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DALLAS – While other high school kids are on the Pokemon kick. Alexandra Flegle is cashing in on her writing. She won first place and a thousand dollars in a national essay contest. Her topic?  What makes the homeless, homeless. “Everyone just disregards the homeless as not wanting to find jobs but they want to find jobs so they can get back on their feet,” said Flegle.

To get her research, she had to mingle among the homeless and that didn’t go over too well with mom. “At first, I thought she was a little naive because she had never been down here before,” Ophelia Camina said. “I had actually volunteered at Austin Street Shelter. So I said come with me to volunteer at Austin Street Shelter first and if you still want to do it, we’ll do it and she did.”

Alexandra discovered most apartment complexes won`t rent to  people who are homeless.  They believe it’s too risky because there’s  no track record of paying rent. She also found out why many homeless people don`t like living in shelters. “They feel if they move into the houses, they’d be under strict rules and they don’t want to be under strict rules. They just want to be free like most people who own an apartment,” said Flegle.

Now, her mom has a different reaction when Alexandra says she wants to head downtown and spend time in tent city. “As proud as can be as a parent,” said Camina.