Showing posts from May, 2011

What More Are You Willing To Fight for????? Affordable Housing? The Human Right to Housing?

This will be the main topic of discussion at the next Homeless advocacy meeting at the CCNV Shelter. But it is a good question for all homeless/housing advocates to address:

Now that the DC Council has restored funding for homeless shelters and certain other Human Services, will you be satisfied or fight for even greater improvements like the creation of affordable housing and the realization of housing as a Human Right?

Come answer this question with us.

The homeless have begun to organize around the proposed budget cuts to Human Services. We have been meeting weekly at the CCNV (Community for Creative Non-Violence) Shelter since late April. Meetings are:

1 PM to 3 PM

425 2nd street NW
Washington, DC 20001-2003
(2 blocks from Judiciary Square Metro and 3 blocks from Union station -- both on the Red Line; D6 or D3 buses.)

In the basement
(accessed from sidewalk on 2nd Street)

All concerned citizens who want to do something about homelessness (and other societal ills) are welco…

DC Homeless People march on City Hall

On April 14th, 2011, the Coalition of Housing and Homeless Organizations (COHHO) held its monthly meeting. We discussed the devastating impact that Mayor Vincent Gray's proposed budget cuts to Human Services for FY 2012 will have on DC's poor and homeless community. (There were about 30 people in the room of which about 5 were homeless or formerly homeless.) A formerly homeless man asked, "Who's going to tell the many poor and homeless people in DC about the cuts that are going to affect them?" In response to his question, several people said that they would remain after the meeting to plan an outreach strategy.

I secured a meeting room in the basement of the CCNV (Community for Creative Non-Violence) Shelter and we scheduled a meeting for April 26th.(There were about 30 people in the room of which about 25 were homeless or formerly homeless.) That Tuesday we decided to meet every Monday thereafter. At the May 2nd meeting we had about 50 people present. Then…



Some of the shelters in Washington, DC are threatened with closure in less than a year. The "Doom's Day" Date is April 1st, 2012. This is nothing new. We've been here before. But it's definitely much worse this time around. When the Randall Shelter was closed the 801 East Shelter was opened as a replacement. (I believe it was in early 2005, the year I moved to DC and a year before I became a homeless advocate.) When the DC Village Family Shelter was closed in October of 2007, families were placed in a housing program (though I've been told unofficially that some have since been ejected from the program and are sleeping in cars with their little ones). When Franklin School Shelter was closed, the Permanent Supportive Housing program was initiated and has since housed at least 1,200 people. But now the conmversation is about closing several shelters which hold at least 1,300 homeless people total. Prog…

What Is The Truth About DC Government's Budget Woes?????

On March 11th, during the Human Services Budget Oversight Hearing, many people listened to the testimonies of 4 young mothers who were denied shelter during the winter right along with their little ones. Several of them told of how they were given bus tokens by those who are contracted with the city to provide shelter to families with children and were then told to ride the bus all night in order to stay warm. One mother told of how she gave birth on February 10th, left the hospital on the 12th and slept in the Greyhound Station or the stairwell of an unsecured apartment building with her baby for the entire first month of his life.

On April 19th, during the ICH (Inter-agency Council on Homelessness) meeting, Fred Swan of DHS (the Dept. of Human Services) explained that the budget for Fiscal Year 2012 contained a $20.5 million budget shortfall for Homeless Services -- a line item that usually runs right around $60 million. During the pre-meeting he led an exercise that was designed to…