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 purpose. See the e-mail below:

"I often go around the corner to the John L. Young Women's Shelter to check on them. I went by there yesterday at 5:30 PM and saw dozens of women standing in a light but continuous rain, the kind we've been having for the past couple of days. It is not unusual for me to see 2 or 3 women out there at any given time, even in bad weather. Some just make irrational choices because of having some degree of mental illness. Certain ones exit the shelter at 7 AM and just sit outside of it until 7 PM when they can go back in. I think that we should really do something for those women.

But the primary reason for me sending this message is that I saw literal dozens of them standing out there in the rain and I realized that it was due to Thrive DC being closed on Friday evening. Thrive DC (the 9:30 Club) feeds men, women and children in the morning, Monday through Friday. But they feed just women and children in the evening, Sunday through Thursday. Circumstances came together in a negative way yesterday, as Thrive DC was closed and it happened to be raining, with the women having no place to wait for the shelter to open. This is conducive to illness, like pneumonia.

Let's bear in mind that Thrive DC is relocating to Columbia Heights and the women won't be able to walk around the corner to a place where they can stay dry and warm on days like yesterday (and today) until the shelter opens. What happened yesterday (and promises to happen again today) will happen much more often when thrive DC ceases operations at its present location, opening 12 days later at St. Stephen's Church (at 16th and Newton, NW). This will lead to a spike in preventable illnesses. Please attend to this matter ASAP."


Anonymous said…
if you think standing in the rain is bad. check out that the ladies are supposed to leave at 7am, but lately they have been sending them out at 630 so they can clean, detail is in the shelter all day to clean, so why they have to clean so early and put the ladies out, i know they are complaining that money is low, does that mean the ladies should use a disposable cup twice or three ties, that place needs to be shut down
Anonymous said…
I am a resident in the John L. Young shelter and I must say, on some days, it is pure hell! Staff allows security to bang on our bunk beds to wake us up at 6 am. I asked the officer not to do that again and her response was that I was lucky that she didn't have her flash light on her! I thought she was kidding until I saw her face and how she started to get offended. She also told me that the bed I was occupying didn't belong to me! While, I'm here to tell you that as long as my name is assigned to the bed, it does. Furthermore, disfacing government property is not an option or a part of Office Baylor's (from Prince Security in Washington DC) job description.

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