Where Are All The Homeless People?????

Something suspicious is happening to the homeless people of DC. There has been a sharp, sudden decline in the numbers of homeless people that frequent certain parks and other areas of town. The recent murders of homeless people in DC creates a definite cause for concern -- one man having had his head bashed in as he slept outdoors, the other having been beaten by 2 men as the result of a verbal altercation and left to die in front of a grocery store. (In the latter case, video footage shows people walking past the man as he lie incapacitated and dying for 20 minutes.) There have also been at least a half dozen non-fatal attacks on homeless DC residents as they slept outside over the past few months. Putting aside all sensationalism, I don't believe that the decreased number of homeless people in the parks is the result of foul play. If so, it's probably non-violent foul play on the part of Mayor Fenty and/or those acting on his behalf; but, don't quote me on that.

A certain group called Praise 'n Thunder feeds the homeless in McPherson Park every first Saturday. They also give out clothes and other things that the homeless need. Usually there are a couple hundred homeless there to eat their food and receive clothing. This past Saturday, there were only about 50. (Go to www.praisenthunder.org .)

The Church of the Epiphany holds street Church in Franklin Park every Tuesday. Normally there are about 50 homeless people in attendance. This past Tuesday there were less than 20. (Go to www.epiphanydc.org .)

YSOP (Youth Service Opportunities Project) often serves dinner to the homeless at the Church of the Epiphany. They allow up to 40 homeless guests. It's been hard getting 20 to show up lately. (Go to www.ysop.org .)

The homeless who used to sleep on the heating grates on Pennsylvania Ave. are disappearing too. It is suspected that they are being told to leave by one or more of the more than 3 dozen police agencies in DC, though it is not illegal for them to be there.

Many of the homeless were told that they had to move outside of the security perimeter during the inauguration. However, the inauguration took place more than 3 weeks ago.

Another explanation is that many are being housed through the Permanent Supportive Housing Program. If so, that's great. However, I seriously doubt that they are being housed quickly enough to explain the abscences of ALL of the homeless, especially since the housing budget was slashed due to the economic downturn.

I've also learned that DC Government's Dept. of Mental Health will give people one-way tickets out of town free of charge to wherever they want to go within the contiguous U.S. They don't ask many questions and, unlike Travelers' Aid, they don't require the person to have a contact at their destination who can verify that they will be taken care of or have a place to live. It sounds to me like DMH considers these people to be burdens and is glad to rid the city of its mentally ill, many of whom are homeless. While it is not mandatory that the mentally ill accept this offer, I can imagine that many of the mentally ill homeless are being strongly encouraged to accept this offer -- even being given incentives to leave town.

Finally, we all know that DC Mayor Adrian Fenty has become friends with the Obamas and the Bidens, often eating lunch with them. There is much suspicion that Mayor Fenty is trying to make DC "safer" and/or "more attractive" for the Obamas, in part by removing as many homeless people as possible. This is a good lead to follow. Let's find out what is happening to DC's homeless. Where are all the homeless people?????

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