Showing posts from July, 2008

Franklin Residents Being "Dumped" Outside With Nowhere To Go

Some of you know and others are about to find out that many of the men at Franklin School Shelter have been told not to return after Thursday night. The staff has begun the winding down process, since Franklin is slated to close in just over 2 months. Two lists have been comprised -- an "in" list and an "out" list. The 320 men who have stayed at Franklin the most during the 90-day period ending July 25th will be allowed in after July 31st. Not all of the 320 men on the "in" list stay there every night. So, it is quite possible that only 200 of those on the "in" list will be there on any given night, leaving as many as 100 empty beds.

All others will be told that they can't return in August (even if there are empty beds). Some of those who are not allowed to return will not have anywhere to go and will be left outside to battle the elements. (The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless reported that on July 28th there were only 55 vacanc…

Homeless confront councilmember/Announcement

On Sunday, July 27th, 86 people (some homeless and others homeless advocates and supporters)visited the home of Councilman Tommy Wells. It went rather well, in my opinion. I will post more details soon.

ANNOUNCEMENT: There will be a meeting at Franklin School Shelter at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, July 29th. We will be planning our approach to Mayor Fenty about the planned closure. Join us.

Putting the brakes On Shelter Closures

The DC Council was due to begin their 2-month recess on Tuesday, July 15th. However, the need arose for them to create some emergency legislation. One of the matters at hand was the fate of the Gales School at 65 Massachusetts Ave., NW. They ended up having a late-night session on the 15th. During that session, they decided to make the mayor remove all references to other shelters such as Franklin School and Harriet Tubman from the proposed legislation which, if passed, would allow him to dispose of the Gales School, which is slated to become a homeless shelter once again.

Having so graciously postponed their recess by 2 days, the Council reconvened on July 17th to review the mayor’s re-written legislation and to vote on it. It only took an hour of deliberations for them to grant the mayor permission to dispose of the Gales School property in a land swap with Central Union Mission. While some people may feel that they have reason to rejoice, others will suffer ill-effects as a res…

The Fate of Gales and Franklin Schools

Yesterday the council (which so graciously postponed its recess to deal with some emergency legislation)held a legislative meeting. At issue was the fate of Gales School. Due to computer malfunctions and other concerns, I've been short on blogging time for a couple of days. However, I decided to post my e-mail response to an on-line dispute between Councilmember Jim Graham and former mayoral candidate Chris Otten. (I will describe the meeting in greater detail in the near future.) I fed them the facts:

Petworth properties are worth $4 million.

Gales School is worth $9 million in current trashy state.

City will give mission $7 million to renovate Gales.

Terms include gales remaining a shelter for at least 40 years with at least 150 beds and going back to city if ever used for anything else.

At Gales, mission will have a net gain of 22 beds or more.

Council strongly signaled an unwillingness to allow Franklin to close. Gray asked wells to assess the number of emergency shelter beds. He wa…

More Info About Gales School

As you may know, Gales School is a historic building in DC which is slated to be turned into a homeless shelter. It served as a homeless shelter from 2000 to 2004 and then was closed so as to be renovated. Much controversy has arisen over the fate of this building. It is supposed to serve as a replacement for the Central Union Mission which is presently located at 14th and R streets, NW. However, the mission is due to leave their present location in October of 2009, while Gales School might not be ready for occupancy until some time in 2011. That leaves us with 2 years during which there would be no Central Union Mission.

The Councilmembers Jim Graham and Carol Schwartz have mentioned the possibilities of expediting the renovation of Gales School and/or postponing their departure from their present location. Neither is as easy as I make it sound. I would like to mention the possibility of keeping Franklin School Shelter open (as it is due to be closed by October 1st, ' 08) and…


Many are they who could tell you of just how disenfranchised the homeless often feel. They often receive promises from politicians, especially during election season. All too often those promises are broken. Even the cabinet members that are appointed by elected officials tend to make and break promises. Then there is the shelter staff to deal with. Some have a genuine concern for the people that are placed under their care. Others couldn't care less about their homeless clients. Then again, there are the homeless advocates who care but have limited resources and influence. All-in-all, the homeless have good reason to feel disenfranchised and to assume that there is no way out of their predicament.

I was a facilitator at a meeting which was held at One Judiciary Square on December 9th, 2006, by members of Mayor Fenty's transition team. The purpose of the meeting was to gather the concerns of the homeless community and take them to Mayor-elect Fenty. More than 80 homeless …

About Housing First

While debating with Clarence carter on STREATS TV, I addressed the imminent closure of Franklin School Shelter. While the mayor's housing plan is shaped to address homelessness across the city and not just at Franklin, the Franklin School Shelter can serve as a microcosm of the larger homeless situation in DC. The closure of Franklin is bound to set off a chain reaction of problems that the city is ill-prepared for.

If the mayor's housing plan is called "Housing First", then maybe it should live up to that name. However, one of the larger shelters in the city is about to be closed without all of its residents being housed. The 400 units of permanent supportive housing that are coming on-line this year are not being allocated for the men at Franklin. I'm not saying that they should be. Instead, the city should keep the shelter open until the vast majority of its residents have been housed and there are too few people left to justify keeping the building open …