Showing posts from February, 2011

A New direction for the Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (ICH) -- and it might include affordable housing FINALLY

On February 24th, 2011 Washington, DC's Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (ICH) had it's first bi-monthly meeting of the year. The ICH was established in 2006 and is mandated by a local law called the Homeless Services Reform Act of 2005 (HSRA). It, by law, is chaired by the city administrator and includes heads of various departments of DC Government along with homeless service providers, homeless advocates and the homeless themselves. The HSRA states that there must be at least 4 meetings per year; but, the ICH has been in the habit of meeting 6 times per year. The bi-monthly meetings are open to the public and there are usually about 100 people in attendance.

Thursday's meeting was the first time this body has convened under the administration of newly-elected DC Mayor Vincent Gray. Furthermore, Councilman Tommy Wells no longer has oversight over Human Services, but has been replaced by Councilman Jim Graham in that capacity. Clarence Carter has resigned as the …

Don't Just Watch The Government Dispossess Us! Fight!

On Valentine's Day in Washington, D.C more than 60 people came out to the Russell Senate Building to defend affordable housing with the message "Have a heart; save our homes." With Congress and the Obama administration looking to cut the deficit on the backs of poor and working people (in effect dispossessing them), this protest brought a human face to the cuts. Demonstrators formed a picket line outside the building carrying signs that said, "Don't balance the budget on the backs of poor people" and "We the people need housing, No cuts to Section 8." The demonstration was organized by local non-profits Empower D.C. and One D.C., who joined with hundreds of tenants from about two-dozen cities for this coordinated day of action.

Because D.C. doesn't have senators, groups of people who live in Section 8 buildings in the city visited Senate offices, including that of Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin. While meeting with Hill staffers, protesters dem…

Homeless Women Being Mistreated At Open Door Women's Shelter

During the media blitz that I was the subject of this past December, it was said that I stopped police harassment at a certain women's shelter. While that assertion is substantially correct, the facts are a little off. Women who stay at the Open Door Shelter were leaving at 7 AM (when the shelter closes) and buying breakfast at the food court on the first floor of the Judiciary Square government building (441 4th Street NW, Washington, DC)

Even though the food court seats 200 people easily and hardly ever has 50 or more people in it, the women were being told to leave by security -- sometimes right after they'd purchased their food. One particular cop was especially notorious for his crass manner in dealing with these women. due to my intervention, he has been re-assigned and the homeless women are able to eat in peace and stay warm in this de facto shelter -- to get the homeless 2-for-1: buy food and/or drink and also benefit from the warmth.

Well, now the mistreatment is co…