Friday, April 4, 2008

MHMR of Tarrant County - What are they doing exactly?

OK, so I go the CB Sports over off E. Lancaster (just east of Riverside) to drop off some shirts for embroidery. When I get out of my car. I see this woman (looks like a man in one of the pics, but she's a really "pretty" female, believe or not) sitting at the next business doorstep sort of in a fetal position with her shirt pulled over her knees. The next day my friend, who owns a business nearby, calls and says that there is this woman hanging around who obviously is mentally ill, what should she do. I say, call The Paradise Center (South Jennings - blue awning) or Lynne ( or the police but they won't do anything unless she is in "emminent harm to herself or others."

Long story short, this afternoon I went over to where the woman was laying and asked if she was ok, she said "I'm alright." She got up and walked away. I called the police, spoke with the officer for about 15 mintues picking his brain for how to improve the system and help these people. After the officer left, I sat there in my car watching this lady peek around the corner of the fence to see if I was waiting in my car. Finally I decided to move the car, a little so that she would come back to the church parking lot and I could have a better chance of "engaging" (buzzword buzzword) her in conversation. She proceeded to walk back to her church doorstep home and few belongings. I rolled down my window and said, "What are you doing out here sleeping on doorsteps, are you alright?" She replied, "I'm alright." We went back and forth from opposite sides of the street for a minute or two. She was actually sort of fun to talk to. She said she was wealthy. When I asked who she was talking to when she wasn't talking to me, she said she wasn't talking, she was singing. After a while, I asked if there was anything I could get her, or do for her. She said get her some food. She wanted fries, hamburger and soda. I went down to the local hamburger joint and got her just that, brought it back, parked, to see if she would come over to the car. She did. I looked straight in her eye and asked, "Why are you living on the streets, I worry about people like you?" She said, "Bless your soul. I'll be alright."
I told her that my friend owned a business around here and to please let us know if she needed anything. She said she lived at the Salvation Army and had been here since Christmas.

My point is:

1. What is MHMR of Tarrant County doing for people like this woman?
2. How much money does MHMR take in for helping the mentally ill in Tarrant County?
3. Where is the money going?
4. Is it true that the CEO of MHMR of Tarrant County makes $300K per year in salary?
5. If so, why? What is it exactly that the CEO is doing for MHMR?
6. Why is Mayor Moncrief and Otis Thronton so focused on "Affordable Housing?"
7. Why is money for social health mental/emotional/psychological services always last on the list for which to spend money on?
8. Why is housing always first? It's easier to get and build, that's why.

Yes, along with this story we called MHMR hotlines, etc. There is no real help.

The solution? HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE! In other words, for this piece of free bread, you have to go talk to this lady right over here in the next room, you have to watch a video, you have to do something....nothing is really "free." We have to find a way to "engage" these lost souls in conversation, even if it's two or three words, and show them that someone DOES care and that their life is worth having, living, caring for and taking care of. That's the bottom line and it's expensive, up front, but pays off in the L O N G R U N . Otis Thornton, (CFW Homeless Coordinator) has to get off the "affordable housing" (walls) fix, and put our taxdollars in social/mental/emotional health services! Which is expensive and more "in depth," more of an "investment." Pay social workers/counselors close to top end pay, open Central Resource Facility where ALL SERVICES that homeless & mentally ill need!! Hold people accountable, even if it's say something before getting a hand out. For this is HOW you BUILD SELF RESPECT AND WORTH in people who have NONE!!! Hello, am I reaching your brains Mayor Moncrief, Otis Thornton and all of you people who don't have any "contact" with the homeless and persistently and severely Mentally Ill "folks" (buzzword buzzword) in our great City of Fort Worth? We MUST "invest" in mental health services and emotional r-e-h-a-b-i-l-i-t-a-t-i-o-n. Otherwise your homeless bill will go up every single year from now till eternity.
No overbearing caseloads!! MHMR pays too much at the top and not enough at the "street level!"

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