On any given day, you can find a small group of volunteers walking the shadows of Interstate 30 visiting with the city’s homeless.
They are part of the non-profit The Human Impact and their main purpose is to form friendships.
“We don’t have an office. We don’t offer services or programs. We don’t disperse materials," volunteer Elissa Romines said. "We offer ourselves.”
During the past three years, this small team of volunteers has immersed themselves in the homeless community of South Dallas.
“As we get to know people and form friendships, we meet practical needs,” said founder Elisabeth Jordan. “We help people when they’re ready to get off the streets.”
The group works to build trust one on one and provide a support system for those wanting a better life. They have helped take people to the doctor, find city services and ultimately helped them into rehab or find housing.
On the day NBC5 followed the group, they brought a cake to celebrate their friend Felton’s birthday.
“I know that they are going to have something positive to say,” said Felton. “It keeps you going. It really keeps you going.”
Their work is growing. Shelters are full this summer and frustrations are growing after the city recently cleared out two homeless encampments.
“We’re really missing the big picture. Dallas is not getting it,” Romines said. “Homelessness isn’t actually a problem to be solved. It’s a number of issues going on. It’s drugs, it’s organized crime, it’s prostitution, it’s violence, it’s abuse, it’s people.”
Volunteers believe if you want to address the big issues you need to start small and invest in people.
“Even if you never get it together – and we want you to and we want more life for you and we want something different for you – but we want you to know more than anything that you have dignity and you have value and that your life matters," Jordan said.