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Denton Together Coalition works to improve the community

Denton Together Coalition works to improve the community

Executive Director of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach Beck Rodriguez writes down the audience's concerns and issues with Denton and TWU in the town hall meeting held on Thursday February 18, 2015 in the TWU Student Union. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

Denton Together Coalition works to improve the community
February 25
00:34 2016

Julia Falcon | Staff Writer

@falconpunch_

The Denton Together Coalition is still in the early stages of organizing, but the group has continued to meet and explore solutions to community issues since its inception last year.

Denton Police Department Officer Malcolm McGuire says Denton PD officers would like to be invited to more town hall meetings and hear people out on their concerns and issues. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

Denton Police Department officer Malcolm McGuire says Denton PD officers would like to be invited to more town hall meetings and hear people out on their concerns and issues. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

The DTC, comprised of diverse Denton organizations, was formed last year by Denton Mayor Chris Watts to find and solve issues affecting residents.

“In town, if there is an issue that occurs the group can help listen to the concerns and to help create more understanding for the concerns,” Watts said. “My role initially was to bring the group together, as the mayor [and] we solicited input from community members.”

Results of this group effort include the new bleachers at Fred Moore Park for junior high students, and more recently, a counseling center for families in Denton. The coalition is currently working on initiatives dealing with hunger, human trafficking, housing for the chronic homeless and financial literacy.

“I’ve worked on homelessness for a few years, mainly what I do is identify a problem and look around for working models that are successful and see how we can adapt to them in Denton,” coalition vice chairman Smith said. “I created the Wheeler House for women and children, now I am taking on chronic homeless folks, veterans and non-veterans, and looking at building a village that we can provide services and tiny homes to get people off of the street.”

The goal, Smith said, was to form a coalition of people, develop a strategy, plan to address the problem and try to build a balanced solution.

“The process for solving an issue is very complex,” Smith said. “Essentially, it comes down to identifying a problem, developing and casting a vision, sharing that vision with a lot of people, building support, both emotional and financial, developing a design and begining construction once the resources are in place. That’s the easy part. Once it is opened, operations begin.”

The coalition holds town hall meetings at UNT, Texas Woman’s University and other places around the community. Coalition chairwoman Sheryl English said the meetings are hosted at universities to reach out to students because their opinions are as equally important as others. She added, however, that not many UNT students showed up to the town hall hosted on campus last month.

Chair of Denton Coalition Sheryl English listens to the audience express their concerns and issues with Denton and TWU in the town hall meeting held on Thursday February 18, 2015 in the TWU Student Union. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

Chair of Denton Together Coalition Sheryl English listens to the audience express their concerns and issues with Denton and TWU in the town hall meeting held at TWU. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

“Everyone’s number one issue right now is traffic,” English said. “We put the issues down and see what the highest issues are, then go back to the committee and tell them what they are. Then, we meet with the mayor and decide how to handle things.”

They created the town hall meetings to let the community know who they are and more importantly to hear what their issues and concerns are.

“Current issues have been education and community,” English said. “There are good and bad experiences on campus, but there are more that are good. A lot of people want to be active in the community and don’t know where to go. We want more community and togetherness right now.”

For more information about the Denton Together Coalition, or to stay updated about upcoming town hall meetings, visit http://www.cityofdenton.com/departments-services/denton-together-coalition.

Featured Image: Executive Director of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach Beck Rodriguez writes down the audience’s concerns and issues with Denton and TWU in the town hall meeting held on Thursday February 18, 2015 in the TWU Student Union. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

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