Downtown Dallas Streets Are Scary

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.


  • Tom

    So, what happens between 8 a.m. and noon? Is that when the zombies report for work?

  • downtown_worker

    Funny, I feel much safer walking through downtown at night than I do anywhere in Uptown, Oak Lawn, most of East Dallas and probably Southlake.

  • Christine Rogers

    Depending on what good comes out of it, it’s not a bad idea, but I am struck by these conflicting things:

    “During the month of November, he will be away from his family and friends, in full isolation from all that he knows, just so he can better understand what truly happens on the streets of the inner-city.” VS. “How can I keep up with Leon? I–Leon’s wife, Lauren–will be keeping a blog, updating Twitter, maintaining a Facebook page, and will keep all our concerned family, friends, and others updated on the preparation, execution, aftermath, and beyond of Leon’s Homeless Challenge.” Isolation from all he knows and social media updates are at odds with each other.

  • Katy

    I’ve always felt sort of ambivalent about the homeless simulation experiences people embark upon to “understand” what it’s like to be homeless. I figure if a homeless person met me during such an experience and discerned what I was doing, that person would likely say, “OK, well, if you’re not sleeping at home in your bed, is it OK for me to borrow your place so I can take a shower, eat a hot meal, watch some TV and go to sleep in peace and safety?” I feel they’d tell me to go home, that I can’t understand what it’s like because I have a home to go to. It seems these homeless simulations make a mockery of the real struggle our homeless population deals with every day. And furthermore, many folks in Dallas are homeless not JUST because they don’t have a place to go but also because of more serious issues like mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction.

  • Albert

    He needs to sniff a lot of glue, get some skin diseases, spend a little time in lock-up and drink really cheap booze – then he’ll get the full effect.

  • Raya Ramsey

    That’s offensive. And a little ridiculous. Is the “the streets of downtown Dallas are no joke” bit meant for added drama to hook followers? Because anyone that lives/works/plays downtown knows that’s dramatic. I’m with downtown_worker. I often feel safer downtown than in Uptown.

  • Maria Munoz-Blanco

    As someone who works downtown, many times waaaay past 5:01 p.m, I feel perfectly safe leaving my office late in the day and walking around, either to my parking spot or to have dinner before heading home. The Southlake folks should come by around 7 pm when it seems that half of the residents of downtown are walking their dogs. So to Mrs. Reyes and her blog readers, here’s my note about downtown: Welcome to a lively, ever-changing urban environment where people from all walks of life live, work and play. We don’t have many fake facades and you may have to walk from your parking spot to your destination, but this is how real downtowns work.

  • Jim

    Great post, Krista!

  • Daniel

    One of the great benefits of being a city-dweller is getting the opportunity to sneer at scaredy-pants suburban hayseeds. Thank you, Leon Reyes for — BOO! scaredjadinnit — making my day, or at least my 10-minute break. BOO! Ha ha! Never gets old!

  • Dan “The Man” Levitan

    You all are talking about two very different downtowns: Main St and generally N to Woodall, and then most parts south. This guy (whether you like his “mission” or not) will be by the Bridge. It sucks there. Of course the D Mag-ers feel safe when the only area they venture to is “Dallas City Lights lighting up a huge Christmas tree and kids crawling in and out of tunnels at Neiman Marcus.” Raya & Krista, please drop by the Bridge area Friday at 9 PM and ask for “Leon.” Or better yet, ask for directions to Neimans.

  • Jamie

    The only reason I can think of to go between 12:00 and 5:00 would be in case the visitors got hungry, because most downtown Dallas restaurants are unaware that people actually live there and might like to eat outside of times when people are at work (*gasp*). As a downtown resident (living across from Neiman Marcus, not exactly the inner city), I find that endlessly frustrating. How many more apartments will they have to build before they put in things that stay open?

    That being said, this man’s approach is, quite frankly, an insult to homeless people. He’s turning it into a publicity stunt to show everyone how magnanimous he is, while being completely ignorant to the fact that he’s making a mockery of numerous people’s struggle.

    And further more, if you are supposedly cut off from family and friends, how does that imply that you’re accepting visitors? And if you aren’t talking to anyone, how is your wife getting fodder for all the self-promoting social media updates? Way to bastardize your endeavor even further.

  • Uppercase Matt

    I love the patronizing irony of a twenty-something writer for a society magazine saying that the guy who is actually going to try the homeless “experience” won’t know what homelessness is really like. He probably won’t, but he’ll know better than you, princess.

  • David

    As per-usual, Krista sounds like an arrogant and entitled D-Mag writer expatiating sardonic personal criticism rather than support. I’m sure your one-night homework assignment D-Academy bullsh*t nonsense will be equal to that of a man trying to better understand the homeless community in Dallas by spending 30 days on the streets. Seriously what is your deal? It’d be great to see you support someone in their efforts like this rather than try to damage them with your own silly and self-entitled opinions, but that’s what you all do best.

  • Daniel

    Dan the Man makes a good point. While I stand by my assertion that I am superior to Leon Reyes, and that he and his wife were put on this Earth to be convenient figures of fun for us city-dwellers, and in particular, me, Daniel D. Daniels, the area south of Young Street and between City Hall and the Farmers Market is a different downtown. It’s desperate men spittin’ in the broken glass. It is, quite bluntly, Dallas’ skid row. But at least there’s no dog crap on the sidewalk.

  • David H. Wilson Building Resident

    The focus of this really isn’t the homeless. I generally don’t have complaints with someone trying to gain an experience. (Though, if you read the article he apparently has had the experience already.) There are all kinds of awareness campaigns for nonprofits and social issues. Nothing new.

    The issue is the safety perception of Downtown Dallas. No neighborhood is perfect or without some form of crime. But the area around the bridge is such a small part of the rest of downtown. When you have 6000+ residents in downtown it’s more than insulting to say “the streets of downtown Dallas are no joke..we recommend between 12pm-5pm.” In this case specificity would be nice. No one is saying that the area around the shelter and farmers market is phenomenal, but in no way is that area a sample representation of Downtown Dallas. It’s plenty safe here. Also, per his website he lists Sol Irlandes as a favorite restaurant. That’s downtown, he should know better.

    Let’s all f****** relax and raise the fact that he’s a Red Raider fan and lists Jason Mraz under favorite music.

  • Great post!

    Remember that panhandling is illegal in the Central Business District of Downtown Dallas ( If anyone sees Leon panhandling, make sure to call 911 quick! Maybe he can also learn what it’s like to spend an evening in jail?

  • Hi, this is Leon, the guy that is going to the streets. I am sorry if this is offending you guys, but I can’t just throw my whole life away to become homeless forever, or panhandle to get an authentic experience and get thrown in jail. And on the same vein, I had to fight a battle to get a whole month off work, because I did feel like a day or a week would not give me as much exposure to the streets. I am just a person who likes to try and understand other people, and this is one way I will be able to at least attempt to do that. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them and I will try to answer before I leave.

  • Marisa

    Wow, I am completely at awe with the string of comments viewing this in such a negative way. I am disappointed in the lack of respect that is being shown to a man trying to make an impact. Sometimes we are called to so things that make us uncomfortable – and sometimes the chapters in our life may not make sense to the world. Luckily, for Leon, impressing the world or those within it is not his mission- bit following God’s will is.

    A few things. 1) I am sure the disclaimer came just as a simple and friendly reminder to be cautious of your surroundings. 2) Judging Leon or his decision to proceed with this based upon his taste in restaurants, music, or universities is ridiculous. 3) I think part of this challenge is to create a wider audience and higher involvement- people that may not typically seek out to help the homeless may have a heightened awareness, see the issue with new light, take it as a real issue rather than an ambiguous social issue that doesn’t involve them. 4) [most importantly] I believe the purpose of this project is more than for Leon to experience a taste of homelessness. Yes, that will occur to some degree. But more importantly, there are so many other outcomes that fulfill this purpose: others become more actively involved or aware of this important social issue, Leon’s family, friends, colleagues, etc. will have a new perspective on homelessness, and there is a great opportunity for this to lead into ministry- even if one person is impacted by this story, through Leon directly or indirectly, and asks/hears/learns/accepts the word of God, will that not be more than enough reason?

    A Texas Tech & Jason Mraz fan, a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, and a supporter of an ordinary man making this sacrifice to try and make a difference.

  • As someone who knows Leon personally, let me assure you that his motives are exactly as he states in the recently uploaded video. This is no publicity stunt, folks. It is simply an example of an incredibly talented and out-of-the-box thinker who is committed to the ideals he believes in – understanding and helping others. He has a passion for understanding and helping people in ALL kinds of situations – a strength that pervades and guides his work as a worship leader and youth pastor at the church we both serve. For any doubters who question his ability to truly experience utter hopelessness – you’re right, he knows that at the end of the 30 days he will have a loving family and multitudes of caring friends to return to. But what you’re missing is the fact that 30 days in solitude with no contact with those he loves the most – his wife and son – comes darn close to the same types of sacrifices and loss experienced by those less fortunate. He’s not claiming to be an expert after all this is said and done, but rather to put himself as much as possible in the shoes of those who have no hope in order to understand and ultimately relate to people in similar situations. Social media and the ease in which we can all share info and opinions is awesome – whether you agree or disagree with his challenge, at least it’s raised an awareness of the issue, which is part of what was intended all along.

  • Karl

    I’ve lived downtown for over ten years. It’s not dangerous. Oh, and if Leon wasn’t doing this as a publicity stunt, why all the publicity. Just go live on the streets for a month and talk about it later if you want. I should have quit reading at artist, father, pastor, but I didn’t. Glad to see his flock jumping in to talk about how great a guy he is. Guess what folks? Leon isn’t going to come up with any novel ideas on how to solve the homeless issue. Nobody will. At some point, we need to recognize we can’t solve every problem out there – with or without help from the Imaginery Friend.

  • Michelle

    It’s interesting how the comments and reaction to someone trying to make a difference in the world are such a reflection of both the positive and negative in our culture and community.

    Dallas is absolutely a beautiful, elegant, fabulous city. But to pretend there aren’t darker, unpleasant, and unsafe areas in the city isn’t realistic. To tear someone down for trying to raise awareness and learn how to help people stuck in those more unpleasant parts of town isn’t helping anyone.

    Yes, Leon has a home to come back to after the 30 days. But he’s not pretending to be homeless. He’s choosing to actually BE homeless for 30 days. He’s not going home at the end of each day to sleep in his own bed. He’ll be on the streets, in shelters, etc for a month. If someone becomes homeless and lives in their car for a week, then finds more permanent shelter, does that mean they were any less homeless because it was only for a week? No, it doesn’t.

    No, Leon is not burdened with many of the other problems that many homeless people struggle with… drugs, alcohol, illness, or other issues…But he CAN seek to learn (as much as possible) what it’s like to be homeless, and what people go through on the streets.

    It can also be said that NOT ALL HOMELESS people are burdened with those problems. Some people just go through hard times, and are willing to work to find a way out. What if Leon going homeless for 30 days helps him find ways to help those people? Should he give up on trying to make SOME difference, just because he can’t fix the entire problem? Of course not.

    One man, trying to learn how to make MORE of a difference in the world…

    What if we all ( myself included) climbed out of our comfort zones and poured our energy into trying to make a little more difference in our own worlds?

    What if all that energy being used for negativity was used to make a small difference somewhere instead?

    Wouldn’t that be something?

  • Chance

    Why I bother reading articles written by someone that has not taken the time to get any form of understanding before spewing out an opinion is beyond me. Of course, I’m sure we are all guilty. I think what Leon is doing is an adventure and will be an experience he’ll never forget. He’s doing something different, and all the naysayers may never get to experience something so rich as this. For those of you discrediting him because he won’t be high on glue, you are absurd and not worth commenting about. Then he takes the time to very politely apologize if he offended anyone, and you still have a problem with him. Some of you are terrible people, and ironically enough, I bet Leon prays for all of you haters.

  • Osbo

    As someone who is acquainted with Leon, who knows he came from a very difficult past and emerged with the heart of a lion and the loyalty of a Lab, who knows he has a wife who desires to support him in his every endeavor, sometimes at a cost to herself, to him I say carry on. No one knows the intentions of the man except the man himself so who am I to judge? How many of us have served one day in a soup kitchen and secretly applauded ourself for our selfless act? On the other hand, how many of us have actually done that one small thing? The point, to me anyway, is that there is a young twenty-something couple who have a heart to make a difference in the world and to them I say carry on. Because, lets face it, it’s not getting any better here or anywhere. Yet, we can still hope for the best and be a part of trying to bring it about. And, in a world where social media is used to relate the most banal and senseless information, let alone the evil and perverse, why not use it for good? In the end let it not be about the man Leon or his story, let it be about the men and women who hopefully will know there is someone who desires to enter their world and use whatever knowledge may be gleaned to affect their lives and others for the better. Godspeed Leon and Lauren. 

  • ErickaRhea

    The truth here is: everyone is entitled to their opinions. In fact, everyone here knows they’re entitled to said opinions, obviously. But that won’t change the fact that as Karl said, “Leon isn’t going to come up with any novel ideas on how to solve the homeless issue. Nobody will.” You’re right Karl. He won’t end homelessness…..that’s not the goal, nor did he ever say that it was. The goal is to better understand people in this situation. But at least he’s doing SOMETHING.

    And because most of you haven’t enlightened yourself on the entire story, the goal IS to help people in the end. While some of you call it a mockery, I hardly think he’ll be taunting other homeless people within this 30 days with “nanny-nanny boo-boo, I’m just as homeless as anyone else struggling with this during this time”. To be honest, I have my own opinions about how small-minded some of you have painted yourselves to be, and I feel sorry for some of you. However, that doesn’t change the fact that you all are happy with what and who you are. BINGO!! That’s the idea here people.

    Krista – do you sneer just as well at people going on Missionary trips in Africa to better understand so that they can help someone and better appreciate those things that we all take for granted? (They’re not ending all hunger, everywhere, forever!) Or people that are called to action by their own god, whether it be my God or the god that Gandhi served? I sincerely doubt that Gandhi thought that fasting would bring peace to the entire world, but he did what he needed to do to change his OWN life. Do you sneer at our men and women joining the military to protect and serve? I doubt they think they will end war because they are also living in sand and war. They do so because they can make a difference, even if their difference is small. Did you join your Leadership Group to make such a difference in the world that every person becomes a leader…..NOW! ?? Although your understanding of a bigger picture, well….seems minimal at best….why don’t you worry about yourself and leave the man be. He’s willing to go where none of us are. And Krista, I highly doubt that place is Neiman Marcus!!!

    People that are called to do something, whether it’s to pray for someone else, or bring other people close to God by better understanding them, have something that I think we all strive for: a big heart. So while people can comment until we’re all blue in the face about whether or not we support Leon and his journey, it won’t change the fact that he is doing this and that there is a reason for it larger than most of us will ever understand. I also think that his comment should tell you all something: he’s not offended. In fact, he apologized to all of YOU for offending. That’s something I will never understand and must say something about the type of person he is. I wish we could all be that kind of person, myself included. The world would certainly be a better place.

    All I can say is that I look up to Leon for being willing to give up a life of the luxury that we all know (we’re commenting on a blog, let’s be real, we’re not struggling here.) to do something that NONE of the rest of us would be willing to do. I pray for his safety as well as the safety of everyone that must go without a home, not just for these 30 days. I pray for his well-being as well as for that of his wife. I pray for a world full of people that someday will mind their own business and go about their lives as they see fit, rather than judging those who are called to action to make a difference (even if that difference is small).

    While I’m not comparing Leon to the great Martin Luther King Jr., he didn’t have unanimous support either. No great leader ever has. However, I think that it’s great. I also think that all of us do something not every one agrees with. It’s just how it is. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. So Krista, I guess this means you’re perfect. 🙂 Lucky you.

    Keep doing what you do Leon, you truly will make a difference.

  • Chris

    Karl, the comment you posted just shows the ignorance of so many people out there in the world. You would rather roll over, throw your hands up, or just say “there’s nothing you can do about it.” You’re right. There’s nothing YOU can do about it because YOU choose not to. The homeless problem will always be there, because people that are living on the streets share your perspective. They think “Well, there’s nothing I can do about this because that’s just how it is.” The truth of the matter is that as human beings ,we are capable of initiating change. I’m sure you’re a well-educated man, and read the news. Do you remember reading about Arab Spring? The people took to the streets in droves to stand up for something that they believed should change, and change it DID! It doesn’t take solving the issue completely to make an impact. There are stories of many people going out there into situations temporarily to get a better understanding of what’s going on. As a matter of fact, I read a story just yesterday about a man going to Libya to fight with the resistance for his spring break, to get a better understanding of the people’s struggle over there to write for his dissertation. As he is riding in the back of a truck manning a machine gun, getting shot at, shooting AT people, and eventually (hopefully) coming back home to his family, it doesn’t mean that he won’t have a REAL understanding first-hand of what’s going on over there. Is he trying to stop the Libyan war? No. He’s just trying to understand and gain a perspective that he didn’t have as a guy reading a newspaper about the situation. See, All Leon is doing, is getting away from the comforts of his home, and immerse himself into a world that he’s not used to, and to deny his flesh and his own will for 30 days only to gain a new perspective, and to help him better understand people. The cool thing is, he’ll be in a position to impact people he meets on this journey, and just to share God’s love with them. He’ll then be able to come back to his community, and use this newly gained perspective to help those back home as well.
    As for the question “Why the publicity?” the publicity is simply to help raise awareness of the situation. His heart is that people will see what he’s doing, and he’s challenged them in the month of November to reach out either in their community volunteering, or coming out to volunteer at a shelter or organization in Dallas. I know Leon personally, and I know he has a heart for the people. I just wish more people would get out there and minister to the “least of these”.
    Lastly, I want to clarify something. This isn’t a “Southlake versus Dallas, Socks versus Greasers, Jets versus Sharks” type situation. The thing is this. Many people who live in a sheltered area, and don’t even see a homeless person until they’re in their late teens, really have no idea of the situation. Call it naive, call it unaware etc. All the notice on his page is to simply encourage those who might follow Leon and venture out to Dallas to simply be aware of their surroundings. Leon has impacted hundreds of Teenagers, and is an influential Youth Pastor in this area. He’s simply looking out for his Kids that will most likely end up coming out to “find him”. I too, have lived in Dallas. Deep Ellum to be exact. The streets CAN be dangerous. You’re a fool to think otherwise.
    In closing, I understand if you don’t quite “Get” what Leon is doing, but to all the negative complainers about this, when is the last time YOU have done something selfless? To the person going out in the streets for a day, Why don’t you up the ante and spend the week with Leon? Maybe you can find something to better write about in your college thesis paper.

  • Blake

    Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. – Matthew 6:4

  • Chris

    @Blake, Jeremiah 1:7 (since you want to quote scripture) But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.

    Reflect on the story of Jonah and the whale. God told Jonah to go into Nineveh and to preach the gospel. If you’ve studied nahum at all, you’d know that Nineveh was a wicked and corrupt city. There were “gangs” of murderers, thieves, vandals, and they were lead by corrupt and powerful men. (sound like any major city in DFW? haha)

    Yet Jonah, who was just an ordinary man, who didn’t even HAVE a heart for helping people, was called by the Lord. He begged and pleaded with God not to send him, to send someone else, and even ran away the opposite direction out of fear. We all know what happened next.

    Leon is simply following the Lord and doing what he’s called to do. God doesn’t always call us into a lifetime commitment. Sometimes it’s a day, a week, a month, or year(s). This isn’t Leon giving a gift. This is leon bringing a message to the people out of this. (Both homeless, and not) Leon is wanting to bring a message of hope where there often is none. He wants to bring a message of Love, and mercy, to a people who rarely receive that. All he’s doing is being an active part in what God wants to do. The problem with many in churches is, they’ll give a dollar or two in the salvation army jar at Christmas, or donate an old coat or two during a coat drive. But they never GO. God called us to GO into the world. He wants us to get outside of ourselves, and our comfort. Yet, I suppose for you you’d rather sit idle and hope and pray in the comforts of your home.

  • Danielle Page

    Wow. If these are the kind of selfish, brash, uneducated responses to a man simply trying to understand a different lifestyle as best he can, then I have no hope for society. Leon is trying to not only understand being homeless (obviously he cannot be completely, totally homeless) but he is also doing this for himself. Those of you rudely bashing this man of God who is simply trying to understand and to learn about this way of life can go on with your ignorant lives. Since when is it a sin or a joke to try to learn something new? Sure, we can read about homelessness in news articles, see homeless people on the street, or on the news but Leon is taking it a step further and trying, to the best of his ability, to be as homeless as possible. I don’t see any of you doing anything to that extreme. You sit there on your rear ends typing away ignorant criticism about something you would never be brave enough to do. It’s not a mockery of the homeless community. He’s not doing this to get a laugh or to belittle the people who’s lives consist of living on the streets or in a homeless shelter. He’s doing this to LEARN and the last time I checked that wasn’t a crime. Learning is what life is completely about. So lay off his case and I want to hear what you have been doing to try to learn, to empathize, and to raise a small body of awareness for an issue that has plagued people since the beginning of time.

  • Karl

    Give it a rest with writing a novel in every comment. Most quit reading your nonsense after about two sentences. Not sure what Leon’a hoping to accomplish except that his understanding of homeless people isn’t going to do squat for these folks. The programs exist for those that want to seek help, and the rest are headed nowhere but the grave. Hate to break it to you, but time to grow up and accept reality.

  • ErickaRhea

    @Karl – After 2 sentences = “Not sure what Leon’a hoping to accomplish except that his understanding of homeless people isn’t going to do squat for these folks. The programs exist for those that want to seek help, and the rest are headed nowhere but the grave. Hate to break it to you, but time to grow up and accept reality.”

    Honestly didn’t read it. 🙂

  • Chris

    @Karl, Nonsense? Really? I’m sorry that you’re so bitter. You’re missing the point of this project altogether. It’s really a shame that you’re completely and utterly ignorant to anything beyond yourself. Go stick your head in the ground, ya ostrich!

  • Screamjeanne

    I can’t believe this writer stated that there is no validity because this young man has a “fall back” with his real life! I’m a teacher. If someone (who has never taught) comes to my room everyday, observes, and helps me for 30 days, would that person not glean some insight into my duties and my students’ lives? Doesn’t mean the person has to join my profession to gain some knowledge. BTW – Dallas is a great city, but really? There are areas I wouldn’t venture. Like ANY big city, or small city for that matter.

  • Samantha

    I have no idea who Leon is or why he is doing this but he seems determined to follow God on this journey that has been set out for him and I support him wholeheartedly. As a young adult, probably just a year or two younger than this man I am absolutely inspired by him. If I only had the courage to do what he is doing for a fraction of the time I would do it in a heartbeat, but the homeless thing is not for me. Nonetheless, Leon has inspired me to really follow the Lord and my heart. He seems to be heavily invested in this for whatever reason and I can only hope that one day when I get to that point in my life I will have as much courage and strength to do what he is doing now.

  • Karl

    Krista what’s really scary is Evangelicals posing as homeless people as a publicity stunt. I don’t want to accidentally give this guy any money, so I’m stuck doling out funds to only the regulars for the next 30 days.

  • John

    Karl, your attitude is what is wrong with people as a whole these days. You’re the very definition of ignorant. I hope you enjoy your chosen eternity in hell. I hear that they play Justin Bieber non stop. Enjoy that bud.

  • Gabe

    God has called me to understand the rich and powerful, so I will be living as one of them for a month…I will be sleeping on a memory foam mattress in Ross Perot’s mansion while a live stringed quartet lulls me to sleep, because it’s important to live as they live, even for just a little while. Please don’t Mr. Perot, as I’m hoping the combination of his square footage and poor eyesight will allow me to go about my mission undetected.

    If you want to come visit me, I suggest the hours between 12 and 5pm, as any other times the electronic gates will be shut and the robotic attack dogs activated.

  • Mike Dunlap

    RE: the “south side of downtown is no north side” comment(s):

    I and many Cedars residents regularly walk and bike past City Hall, the Farmers Market, and the Bridge at all hours of the day. I have never once felt worried about my safety. The most aggressive homeless people are those hitting people up for cash on Main Street or at the DART stops. I’ve not once had one of the homeless people on the southern end of downtown ask me for anything. Those sitting around near the Bridge or City Hall obviously aren’t looking for money… since hardly any tourists or workers frequent the area after work hours.

    So, no, the southern end of downtown really isn’t all that dangerous either. If the pastor really wants a scary challenge he’d be better off trying the area around Forest Lane Station. The crime situation in Dallas has inverted recently. Downtown is far safer (especially when car deaths/injuries are considered) than many parts of North and Northeast Dallas.

    Not that anyone as checked out on Dallas as the average Southlake resident is would know any of this.

  • Karl

    Oooh! John threatening me with an eternity in his make-believe bad place. I’m really frightened by that. All because I won’t buy into his buddy’s publicity stunt. I think if you look up the definition of ignorant, one

  • Mike Dunlap


    1) I applaud your work here.
    2) Go Dawgs. 🙂

  • Christina

    I agree that there are some fairly aggressive homeless people on Main St that are a problem. My cousin lives 2 blocks from the bars at Main & Akard and we have gotten a bouncer to walk us back to her building before after a homeless man who is apparently a “regular” felt my cousins leg up, and followed us down the street as we tried to get away from him. I don’t mind the ones that actually need help, but just last night we gave a homeless man the cash we had with us which was about 75 cents(we never carry cash so he was lucky to have gotten that much) and he looked offended as if he thought he deserved more. And I’ve offered to buy some of them food and they have refused.

  • Ella Green

    Speaking as someone that has been homeless, I think what Leon is doing is FREAKIN AWESOME! I have slept my car, slept outdoors, eaten out of dumpsters. And it was for way longer than 30 days. I have overcome massive life set backs and I am now half way done with my masters degree, I have a good job, and a great family.
    All of you critics out there dissing Leon should be utterly ashamed at your selves. How dare you be offended by this? Really just how special do think you all are? One day you may find yourself in the situation I did, where everything you have is gone overnight, through no fault of your own. I am offended by YOU! I have lived the homeless reality. I say GO LEON GO! praying for you Leon. Don’t let these idiots bring you down.
    You critics out there….until you have lived homeless…step off.

  • OnlineAlias

    Leon will be meeting with his friends (his CPA and professional photographer) for daily “debriefing” because that’s how authentic homeless people live. Read all about it on his wife’s overly dramatic blog:…hes_on_the_street..html.

    The blog needs to be renamed, “Leon & Lauren – A Couple’s Quest to Become the Jim & Tammy Faye Baker of Social Media.”

  • CPALayne

    @OnlineAlias: How about taking a step and doing something this radical and faith-based to try and understand how to help others better; I only hope you’ve got friends who care enough about you to check in periodically on your welfare, too. If not, I think I know why.

  • John Mark

    What happened to “the principal of charity” among writers?

  • John Mark


  • OnlineAlias

    @CPALayne – So exploiting the plight of the homeless by selling “Have You Seen Leon” wristbands is considered “radical and faith based?” Really, since when? You, Leon, and entourage are nothing more than greedy, narcissistic hypocrites seeking fifteen minutes of fame at the expense of the underprivileged.

  • Katherine

    I want to know if he plans to give back every penny that the private shelters or the bridge (City of Dallas) spends on him. I sincerely hope that he plans to replenish every cent that the already strained resources for the homeless spend on his little experiment.

  • OnlineAlias

    Nice! Love how Leon’s PR agents had wifey revise her first blog entry to remove the word “debriefing.”