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SHARC's efforts to meet with Mayor Gray

It is the mission of SHARC to engage the poor, homeless, formerly homeless, community activists and concerned citizens in advocacy efforts for the poor and under-privileged community with an emphasis on self-advocacy.

SHARC's efforts to meet with Mayor Gray

Below is an article which I recently wrote and am trying to have published. It describes the trouble that DC homeless advocates are having getting a meeting with Mayor Vincent Gray. I delivered hard copies to the Washington Post and the Examiner on December 10th, 2012. On December 11th Mayor Gray was the first mayor to visit an Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (ICH) meeting. On that day I got a card from his special assistant as the mayor told me to set up a meeting through him. hopefully this will cause things to take a turn for the better.....

To whom it may concern,

I am Eric Jonathan Sheptock, a relatively well-known homeless advocate in Washington, DC. Since I began advocating in June 2006 in opposition to former mayor …

Politicizing Homelessness: SHARC is Attacking Mayor Gray on Homelessness (Inaccessibility and Lack of Transparency)

Well, as has been the case for the past few months, I've been so busy going to meetings and pounding the pavement that I've not blogged regularly -- and when I do, I have a lot to say. And SHARC as a whole has been doing a lot. We've asserted ourselves in such a way that neither DC Government nor the council can ignore us and we've begun to "politicize homelessness" for this generation -- with the hope of finding lasting solutions.

November 26th, 2012 was a good day for SHARC (Shelter, Housing And Respectful Change). We had a friendly visit with Councilman Jim Graham who has oversight of the Human Services Committee, asserted ourselves in the mayor's executive office and got word that a homeless service for which we'd sought a pardon has received a reprieve and will be kept open through hypothermia season (until 3/31/13) as opposed to closing on November 30th, 2012. Even the sharp e-mail exchange which I had with DC Mayor Vincent Gray's chief of s…

SHARC Update and Discussion Points for November 5th Meeting

1 – SHARC has weathered the storm and made the best of a mess. Though Sandy “rained on our parade” by forcing the cancellation of an event which we spent five weeks planning and organizing, it hasn't discouraged us from trying again. We'll come back bigger and better the next time.

There is no need to consider what possible shortcomings SHARC may have exhibited during the storm. Given the fact that we had many food donations, the rain date would have been the next day (Tuesday) during which the government was shut down. Sandy was an unpredictable storm which we only found out on the 26th was going hit us on the 29th of October (the day of our event). That said, the five weeks leading up to October 29th were a true show of our increased organizing ability. So, let's give ourselves a hand, dust ourselves off and chart the path forward.

As a result of Sandy, SHARC members were able to:

begin the conversation around bringing three councilmembers together in a meeting. They are…

Back to "Bad"

In 2011 hundreds of homeless advocates and concerned citizens came out in force to demand that the DC Council find money to fill the gap for a $20.5 million budget shortfall in the Fiscal year 2012 homeless services budget. Had they not found it, DC's homeless community would only be guaranteed shelter for the five coldest months of the year. They found $17 million. This year the shortfall was only $7 million for FY 2013 which began October 1st but the same threat was presented along with a possible reduction in funding for feeding programs and transitional housing.

It was determined in the last week of September that DC Government's tax revenue was $140 million above the projection. Additionally, the Dept. of Youth and Rehabilitative Services (DYRS) and the Dept. of Child and Family Services (DCFS) have underspent their budgets by a combined $36 million which leaves DC Government with at least $176 million to put in savings or reverse budget cuts. However, with the lingering …

2,000 DC Homeless Forced Into the Streets in 2013

Washington, DC has to date been kinder and more accommodating to its homeless community than most other U.S. cities. This truth is borne out in the statistics and touted by the homeless themselves. But, as if being labeled "kind and accommodating" is somehow a negative thing, our nation's capital is in a race to catch up with the draconian policies of other cities that forbid the feeding of poor people and make it a crime to be poor. Unless something is done to arrest the process, a year from now 2,000 more of DC's 7,000+ homeless people will lose their shelter and then run the risk of being arrested for vagrancy as several separate but inter-related policies that affect the homeless go into play.

[But before I make the case against these policies, it is important to note that the public is often too quick to ostracize and criticize the homeless community without understanding the issue. Homeless people who are not suffering from mental illness (the majority) do not…

FAMILY: Seeing My Mother/Family Face-to-Face for the First Time in 18 years

My mother's sermon on her 75th birthday

Many homeless people have lost contact with their families for various reasons and I'm no exception to the rule. In some cases, it's in direct connection with them having become homeless. I would dare say that, more often than not, it is the homeless person's sense of shame and not the family's rejection of them which is to blame for the loss of contact. In other cases, a person becomes a substance user and gives little or no thought to the concept of family. Still others develop mental illness that diminishes their ability to relate to or interact well with others and which may even cause them to develop unacceptable, problematic behaviors that their families are not capable of dealing with. Then again, even homeless people can have falling outs, vendettas or long-standing disagreements with family members just like housed people often do, as was the case with me. Nonetheless, my story ends well. As a matter of fact, things …

REPOSTED from August 27th, 2009: A PERSONAL STORY -- Contacting my mother after 11 years of not speaking

REPOSTED from August 27th, 2009 in lieu of my recent trip to Florida for my mom's 75th birthday.....

TREAT: My mother's sermon on her 75th birthday

Millions of people around the world have heard about my advocacy efforts for the homeless community of Washington, DC. I've been quoted or written about in the New York Times, Washington Times and Washington Post. I've been on WPFW Radio, NPR (National Public Radio) and CNN. I've even been on a Russian TV station that broadcasts to 100 million people.Few are they who know anything substantial about me as an individual.

So, here it is. I was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. At the age of 8 months old, my skull was fractured by my biological mother. I then spent 5 years in a foster home, before being taken in and eventually adopted by Rudy and Joanne Sheptock. With the focus of this post being a recent reunion with my adoptive mother, I won't delve into the details of my childhood or what it was like growing up in …