Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Spirituality of Poverty and Advocacy (SPA)


Once in a while I discuss the spirituality of my homelessness and advocacy while making one of my many speeches to high schools, colleges, universities and churches. That's not to say that I somehow choose to be homeless in order to fulfill a spiritual mission. True spirituality is not mission-based, as a mission has a beginning, a middle and an end. Spirituality is a state of being that has a beginning and no end; therefore, it can't have a middle. My homelessness and advocacy have been spiritual insomuch as I have learned about the horrors that exist in the most powerful country in the world; I have tapped into abilities that I didn't realize I had; and, I have made various spiritual connections in my mind as to how power is attained (or obtained) and used vs. how it should be used.

Wikipedia defines advocacy as: a political process by an individual or group which aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or conducting exit poll or the filing of an amicus brief. Lobbying (often by lobby groups) is a form of advocacy where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue which plays a significant role in modern politics.[1] Research has started unfolding how advocacy groups in the U.S.[2] and Canada[3] are using social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action.

As indicated by the aforementioned definition, the primary target of my advocacy is government. However, as Hannibal Barca's (Barcid's) army often surrounded the opposing army and then defeated their virtual prisoners in a "circular battle", I too need an army of concerned and/or directly-affected citizens to surround and inundate government with our demands. Unfortunately, many of the people who could make up this “army” are very weak in spirit and disenfranchised. The poor and homeless have accepted their state as their lot in life and those who have sufficient means of survival don't get involved or cease their involvement in advocacy for any number of reasons ranging from having very busy schedules to believing that the poor and homeless deserve what life has dealt them. But so much for building the army. Let's define the reason for the war – spiritual-class war, of course.

The story begins between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago when God (Allah, Jehovah) spoke the world into existence using power and methodologies that transcend human science and work much more quickly and differently than big bang-evolutionary theory can ever understand or account for. During the first 3,000 years of this world's existence, the Creator made known His Laws which included compassion for the poor. Howbeit, He never demanded that able-bodied people be given hand-outs in perpetuity. He DID however command land owners not to pick up crops that were dropped during harvesting or to go over the field a second time. This would allow the stranger, the fatherless and the widow (those who didn't have a man of means in their lives) to “glean” their sustenance from the field. After all the Earth is the Lord's and it is He who brings the increase.

There were several hundred years during which God is not known to have spoken to anyone on Earth. The confused mixture of religions known as Hellenistic Polytheism sprung out of this era. Then came Jesus. He was born into poverty and homelessness. After Jesus at age twelve astounds the elders in the temple, we don't read anymore about Joseph. It is believed by some that the societal (mis)leaders took the home of his widowed mother Mary and that he had her and other widows in mind when he accused the Sanhedrin (pharisees and sadducees collectively) of taking the homes of widows.

There were various other instances during his ministry that were either possibly or certainly intended to send a strong message to those who oppress or ignore the poor. One such possibility was when Jesus turned water into wine. Jewish weddings were major social events that were attended by many. You didn't necessarily have to be a family member to attend. Notable people were served first and the poor were allowed to usurp the leftovers. The lord of the feast clearly stated that the worst wine is usually saved for last. This, of course, means that the poor get the low-quality wine. Jesus, however, “saved” the best for last.

Jesus was certainly speaking against oppression of the poor during his temple rampage. He accused those selling in the temple of turning what should've been a house of prayer into a den of thieves. It qualified as such for at least two reasons. First of all, God allowed the poor to offer turtledoves which they'd caught that were without spot of blemish. Even when a poor person brought a suitable dove to be offered, they were told by those selling in the temple that it had a blemish and that they must purchase a turtledove from the temple. That's when the second act of exploitation took place. The person had to exchange their money for temple currency before purchasing a turtledove and they always lost money in the exchange.

In addition to Jesus living in poverty and commanding his disciples to travel light, he told a rich young ruler who wanted to become a follower that he had to sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor. The man walked away. Christ also told us that there is very little chance of a rich man getting into Heaven. (The “eye of the needle” was a very small doorway that was cut into the city wall. A camel could only come through on its knees with no luggage on its back.) In the parable of the man who planned to build bigger barns, Jesus sent the message that the rich are OBLIGATED to help the poor. The story of a conversation between Abraham who held Lazarus in his bosom while in Heaven and a rich man who'd gone to Hell is believed by many theologians to be true insomuch as it gives the names of two out of three characters. (Maybe Jesus wanted to give other rich men the sense that it could one day be their story – to let them fill in the blank with their own name.) It is worth noting that in both the parable and the true story the rich man simply IGNORES THE POOR and GOES TO HELL. How much more will those who actively oppress and exploit the poor burn for it???!!!

It is also worth noting that Jesus opposed the religious super structure of his day but refused, on more than one occasion, to openly oppose the political super structure. He told those who were speaking supposedly in the name of God how wrong they were; but, he didn't give us any political advice or tell the Romans that they were wrong for anything that they were doing. The Jews wanted a savior to deliver them from the Romans. Jesus was not that kind of savior.

Despite Jesus' avoidance of politics, the disciples began intentional Communist communities as described in Acts chapter 2 verses 42 through 47. It makes sense when you consider the fact that neither partisan politics nor McCarthyism had the place in first century Rome that they have in present-day America. Add to that the fact that people don't need to be political in order to decide that they'll hold all things in common and live together in an intentional community. They just have to care about each other.

The first-century Christians were able to maintain these non-dictatorial Communist communities because, as Galatians 5:22 and 23 tells us: “The fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, GOODNESS, faith, meekness and temperance. Against such there is no law.” Oddly enough, various state and city governments in this country as well as governments in other countries like that of Budapest, Hungary have outlawed acts of kindness like feeding or giving money to the homeless and/or acts whereby the homeless help themselves by sleeping in public places. People in this country (especially in Florida) have actually gone to jail for helping the homeless. Galatians 5:22-23 is no longer true.

Fast forward to 1945. The United States has become a world power. As a matter of fact, they're well on their way to becoming the most powerful nation on Earth. General Eisenhower who was largely responsible for U.S. victory in World War II would become president eight years later and finish his second term in January 1961. He was the first two-term president since term limits were ratified by the states in 1951.

Though term limits were intended to keep a president from becoming a dictator, they've actually caused the office of the U.S. President to evolve into something quite evil. Someone who rules for life after their election, selection or appointment is likely to become a dictator. Someone who has to be re-elected every four years is likely to bear in mind what the voting public wants and to do their best to deliver insomuch as they want to remain in office for as long as possible. Someone who is in their last term no longer needs to satisfy their constituency and is likely to do anything but. This allows a second-term president to wreak havoc on a politically inept public.

Eisenhower fought against dictatorship among other things and was the last of the “non-imperialist two-term-limited U.S. Presidents” – even if what he did opened the door for present-day U.S. Imperialism. I firmly believe that the horsemen of Revelation chapter 6 correspond with the two-term presidents since Eisenhower:

1 – Nixon went out conquering the political climate of his day and turning the office of the president into a vehicle which the wealthy and greedy could use to implement their evil agendas. Though one might point to acts of greed or corporatism that pre-date the Nixon administration, the early 1970's is when we went full-on with the fascistic marriage of government and corporations and with corporate greed. These acts amounted to giving to the wealthy; but, they weren't yet taking noticeable amounts from the poor.

2 – Reagan definitely was given power to make war. He was the last cold war president. I guess you can say that he caused us to “win” the cold war. He built up the military and funded it by cutting funding for social programs. Reaganomics caused inflation to increase exponentially. The higher prices, low wages and decreased social services made it more convenient for the poor to join the military which had just received their former social service dollars. Reagan even made it possible for the poor to get career training if they came home alive. He clearly took from the "non-militant poor".

3 – The third horseman was given a set of balances and went out saying, “A measure of wheat for a day's wages and two measures of barely for a day's wages”. This horseman was promoting low wages and inflation among other things – low ROI (return on investments) at all levels. Clinton implemented the “Welfare to Work” program which looks good on its face. However, the end result of that policy and other socio-economic conditions is a combination of hard work, continued low income and insufficient sustenance for the poor.

4 – That makes Bush 43 “Death”. While governor of Texas, he oversaw 119 executions, pardoning none. As president he used a personal vendetta against Hussein as the pretext for a war that killed hundreds of thousands of people, spent about a trillion dollars on the war industry that was nurtured to maturity by Reagan, decimated an oil-rich country and solidified the U.S. Government's image in other countries as the world bully. We also saw the death of the U.S. presidency insomuch as Cheney seemed to be more in control than Bush. They took the reins of world capitalism and ensured that the U.S. Government would control this destructive beast as much as is possible for any one government to do. It was toward the end of the Bush era that the economy went south in a big way. Bush began the bail-out process which gave ungodly amounts of money to the rich who'd already wasted their means like the prodigal son. He did this at the expense of the poor. Even with Bush 43 out of office, the beast of Capitalism continues to consume the poor.

5 – After mentioning the fourth horseman, scripture tells us that Hades followed close behind. With Bush 43's administration having taken the reins of the destructive super structure of world capitalism, the system of national, state and local governments is becoming more decadent, losing any sense of morality or direction and dying. That leaves Obama to either maintain the status quo or begin something new. It stands to reason that he's beginning something new and that it is so different from what we've known that it's implementation will feel like Hell on Earth for some people.

He's in his sixth year with about 30 months remaining. While he has maintained some of the hurtful policies of his predecessors, he is also known to be one of the softest and sweetest presidents in recent history. I've suspected for some time now that Obama would lord over the de-imperialization of the U.S. – that he would put an end to the practice of the U.S. Policing the world (whether or not that is his intent). That could be Hell for some. If his appointment of a Cuban descendant to the position of HUD secretary is any indication, he could want disadvantaged and oppressed people to advance socio-economically. (There are other political reasons for choosing Julian Castro to lead HUD.) That supposition is turned on its head when you consider how he has not contributed to the social uplift of Afro-Americans. Then again, as was quite clear in his most recent State of the Union address, he loves women as much or more so than I do. It's conceivable that he will do all he can by January 20, 2017 to take power from the men and give it to the women. While it would be Hell for wealthy men, it might cause more to be done for the poor.

There is a way to marry all of those possibilities – the social uplift of disadvantaged groups such as Blacks, women and poor immigrants as well as the end of U.S. Imperialism. After all, it's been more than 50 years since Eisenhower left office and it's been said that a U.S. President affects the country for 50 years after he leaves office. So, it stands to reason that the imperialism that U.S. victory in World War II made possible will now come to an end. That said, the end of U.S. Imperialism doesn't have to be a goal of Obama in order to happen.

On May 20th, 2009 Obama signed into law the HEARTH Act (Homeless Emergency Assistance, Rapid Transition to Housing). Cities and states that receive HUD funding must fully implement it by August 31, 2014 and begin to show decreases in homelessness by 2015. Obamacare elicited some sharp retorts from state governments. Some people went so far as to call Obama a Socialist (a title he should embrace now that he's in his second term). But the HEARTH Act got through, largely unnoticed. It could start a ripple effect that leads to the social uplift of many poor people. Let's hope.

Here in Washington, DC (the “belly of the beast” of capitalism), homelessness rose by 13% from January 2013 (6,859) to January 2014 (7,748). it has probably surpassed 8,000 in this city of +/- 650,000. Fortunately, Kristy Greenwalt who formerly worked for the U.S. Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (USICH) now heads the DC ICH. Given the circumstances, I can assure you that she'll “catch Hell” trying to bring DC up to par. Whether or not DC and various other cities and states succeed at decreasing homelessness, the attempts at implementation are bound to change the public and political discourses in a bigger way than the Occupy Movement did. This could be Hell for the rich. It could be the beginning of a Socialist or Communist revolution. Let's hope. Maybe it will start around the time of my 47th birthday (Feb. 15th, 2016) or sooner. Let's hope.

All of that brings me back to myself and my spiritual journey. Before I first experienced homelessness around Feb. 20th, 1994, I was working a dead-end job in Gainesville, FL. I was OK in this city that has been voted many times (at least 5) by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to be the best city to live in. In short, becoming homeless opened my eyes to the inequities, atrocities and social injustice in the world around me. It has caused me to think about the many things you've just read and to make these and other connections between world events, politics and what the Bible says – especially what it says about spiritual wickedness in high places. Since becoming homeless, I've improved my writing skills and become a public speaker. I often help people to apply age-old scriptures to the here and now. I present some tough logic that flies in the face of excuses that government might give for ignoring the poor. I seek to embolden the poor. All in all, I have become the embodiment of the thinking that is necessary to usher in a Socialist or Communist revolution with a Biblical-spiritual spin. After all, love for the poor is the only Biblical theme that holds fast from beginning to end.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Ending Homelessness: DC's Failure and the World's Efforts


I am known for a number of things that I do – namely for my homeless advocacy. I'm also known for my bass-baritone singing. Then there is my dancing. But this past Tuesday dozens of people were reminded of my propensity for brutal honesty and for being the bearer of bad tidings. After all, homelessness is bad news and the grim reality is that capitalism is a hurtful system that permeates the world. Those who own or control large sums of money are driven by the profit motive and don't want to do anything that will cut into their ungodly amount of profit – such as lowering rents or feeding the poor. And they surely don't want land to be used for the social good of all by, for example, being made available for poor people to build modest homes on. It is truths like these that caused me to add this slogan to my e-mail signature recently: “Asking an advocate for the poor to be nice is like asking a soldier to fight a war without a weapon”.

On Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 the bi-monthly meeting of DC's Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (ICH) took place at New York Ave Presbyterian Church (the church of Abraham Lincoln). Weeks earlier the tabulation for the January 29th point-in-time homeless enumeration had been published, revealing a 13% increase in Washngton, DC's homeless population in one year – as the surrounding counties in the DC metro area posted an overall decrease. During the first public comment portion of the meeting, I told a room full of DC Government personnel and homeless service providers – many of whom make $100,000 or more per year – that we're failing. I stated the astronomical increase in homelessness as the basis for my statement. The city administrator who chairs ICH meetings disagreed and said, “We're not failing. We're facing bigger challenges”. Such statements by city officials begin to explain why some homeless advocates view these meetings as “government masturbation”: government folk making themselves feel good.

I was accompanied to this meeting by Lorena Za`rate, the president of Habitat International Coalition (HIC) which fights for the right to housing in about 120 countries and has gotten other countries to make the right to housing part of their constitutions. She was impressed by the fact that homeless people were allowed to attend and speak at the meeting but appalled by the fact that people are homeless in such a rich and powerful country, let alone being homeless in the capital of that country.

Apart from my mention of the increase in homelessness in DC from 6,859 people in 2013 to 7,748 in 2014 with a population of +/- 650,000, there was no other mention of this disturbing statistic. This was rather alarming to me in lieu of how Sue Marshall, the director of The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP), whose organization oversees the HUD-mandated count has, in past years explained what she believes to be the reasons for the increase or decrease in homelessness. The meeting was extremely subdued and ended earlier than usual, leaving extra time for public comment. Hmmm.

This was the first meeting since Kristy Greenwalt became director of the ICH. She began her cabinet-level job at this newly-created position on April 28th which was only about eight months before the mayor leaves office. Hmmm. She was actively participating in meetings about DC homelessness as far back as December 2013. What made it more peculiar that this failure of the system was only given short shrift was the fact that the federal H.E.A.R.T.H. Act requires DC and other city and state governments to meet certain benchmarks by August 31st in terms of ending homeless, which begins to explain why Ms. Greenwalt was hired toward the end of her boss' term. It should also be noted that Kristy has talked about how most of the ICH's work is done in committee, not at the larger bi-monthly meetings. This is a basic truth about committee structure; but, playing too deeply into it can cause the bi-monthly meetings to become pro forma and pointless.

After the meeting, I introduced Lorena to several people including Kristy. Lorena and Kristy had a brief exchange that I didn't listen in on. Though it stands to reason that they didn't get into any deep philosophical discussion, I almost wish that they had. Those who address homelessness from Washington, DC – at the federal AND local level – stand to learn a lot from a foreigner, especially Lorena Za`rate.

My first encounter with Lorena was on June 15th, 2014 as I exited the annual convention of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT) on my way to the convenience store and she entered the convention. I'd been asked by NAHT to show her around DC. So, I'd taken the time to look her up on-line. As we passed on a concrete island in the middle of the road, I called out, “Lorena!” to which she seemed slightly startled. We spoke and went on our separate ways.

Moments later, we were in the convention hall together. She got to hear me deliver a short but fiery speech. She was on immediately after me. I was thrilled to hear the Marxist leanings in her speech. When she returned to our table, I whispered to her that people would call her a Communist to which she replied, Ï don't care”. I knew then that I loved her.

We spent much time together for the next four days until she had to catch her plane to Canada on the 19th. I brought her to the offices of several agencies that serve the homeless on a local or national level. But during this time I heard her say things that the governments of our nation have yet to sufficiently understand. She opposes the corporate ownership of land and believes that it should be made available for the greater social good. She believes that the right to housing should be granted in any and all national constitutions. She has talked about the need for a well-rounded approach to ending homelessness – one that involves policies that make all of the surplus housing available to the poor and homeless. Lorena Za`rate is a God-send. I love her.

I juxtaposed the most recent ICH meeting and my mention of Lorena Za`rate in this blog post so as to present the problem along with the soluion – a long-standing habit of mine. In times past, I've told the ICH that they should put more attention on housing the “least vulnerable” insomuch as they can be connected to jobs and weaned off of social services whereas the “most vulnerable” will go from shelter to government-subsidized housing but will remain in the system. Helping those who can work will eventually alleviate resources which can then be used on the most vulnerable. This argument represents a solution that has fallen on deaf ears. (I, for years now, have mentioned much simpler ideas such as putting binders containing the descriptions of various homeless and public services in all homeless shelters and day centers so that the homeless can help themselves to this info. That too has yet to be done, as simple and cheap as it is.)

Though city officials aren't likely to tell you this, I have a sneaky suspicion that the profit motive and the unwillingness to attract poor people to DC or even retain the long-time poor residents that are here have a lot to do with this supposed “failure” that I write about. Doing more to assist the least vulnerable would be a tactical solution that wouldn't create a direct afront to the wealthy; whereas, presenting housing as a human right and encouraging public ownership of the necessities of life would be a matter of principle that would indeed create a direct afront to the wealthy. Both are needed. In DC we have neither. That's why we have an ever-increasing number of homeless people.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

DC Putting Shelter Closures and Public Housing Demolition on Fast Track


DC Government is putting the closures of multiple homeless shelters on the fast track. As a man of reason, I understand that shelter is meant to be a stepping stone and not a landing pad. Shelter residents usually have permanent, safe, affordable housing as a goal. However, that goal often remains out of reach for Washington, DC's 8,000 homeless and counting as well as the 70,000 who are on the wait list at the DC Housing Authority with DCHA housing approximately 800 to 1,000 people (about 200 families) per year.

Not only is the shelter which the homeless want to get out of being closed; but, the public housing which they seek to move into is being demolished. In either case, the government's argument is the same: “The building was unfit for human habitation”. Oh how sweet! They care too much about the poor to allow them to remain in a dilapidated building; so, they close down the shelter or public housing complex, only to put the residents into hotels, motels or housing situations that are even more tenuous than the ones they just left.

This is the argument used by former DC mayor Adrian Fenty as he closed the DC Village Family Shelter in 2007 as well as the Franklin School Shelter in 2008. It is presently being used to justify the closure of the DC General Family shelter and could soon be used to expedite the closure of the CCNV (Community for Creative Non-Violence) Shelter. It is also being used to close and demolish the Barry Farm Public housing Complex.

I was recently a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Show along with DC Chief of Police Cathy Lanier. She explained that she thought that public housing was the worst thing to happen to poor people insomuch as it is poorly maintained. I responded by telling her that government officials have become the new “red-liners” who disinvest in poor communities. The difference though is that, unlike when banks were the red-liners, it is the government's duty to maintain these very properties that are falling into disrepair.

The government establishes shelters for the homeless. Bitter-sweet. The government builds public housing for the homeless to move into. Great. The government allows shelters and public housing to fall into disrepair. Horrible. The government declares the shelter and public housing to be unfit for human habitation. So compassionate. This is a behavioral pattern that I refer to as “the facade of caring”. Additionally, DC Government is presenting its negatives as positives by “caring” enough to remove poor people from a building that was neglected by the very government that moved people into that building in the first place.

This is reminiscent of how DC Government patted itself on the back for housing Denise Gibson and her 10-month old baby in December 2011 only to be exposed by a response article in the Huffington Post as the reason for Denise's homelessness in the first place. It seems like DC Government's MO is: Create a problem; solve the problem; get credit for the latter only (unless someone who's paying attention exposes you).

A certain Robert Samuels a writer for the Washington Post recently covered the bad and worsening conditions at the DC General Family Shelter. I don't doubt for a minute that conditions are as bad as residents say they are. Neither do I disagree with the assertion that the building should be closed and demolished. However, other WashPo writers have enough guts and gall to place the blame for the disrepair where it belongs – right in the lap of DC Government. Mr. Samuels wasn't so analytical or brutally honest.

Mr. Samuels also wrote about the fact that the 1,350-bed CCNV/Federal City Shelter recently failed a fire safety inspection. I wondered how they could fail, being that I often hear the alarm sound so loudly and annoyingly that I swear I've seen a dead person or two awakened by it. I can't speak to the operation of the sprinkler system, as I've never seen it in operation. Nonetheless, the article lacked some important facts. It quotes Councilman Jim Graham as saying that conditions in the building are “deplorable”; but, it fails to mention that different parts of the building are currently under renovation. (Much of the Franklin School Shelter was renovated shortly before the September 2008 closure.) Neither did it mention the fact that the CCNV Task Florce which is headed by Councilman Graham has been meeting since October 2013, will dissolve in July 2014 and will offer recommendations to the mayor and the full council as to what should be done with the people and property when the congressional mandate to serve the homeless from this building expires on July 7, 2016.

You might want to know why I'm airing my dirty laundry concerning a presumably new writer here in my blog. Well, I don't have anything against Robert Samuels personally. But he has already been used by the establishment to convey incomplete and misleading statements and present them as facts. I am therefore using that same public arena called the internet to convey the truth. Maybe every time that an article of his is googled, my blog will also show up in the search. Let's hope.

I was taken aback by the mere fact that a fire alarm system not passing inspection even passes as news. That doesn't make sense until you consider how the “facade of caring” is used by city officials as a pretext for gentrifying the homeless and the poor out of DC. I was perplexed by the fact that DC Government didn't simply add maintaining the fire alarm system to the to-do list of those renovating the shelter. There are other aspects to this situation that don't make sense until you know other facts pertaining to development taking place around the shelter as well as how DC Government “works” (for lack of a better term).

The CCNV Shelter has as its neighbors: Georgetown Law School on the north side; Hyatt hotel on the East side; U.S. Dept. of Labor on its south side and the U.S. Tax Court on its west side. Between CCNV and the tax court is a 50-foot deep ravine containing I-395. Beginning at the southwest corner of the shelter and extending at least 5 blocks to the north and to the west is a ginormous construction project that is expected to take 10 years to finish. When all is said and done, there will be a building over the I-395 ravine, as is the case with U.S DOL even now. The area is being spruced up.

It stands to reason that a draconian mayor who is giving DC to the wealthy and well-to-do on a silver platter would want to remove the homeless from this area ASAP. According to the annual contract, CCNV must be given 220 days to vacate the premises in the case of a contract termination. On the other hand, if the building is deemed an immediate danger, it can be closed immediately. Furthermore, the task force is discussing the construction of 900 apartment units and 350 shelter spaces before CCNV is closed. This construction could take until mid-2017, all things considered. And it would enable the poor to remain in DC. A “caring” mayor could declare the shelter unfit for human habitation, close it within 30(?) days, bypass the task force process, not await the new construction and force over 1,000 homeless people out of DC in one fell swoop. Add to this the fact that the homeless of DC only have a right to shelter when the temperature is 32 and below or 95 and above. Early summer is the perfect time for a building maintenance “emergency”.

In closing I'll say that there have been numerous occasions in which people were moved out of a dilapidated public housing complex, promised the right to return and had that promise broken. There have been various occasions in which shelters have been closed due to being poorly maintained and unfit for human habitation. There have been multiple occasions of DC Government receiving praise for solving a problem that they created. The poor and homeless are being pushed around and gentrified. The broader public is being duped into thinking that DC Government is doing what's best for its most vulnerable citizens. The poor are all the worse for it. We need to quit going for the okie doke – ALL of the okie dokes, that is. The facade of caring is being used to hand the city to the wealthy and well-to-do on a silver platter. Period. Full stop.

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