentlemen that is not very loving. I I loved every one of them and that's the thing is that when I see them under the bridge. I know they have made an amazing purpose that I created them for. He is so much about how UN so let's draw the value how. And that's it some -- some are very. Rehabilitate a -- and can get on track and can be productive and there are some with severe mental issues that would not be able to. You know what and I know that we see that can -- you -- Angela. We have a amazing relationship. With -- bears mental health facility. We have taken probably close to a hundred people out of the fifth floor psychiatric. Unit. And help them to get into different. Facilities. Around the country and even locally. We had people -- -- it came to the mission that popular bird. And two weeks later just because we valued them and love them. In their mind they completely snapped out of it. And came to and we believe that that is through the power of god because we love them and we encourage that. However that's the reality succinct sometimes we just dismiss it -- when they're mentally you know. And we -- just put them somewhere and -- say hey maybe that is the option. But let's pursue. Other options first. And exhaust that before we just completely dismiss him and say well this person has no value. There's no created value in them. Let's look for what the creative value is let's speak life and to them let's encourage who they were created to be and let's see what happens. Because very rarely. Have we gotten someone from one of those facilities. And waste and we were unable to. Help them even at the mission. Or send him -- us we never had to send them back. And and -- that people can call shop -- meant to how strong -- to confirm this to be factual. They're not seeing them back these are patients that were homeless going in depressed they can try to commit suicide. And now they're functioning in. That's amazing that this amazing and that is amazing and at least. Don't misunderstand me I have nothing but. Respect for people who have mental illness sugar and I do think that there are your organization and others that are doing pretty incredible things. Trying to have the best like secondhand. And and that's really what it's about and have the systems in place that can help them it is I've just heard over the years that there are. Some homeless people just don't wanna live by rules and you have rules other groups have rules and that's where the rubber meets the road. Boy you -- that that is where the rubber meets the road is there are rules there are rules that govern us when we drive. There are rules that say you can't cross the street when no. And they protect us. So those same rules that we have -- the nation. They are to serve the whole. In other words there are 981. Men in women at the nation. They are working towards a new life. So even know we serve 250 people nightly. There's 91 of them that are working in our vocational program there in ged classes they're getting life skills. They're getting financial literacy there in small groups. And their talking through their problems. We're getting some healing for those of life hurts from physical sexual emotional abuse all of that's happening. So to work around. Those particular services we have to ask people to leave. At 7 o'clock in the morning. And that's where a big help for us would be if somebody stepped up in the -- today. I'll help you build a day -- that is a major. Would be a major asset -- -- working towards while working with some architecture right now says that men and women didn't need to leave. In the morning. That if they didn't want are services where they want to change it would still be a safe environment that wasn't under the average. So we are looking for alternatives. Right continue to help to change. You know and I gotta remember the days of -- Build the forty years ago did a story on battered women and day. The only place was a Salvation Army women's division they would go win at night with their children and have they sit on a bus stop. Because it was a business and what you're saying if you had the space of the day room. And those wouldn't be under the bridge they would have things to do in that. They were everything that we would then have the services where people could -- promote change. But then let's just say you were ready for change you were content. With what your lifestyle looked like that's fine. It's still not okay -- go under the bridge. We wanna have a safe environments for you where you can use the rash from you facilities still gate clean clothing still take showers. Play games watch TV healthy. I can't thank you enough David -- with the new -- mission we will stay in touch thanking -- means a lot thank you stay with the show everyone will be back in a moment.