Friday, February 20, 2009

TCP Fails To Pay CCNV For Operating Homeless Shelter

Yesterday I posted a short, undetailed message about a certain DC homeless shelter that was abruptly closed (which I'll soon delete). I have since done my homework and found out what happened and why. So, here it is.....

The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP) has not paid CCNV (the Community for Creative Non-Violence) for its services for 2 months. CCNV took action so as to exact payment yesterday. Before I give any further explanation of yesterday's situation, I must first explain everyone's role.

The Government of the District of Columbia has a Dept. of Human Services (DHS). DHS has contracted out many of its homeless services to The Community Partnership (TCP) which in turn contracts out to the actual service providers such as CCNV and Catholic Charities. (Those homeless services that don't fall under the purview of TCP are administered by the Coalition for the Homeless, which answers to DHS.)

CCNV (the Community for Creative Non-Violence) is one of 3 homeless shelters in the former Federal City College. The others are the John L. Young Women's Shelter and the Open Door Women's Shelter. (CCNV has beds for men and women.) The building also houses DC Central Kitchen which feeds one meal per day to most of DC's 6,000 plus homeless and a Unity Healthcare office for DC's homeless. Every hypothermia season a temporary drop-in center is opened in the basement of CCNV for approximately 150 overnighters/walk-ins (all men) to stay warm. The majority of those at CCNV have reserved beds from night to night.

The building is actually owned by DC Government. It was wrested from the Reagan Administration and given to the city through the protests of many homeless people under the leadership of Mitch Snyder, with Mitch having gone on a 51-day hunger strike.

Well, the government is about to get the homeless community up in arms again, this time under my leadership. This latest move has indicated that the homeless are ready, willing and able to stand up and fight for their rights. That's not to speak of the fact that security is often increased at the John A. Wilson Building (City Hall) whenever the homeless and their advocates show up to speak up for their human rights. At one such event this past September, the security at the Wilson bldg. cited the actions of a certain woman from the group Mayday DC during a rally more than 5 years ago as their reason for increasing security when the homeless and their advocates showed up. She had gone out on the 5th floor ledge to unfurl a banner explaining the DC Government hates the homeless.(There is a lawsuit taking place due to people having been denied access to a government building.)

Finally, I can get to the jist of the story. TCP has failed to pay CCNV for running the drop-in center. They've not paid CCNV for its services for the months of January or February of this year. (Checks are due by the 15th of each month.) The unpaid staff had been holding meetings about this problem for several weeks. Finally, they decided to make a power move. So, on February 19th, the staff told all of the men in the drop-in center that they were quitting and that they, the shelter occupants, had to leave. The staff also called the media. They had to call the cops for the residents who failed to leave. Some residents also began to make calls, some to the media. DC Government's Dept. of Human Services was also called. They promised to take care of the matter. (Let's remember that it was TCP who failed to pay CCNV, not DC Government or DHS.) The shelter staff has promised that, if they don't get paid today, they'll do the same thing again, possibly longer. This could get really ugly.

I also want to point out that TCP's head is on the chopping block. Earlier on that same day I attended 2 hearings at the Wilson Bldg. In the latter one, I heard the director of DHS say that he was seriously considering getting rid of TCP. (They are in the last year of their contract.) He, Clarence Carter, has decided that many of the functions of TCP can and should be done by the employees of DHS. In these hard economic times, we must trim the fat off of government. He wants to get rid of the middle man, which in this case is operated by a woman -- Sue Marshall. He commended the agency's work, but maintained that he must save money. About an hour and a half after that hearing ended, I got word of the CCNV drop-in center fiasco. This serves as an additional reason to get rid of TCP. Things aren't looking up for TCP right now.

Other CCNV business.....

I did a video in December in which I described the caseworker role that I will take on. I've not done any casework per se. However, I AM working for CCNV in another capacity -- as a homeless advocate.

There are rumors circulating about the possible sale of the Federal City Shelter (the entire building). One such rumor claims that Georgetown U. has already bought the building. THE TRUTH: Georgetown U. has the first right of refusal on the building. This means that, if DC Government decides to sell the building, Georgetown U. would be the first to be given the option of buying it. I've yet to receive definitive word of any sale.

For those who plan to help the homeless, CCNV could use donations of cleaning supplies for the building -- bleach, amonia, rags, mops, mop heads, pesticides. We are not in dire straits yet. The building IS adequately clean for the moment. However, the afforementioned items are in short supply.

CCNV is a self-supporting entity. Apart from using a government-owned building, they don't get anything else from the government for the majority of their services. They don't get paid for caring for the 700 people with reserved beds. They DO get paid for providing shelter to the 150 men of the drop-in center, which is only open during hypothermia.

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Blogger Start Loving ... WAGE LOVE OR DIE (no 3rd option any longer exists) said...

Much excellent info here Eric. Thanks.

February 22, 2009 at 3:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is very informative. I did hear about the CCNV being considered for closure by the mayor, and immediately thought "... for real estate development". I guess I wasn't wrong.

Courage, my friend. We're rooting for you, and collecting bleach, mops, and other cleaning products. Keep us in the loop.

February 22, 2009 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger Hattie said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


February 1, 2010 at 1:13 AM  

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