Life-size signs spark homeless debate in Dallas

DALLAS You might have mistaken them for artwork: Plywoodcutouts, painted to look like a homeless family holding cardboard signs.

A few dozen of them popped up this week around Dallas.

An organization called 5750 Dallas created the signs as a way to drum up awareness about homelessness. It's name represents the estimated 5,750 homelesspeople who live in the city.

Each sign bears a message.

One says, Forwhat you spend on your iPod and music collection, you can buy 598 pairs of shoes for those in need.

Another claims that you could shelter a homeless person for two years for the cost of a Super Bowl ticket.

We were never trying to attack one thing, said 5750 project manager Andy Sturm. It's not about Super Bowl tickets or the iPod; it's about what the other folks don't have.

The group placed 36 cutouts near White Rock Lake, NorthPark Center and downtown Dallas.

But city code enforcement officials say the signs are illegal.

Even though these signs are very very different, if they're in the public right of way a sidewalk, a median they would be subject to removal by our staff, said Joey Zapata, assistant director of Dallas Community Codes.

Code officials plan on contacting the group to have them remove the signs that are in violation.

Strum said 5750 Dallas never received permission to put up the signs, and the city plans to take them down by the end of the week if they remain.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com


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