‘Health to Home' Pilot Program Aims to End Cycle of Homelessness

'Health to Home' is a 24-month pilot program with Texas Health, Austin Street Center, and CitySquare

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As Dallas County experiences a record number of people living on the streets, the 'Health to Home' 24-month pilot program is aimed at ending the cycle of homelessness for some.

"It is truly human of us to stop and to see when someone is hurting," Tikisa Jackson said.

Jackson is the Director of Community Health at CitySquare in Dallas, which is partnering with Texas Health and Austin Street Center to help sick and injured people experiencing homelessness get back on their feet through 'Health to Home'.

"We know that it's really challenging to be able to recover on the streets after a surgery or illness," Jackson said. "And so ultimately, we're breaking the cycle of homelessness because they're not going to go back to the streets."

Those in the program go to respite care under the supervision of a doctor, nurse, and case worker. The next step is temporary housing to help them get back on their feet.

"My survivability would have been zero," Jason Mentzel said. "Once you start getting in that kind of a hole, it's so hard to dig your way out of it."

Mentzel was out of a job with no place to live when he got into a car accident and seriously injured his leg. Through 'Health to Home', Mentzel got medical care and is now in his own apartment near Love Field, looking to the future.

"There's not really a lot of words to describe," Mentzel said. "It's a relief, happiness, just you can finally take a breath."

When you don't have your health or a place to call home, it's hard to put anything else into place.

"There's a lot of people, whether they realize it or not, are two or three paychecks away from that happening themselves," Mentzel said. "It can all be taken away so quickly."

Mentzel's apartment has a desk filled with art supplies and books of his drawings and poems. He hopes to get back to working on his creative passions, get a job, and eventually a move to permanent place of his own.

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