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Showing posts from 2008

A LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA FROM A HOMELESS MAN.....

Dear President Barack Hussein Obama,

I would like to remind you of a former effort of yours that you seem to have all but forgotten. On October 25th 2006, you sent two (2) men from your senatorial office in the Hart Building to the Franklin School Shelter so that they could tour the facility and be informed on the issue of homelessness. Their names were Ian Solomon and Nicholas Colvin. The tour was led by the Committee To Save Franklin Shelter (CSFS), a group that was later incorporated as Until We're Home, inc
( www.untilwerehome.org ), a non-profit that spoke up for the rights of homeless people and advocated for solutions to homelessness. I was the field marshal/public relations specialist for the group, which has now been dissolved. After the tour, we never heard back from either man. We were left to assume that they were just part of an exploratory mission to see what platform you would run your campaign on.

Nonetheless, homelessness remains a major problem in this an…

GOOD NEWS: The ICH is moving things along // (ALSO: a quick note about the new transit system cards)

I've earned a name as a bulldog who goes at DC Government rather hard and exposes their shortcomings. I actually like having that type of reputation. Criticism can be constructive and pressure people into doing better. I believe that I, along with other like-minded people, have contributed to the betterment of the ICH (Inter-agency Council on Homelessness). A compliment is ever so slightly overdue. It is my determination that people should take a less adversarial stance against the ICH and do more to partner with them so as to better serve DC's poor and homeless population. (Make no mistake. I am in no way, shape, form or fashion telling you to be nice to the mayor. He and the ICH are by no means on the same page.)

The ICH met on December 11th at the N street Village Women's Shelter. (Schroeder Stribling is a great hostess.) However, prior to the usual ICH meeting, there was a new addition -- a homeless persons' rountable discussion during which the homeless and s…

Hungry, Huddled Hordes Of Homeless

I recently exchanged e-mails with DC Government concerning the fact that the homeless are going hungry while remaining in the hypothermia shelter all day during hypothermia. It didn't go well. Long story short, the homeless will be fed additional meals if they remain in the shelter all day due to there being snow or ice on the ground. If they remain in the shelter all day due to it being 20 degrees outside, they will only receive the usual dinner, no lunch or breakfast. Read our exchange below and my further explanation that follows:

From: Eric Sheptock [mailto: ericsheptock@yahoo.com ]
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 4:01 PM
Subject: No Food For The Homeless During Hypothermia!!!!!

NO FOOD FOR HOMELESS DURING HYPOTHERMIA

I personally have yet to stay at 801 East throughout the day when it is hypothermic. However, more than one man has told me that food was not provided by DHS/Catholic Charities during hypothermia. It is my understanding that, a couple of days ago, the men didn&…

Is there Life After Franklin?

Franklin Shelter's doors were closed by Mayor adrian fenty on September 26th, 2008. The former residents were scattered throughout DC. Many have suffered great losses and inconveniences as a result of the closure. A few have even put up a fight so as to try to be compensated for their losses and to re-open Franklin Shelter. All of this begs the question,"What now, is there life after Franklin?"

I must say that there is indeed life after Franklin and there's probably more life than the mayor thought there would be. Let's bear in mind that the homeless often feel disenfranchised and marginalized. They, for the most part, don't stand up for themselves. When mis-treated, they often take it lying down. I'm inclined to believe that the mayor thought that would continue to be the case. Boy was he wrong!!!!!

Prior to the closing of Franklin Shelter, it was difficult to get even 5 homeless people to go to a meeting or hearing that was arranged for them. W…

The Economy and Housing First

First of all, I would like to clarify my position on the Housing First program known as Permanent Supportive Housing. (For those who are just coming on board with the homeless/housing issue, "Housing First" doesn't refer to an actual program, but rather a philosophy and a way in which some Permanent Supportive Housing programs are run. It is the practice whereby people are housed first and their issues are dealt with later. Those issues can range from mental illness to drug addiction to a need for job training.)

I am not against the PSH program at all. However, I believe that DC government's plan is seriously flawed. There have been numerous reports of people who are still addicted receiving housing only to sell their furniture, appliances and housing vouchers. There have also been reports of inadequate casework. To make matters worse, the mayor is withholding information from the Council so that they can't properly evaluate the program. For all of its faults, I s…

Housing First Won't Last

I've posted an urgent message from a non-profit that assists the homeless population (Pathways To Housing). I don't normally post on consecutive days. However, this matter is of such grave concern that I saw fit to post it immediately.

Mayor Fenty had more faith than he should've in the Housing First Program known as Permanent Supportive Housing than he should've. He used its creation to justify closing Franklin Shelter. Now, just 6 weeks after closing Franklin, the housing program is in peril.

Many homeless advocates tried to warn the mayor and his administration. We told him and his administration that they were moving way too quickly. They wouldn't heed our warnings. Now the "Housing First" program is fast becoming the "Housing Worst" program. It is about to become the Fenty administration's biggest embarrassment. (I'm helping to make that true.)

I'm not certain whether or not the program can be saved at this point. …

The First Thing that needs changin'

Below is a slightly modified message that I sent to a friend and sweetheart of mine who works for the U.S. Dept. of Labor. I figured that since parts of my message apply to the fight against poverty, homelessness and corporate greed, I would send this modified message to others. I therefore modified the message, removing the parts that only pertained to her and forwarded it to others. Below my message is her response. She has stated some very interesting and intelligent insights into "The First Thing That Needs Changin'"

Enjoy.....

From: Eric Sheptock
Date: Thursday, November 6, 2008, 3:38 PM

Many of the homeless have asked me to help them to get jobs. They don't just want a hand-out. They also want a hand up. As it turns out, DC has a terrible workforce development dilemma. There is supposedly a large job market in the city. However, most jobs require a high level of skill. There are not enough people in the city with those skills. Therefore, employers look els…

Unsafe permanent Supportive Housing Units

Below are a couple of e-mail messages that I sent about a man that was feared dead shortly after receiving Permanent Supportive Housing. HE TURNED OUT TO HAVE SURVIVED A BRUTAL ATTACK AND REMAINS IN THE HOSPITAL. However, if something isn't done quickly, the next person might not be so lucky.

Read them and weep..........

****************************************

In the few minutes that I have I wanted to let you know that I received credible info from Pat Handy, the DHS Homeless Services Coordinator, that Tommy Overton was indeed badly beaten but is very much alive. He is in the hospital. DC Gov., take this as a warning. it could've been much worse. I will send a more detailed message later letting all who I told about Tommy Overton that he is still alive. Bear in mind that I received this news around 6:30 PM yesterday. It doesn't mean yet that he couldn't've taken a turn for the worse or that he won't die; but, as far as I know, he's alive.

*************…

Severe Beating At A Permanent Supportive Housing Unit

The following is a message that I received from a formerly homeless man about a comrade who might've been murdered shortly after moving into a Permanent supportive Housing unit. (I've done some slight editing.) The PSH program is the program that Mayor Fenty used to justify closing Franklin Shelter. Many people who've been offered housing through this program have turned it down due to, among other reasons, being placed in unsafe, drug-ridden neighborhoods. Now we have a possible murder of a formerly homeless man. As if murder isn't appalling enough in and of itself, this man lived more than 10 years on the street and less than 1 week in his apartment after being. It seems to be safer to live on the streets than in an apartment. That's sad.


Mr. Barry, Ms. Alexander,

Good Morning. I am e-mailing you both this morning in the fear that a man that I was homeless in the streets of downtown D.C. with (who himself had been homeless for about 10-15 years) was b…

PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING

Below is my testimony that I will read before Councilman Tommy Wells on Halloween (tomorrow). It tells what a debacle and a fiasco DC's version of Housing first is. Read it and weep.

Statements To Be Presented At The HALLOWEEN HEARING on PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING and SHELTER CAPACITY

I would like to begin by reminding you, Councilman Wells, that we discussed Permanent Supportive Housing on September 19th during the Winter Plan Hearing, due to the Winter Plan having not been ready at that time. At that time, I pointed out to you that people with serious drug problems were being housed through the fiasco known as “Housing First” and were abusing the system. I told you that I had not been offered housing though I’ve been at Franklin Shelter for over 3 years. (I have actually been homeless elsewhere for much longer.) You asked me whether or not I would accept housing if it were offered to me. I said, “Yes”.

Well, I still haven’t been housed. However, those who still have dru…

My Testimony Pertaining To The Elimination Of The Housing Authority Waitlist

The following is my testimony that I read before Councilman Marion Barry (Ward 8) at a hearing on October 16th. The hearing had to do with DC Government's proposed elimination of the Housing Authority's waitlist, which some people have been on for over a decade while waiting for housing.

I, Eric Sheptock, am against the elimination of the housing authority’s waitlist for a number of reasons, not the least of which is mismanagement by the Dept. of Human Services (DHS)of the Permanent Supportive Housing Program. It is my understanding that 350 housing choice vouchers were transferred from the Section 8 program to the Permanent Supportive Housing Program, the latter of which is a program that was designed to house DC’s chronic homeless population, ostensibly anyway. It is important to note that the mayor has not created any additional housing. He has essentially robbed Peter to pay Paul. To make matters worse, the voucher program is being managed much less efficiently afte…

POLICE BRUTALITY AT THE 801 EAST SHELTER

On the night of October 9th, 2008, several homeless men including myself witnessed police brutality at the 801 East (MLK, Jr.) Homeless Shelter. It is quite possible that the staff and/or security exhibited gross negligence and dereliction of duties. I was able to gather information after everything was over that indicated that the incident could've been avoided.


There had been an altercation between 2 residents at the shelter around 10 PM. One resident hit another. Having been alerted by the loud arguing, Hawk One Security arrived on the scene and was able to pull the men apart before a return blow could be thrown. They eventually had the victim who'd been attacked by the other resident to go to bed. He slept in my dorm. I couldn't see what became of his attacker. He slept in another dorm. I assume that he was allowed to return to his bed as well. I was told that the victim's name was Michael Williams and his attacker was named Rob.

In accordance with protoc…

How To Get A Meeting With Mayor Fenty

Page 54 of the October 2008 issue of Hill Rag contains an article about DC Mayor Adrian Fenty which aptly describes what I know to be true about him. As he indicated during a meeting that he held with ONE DC ( a grassroots organizer)on October 8th, 2008, he can be headstrong and assertive. (I attended that meeting as a collaborator, though I am not a member of ONE DC.)However, what stood out to me was a certain consistency that I see in how one can get a meeting with the mayor. In order to help you to better understand what I am about to explain, I must take you back about 6 weeks and explain an earlier attempt to meet with the mayor.

On August 19th, 2008, approximately 30 people -- homeless people, homeless advocates and supporters from local churches and the DC community at large -- did a walk-around at the Wilson Building (City Hall). It consisted of us going to the offices of the various city council members to present our cause: keeping Franklin Shelter open for the homeless …

DANGEROUS, ILLEGAL AND UNRELIABLE TRANSPORTATION

From: Eric Sheptock
Subject: A Dangerous, Illegal Mode of Transportation To and From the 801 East Shelter.....

To: "Adrian Fenty" , "Adrian Fenty" , "Adrian Fenty" , "Adrian Fenty" mayor@dc.gov

3 of his e-mails disappear when I publish the post. Use the 1 that remains to contact him about the following situations.

Also read the post below this one if you haven't already. It explains "Sheptock vs. Fenty", the court case around re-opening Franklin Shelter. I feel honored to have my name on a court case against a lying, insidious "mayor that doesn't care".


Date: Saturday, October 4, 2008, 12:17 PM

The men who reside at the 801 East shelter on the grounds of St. Elizabeth's Hospital are being transported in a manner that is both dangerous and illegal. I plan to contact the police about it if nothing is done and I mean like yesterday, Mayor Fenty.

All,

You are free to forward, post and publish the following informa…

Update on Franklin Shelter lawsuit, filed on behalf of former inhabitants of Franklin Shelter.

There will a status hearing with Judge Retchin in courtroom 516 on
Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 9:30am in Superior Court, 500 Indiana Ave, NW,
WDC to schedule a hearing on the merits of motion for a preliminary
injunction (to reopen Franklin Shelter). Plaintiffs (old and new) will
meet at MLK library on Monday, Oct 6, at 5:00 pm. Anyone interested in
either helping with the logistics of the lawsuit(s), or joining the
lawsuit as plaintiffs, please come by MLK on Monday night or send your
contact info to us.

Update:
We alleged violation of a few statutes (4-753.01 and 4-754.2, requiring
the city to prepare adequately to provide shelter for those in need
when the temperature is freezing and below), and 10-801 (Surplusing
Act: requiring public input and economic accountability by the mayor
prior to changing the disposition of a public property) (e.g. prior to
shuttering the shelter and preparing it for sale to developers), as
well as procedural due process violations (in denying persons
fundament…

Sheptock vs. Fenty (An Update On The Franklin Shelter Lawsuit)

I, Eric Sheptock, posted a message from an e-mail that the lawyer who is handling this case pro bono sent me. She is even coming out of pocket for the court fees. Bless her heart.


Update on Franklin Shelter lawsuit, filed on behalf of former
inhabitants of Franklin Shelter.


We alleged violation of a few statutes, two dealing with the
requirement that the city provide shelter for those in need when the
temperature is freezing and below, and the other one requiring public
input when changing the disposition of a public property, as well as
procedural due process violations.

We had a hearing which took place at Superior Court on Sept. 29 and 30
before Judge Duncan-Peters and lasted about 8 hours in total. It was
concerning a motion filed for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to
try to reopen the shelter and would have lasted for 10 days.

The TRO was denied for several reasons, some of which I will elaborate.
Four prongs must be satisfied for a TRO, and the judge felt we
satisfied two of…

Franklin Has Been Shut Down/Protests and Other Actions and.....The facts

As many of you know and others are about to find out, Franklin shelter closed this morning. The men were put out for the last time. The moving crew was there by 8 AM taking out the dining tables. The men were more or less made to go to the 801 East Shelter. I received word from a former Franklin resident who just moved to CCNV that CCNV has now opened up another section so as to accommodate the Franklin residents. (I will need to stay at 801 East for at least a night, due to my things having been moved there. I might need someone to drive me and my things from 801 East to CCNV if they have room for me.)

There is a rally on the steps of the Wilson Building (at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave.) at 3:30 PM today, September 26th.

There is a sleep-out in Franklin Park (13th and K streets, NW) beginning at 5:30 PM today. A few tents will be provided. (I'm sorry that I can't be there, as I must track down my belongings as they are moved to 801 East.)

The teach-in at Franklin Park is still goi…

Franklin iIs Closing On Friday Morning (9/26)

It's official. Tonight is Franklin Shelter's last night.

(We need to change that. Let's protest/squat.)

The last of the men will be moved out of Franklin in the morning. Many will be taken to the 801 East Shelter (also known as the MLK, Jr. Shelter) on the grounds of St.Eelizabeth's Hospital, in spite of the fact that they don't want to go there due to it's location and brutal security guards (the latter reason having been mentioned at the June 12th ICH meeting).

The housing sweep that was supposed to take place this morning did not. It will take place at 801 East on Friday. Someone told me that it got moved due to a Catholic charities/Franklin employee lying to DHS and saying that there were people outside of Franklin protesting this morning. No one protested this morning. I would've been there if they had. (Let's have a few protesters go to 801 East in the morning, if possible. I'll be squatting at Franklin.)

The sentiment among th…

Franklin Staff Is Instagating VIOLENCE and/or Other Trouble

I am sorry to say that the Franklin situation has taken a turn for the worse in that 2 employees, James Rolle and Garland Caraway, have begun to perpetrate some bold-faced lies which are designed to create emnity between myself and the other Franklin residents and could lead to anyone who might believe them turning violent against me. I have published this post so as to let people know, just in case anything goes down. You can also help to correct their lies.

This morning as I was leaving Franklin Shelter, Franklin staffer and Catholic Charities employee James Rolle started in on me by saying,"You know that you're the reason that they're closing this place?" Sitting beside him was the 500 lb. employee named Garland Caraway.

(Garland was the one who tried to prevent Councilwoman Yvette Alexander from entering a government-owned building on 9/11 so as to see first-hand that the building is not nearly as decrepit as Mayor Fenty makes it out to be. He also told me th…