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Showing posts from 2009

Poverty Pimps -- The Reason Homelessness Continues

I posted an article that was forwarded to me via e-mail.
It makes some very important points about why homelessness is not being ended in our country.
Read and enjoy.....

Can Life Be Lived in Dignity by Every San Diegan?
BY Rocky Neptun
November 12, 2009.
East Village, San Diego……………

Bill Foster rolls his tattered sleeping bag up carefully, not to disturb the layers of newspaper underneath, avoiding the dirt soiled sidewalk and looks at me with a smile. He knows I’ll be good for breakfast and plenty of coffee. Almost clean-shaven, ruddy-faced without many wrinkles to show his 54 years, Foster often panhandles enough change for only one meal a day. He tells me he’s just no good at it, even after all these years. He sleeps in the downtown because “there is safety in numbers;” having been attacked by territorial transients along the San Diego River bank and by neighborhood youth when he moved to a creek near Bancroft Street in Spring Valley.

“I have enough left …

Taking Stock of Homeless Advocacy Efforts

Many groups and organizations are advocating for Washington, DC's homeless community, with some of them consisting mainly of homeless and formerly homeless people. There's Street Sense, DC's newspaper about homelessness and poverty. Homeless people write for and sell the paper. Then there is STREATS (Striving To Reach, Educate And Transform Society)'s views on homelessness. Through STREATS the homeless have educated the public about their issue on DCTV and the internet and have done extensive correspondence with the local and federal governments on behalf of the homeless. A group of homeless people calling themselves the People For Fairness Coalition meets every Tuesday at Miriam's Kitchen to plan how they will assist the weaker among them who often don't use shelters. They take to the streets 3 times per week to deliver supplies. Let's not forget the Committee to Save Franklin Shelter (CSFS) which won its fight against former DC mayor Anthony Williams, onl…

Have a Heart For the Homeless -- Raising Awareness on a Social Justice Issue

The homeless are often looked down on by other members of our society. The have no place to call their own. Neither do they have a place in society. Or do they? Of late they've become pawns in a dirty political game and they've taught at Georgetown University. While the former is quite the undesirable position for anyone to be put in, it is not surprising that the homeless would be used in that way. However, the latter would come as a complete surprise to many. Homeless professors? Not quite.

Washington, DC has joined several other states in its quest for same-sex marriage. The DC Council voted 11 to 2 in favor of same-sex marriage on December 1st. According to DC Law, they must vote a second time on December 15th and then the bill goes to capitol Hill for congressional review. Congress then has 30 days to vote on it, or it becomes law by default.

When news of the impending vote came out in early November, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, DC threatened to end all socia…

Catholic Charities Pimps DC Council Again, This Time Over Gay Marriage

What do a Catholic Charities homeless shelter and gay marriage have in common? Some would venture to guess that gay men want the right to identify as women and sleep in female shelters and that butch lesbians want the right to sleep in male shelters. That would be a very well-informed guess. I've witnessed gay men checking into female shelters, though I've yet to see a butch lesbian check into a male shelter. Such rights exist in DC homeless shelters already.

However, there is a new and strange twist (no pun intended) to the fight for gay rights. I received the news over dinner last night (before it even hit the airwaves) that Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC is considering the possibility of not doing any more business with the city of Washington if the gay marriage bill is passed. Being that the news has hit the airwaves at this point and you can get the story by going on-line, I'll take some time to give you a little of the background on relations…

Is Mayor Fenty (and/or Catholic Charities) Closing ALL of DC's Homeless Shelters?????

I first posted this article on March 19th, 2009.

New information came out in the headlines this morning stating that Catholic charities might stop doing business with the city of Washington, DC if the gay marriage bill is passed.

This would lead to the loss of about 2,000 shelter beds in shelters that are run by Catholic Charities.

The homeless have become pawns and bargaining chips in the game of local (and "loco") politics.

As I type up my blog post pertaining to this latest development, you can read about why people thought that all DC homeless shelters were threatened in March. I believe that there may be a correlation between what happened in March and what is happening now. I'll explain in my next blog post later today. Read on.....

Several homeless people have told me that they read a newspaper article which stated that DC Mayor Adrian Fenty (a man) plans to close ALL DC homeless shelters by 2011. Unfortunately, I didn't read that article myself and haven'…

My Testimony to the UNITED NATIONS Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing

Below is my testimony to UNITED NATIONS Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik, which I delivered to her along with the testimonies of several of my colleagues.

Ms. Rolnik visited Washington, DC from November 5 to November 8th and heard many testimonies concerning the need for safe and affordable housing in DC.

She visited 6 other jurisdictions in the country. DC was her seventh and final stop in the country.

I'll write about the experience and what came out of it soon.

Enjoy.....

From: Mr. Eric Jonathan sheptock,
Homeless homeless advocate
Washington, DC

To: Ms. Raquel Rolnik,
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing

Re: The Need for Emergency Shelter and Affordable Housing In Washington, DC.

I, Eric Jonathan Sheptock, would like to impress upon the UNITED NATIONS and the special rapporteur on adequate housing the fact that the capital of the wealthiest nation in the world is in dire need of both emergency shelter and affordable housing. It stands to r…

Dealing With Certain Unruly Homeless People

The following is an article that a reader asked me to post.....

I have volunteered with homeless ministries and service providers in
many different contexts. I have served homeless guests in established
shelters and on the street and almost always find the experience
uplifting and powerful. That is not to say the work is easy.
Difficulties arise for a number of reasons, some obvious and others
not. As volunteer homeless service providers, each of these reasons
should be studied closely to successfully accommodate all of our
guests and fellow volunteers.

For me, one particular situation that causes more difficulty than most
-- the case of a frustrated, angry guest. This does not happen often,
but when it does there is a significant impact on the mission's
volunteers and guests. Suppose you serve in a mission that promotes
community and hope. Just one angry guest can sully the positive mood
and discourage guests from returning and new volunteers from ongoing
participation. In other…

The Cause Of The Homeless Is Moving Forward

Much has been happening lately to move the cause of the homeless forward. This, of course, is why I haven't been blogging as often as I'd like to. I'm glad to say that progress is being made and that the cries of the impoverished and homeless have reached even as far as the UNITED NATIONS.

On October 7th, the case of SHEPTOCK, et al v. FENTY, et al was back in federal court for a status hearing. This is the case that was begun as a result of Mayor Fenty closing the Franklin School Shelter on September 26th, 2008. Many people are surprised that the case has lasted this long and not been thrown out of court. We are due to return to court on December 11th. So long as the case remains in court, there is still a chance for justice to be served.

On October 22nd, my fellow homeless advocates "Better Believe Steve", Skip Watkins, Brenda Wilson and others pre-taped 2 shows for STREATS TV. In the first show we spoke to Tommy Wells who is the Ward 6 councilman as well as th…

DC Homeless Get A Reprieve From The Mayor And Realize Their Power

Reposted for Facebook viewers

I've made the rare move of doing 2 blog posts in 1 day. Please see the REVISED post below this one if you haven't already.

In a previous post I described the tenuous situation created by recent cuts to DC Government's Homeless Services budget. The loss of $12 million almost resulted in the closure of 6 homeless shelters which serve 900 men, 400 women and 600 children.

The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP) is contracted under DC Government to provide homeless services to the District. Catholic Charities is subcontracted under TCP to provide the majority of the homeless services. This enabled Catholic Charities to do a power play on DC Government. So, when they heard that the budgets for all DC homeless shelters would be cut by 30%, Catholic Charities said "All or nothing. If we can't provide a robust array of services that include substance abuse counseling, employment services and life skills training, th…

Women From John L. Young Women's Shelter Standing In The Rain

The following message was copied and pasted from an e-mail that I sent to people in DC Government's Dept. of Human services (DHS), Catholic Charities (which runs the John L. Young Women's shelter), the Washington Post and several lawyers for the homeless. I saw the women standing in the rain on the evening of Friday, October 16th and sent the e-mail the following afternoon.

As of 6 PM on the 17th (only 1 hour early) they were allowed to enter the shelter and get out of the rain. I'm inclined to believe that the women were allowed to enter the shelter and get out of the rain as soon as the right person read the e-mail. It's good to know that I was able to help (no matter how small the favor may have been). Nonetheless, it raises questions about why the shelter management seems to be so ignorant as to allow the women to stand in the rain for hours on end. Shelter is supposed to keep people safe, warm and dry. Standing in the rain for hours awaiting shelter defeats the p…

Homeless and shelterless -- Where Will DC's Homeless Sleep?????

Some time ago, I blogged about the news that DC Mayor Adrian Fenty might be planning to close all DC homeless shelters by 2011. (He leaves office in January of that year.) At the time, many people didn't believe that any mayor -- even Mayor Fenty -- would try something like that. Nonetheless, while I can't pin this one on him entirely, Washington, DC stands to lose over 1,300 shelter beds within a month if the budget crisis is not dealt with immediately. Homeless service providers are scrambling to save the shelters so as to avoid a repeat scenario of the 80's and 90's when many of the homeless were freezing to death in the capital of the wealthiest nation on Earth.

The deaths of homeless people in Franklin Park while a vacant government building sat across the road was the impetus for turning Franklin School into a shelter in 2002. It was abruptly closed by Mayor Fenty on September 26th, 2008. The Franklin School Shelter closure was predicated on the success of …

I Was A Victim Of Wage Theft

A hectic schedule has kept me from blogging on a regular basis lately. That is both good and bad. The bad part, of course, is that I'm not updating my "followers" as often as I'd like to. The good part is that it is because the cause of the homeless is moving forward, resulting in me spending much of my time in meetings. Therefore, I've decided to post an e-mail that I sent to DC Gov's Dept. of Employment Services (DOES) about the wage theft that I became a victim of at the job I recently lost. In about an hour, I'll be heading to a meeting about a show that will be taped on October 22nd. That show will air on DCTV and will be a panel discussion about the state of homelessness in the District. It will feature DC Government employees and homeless homeless advocates. In the meantime, here's the e-mail.....

A BETTER Desription of My Wage Theft Case

Below is a description of a situation in which I, Eric Jonathan Sheptock, was a victim of wage theft. I sen…