Showing posts from 2015

Federal Real ID Act's Affect on the Homeless

The Real ID Act which was passed by Congress in 2005 has reared its ugly head as deadlines for states to comply are fast approaching. While many are concerned that adjoining the databases of all 50 states in a system that is administered by the feds will subject the information of all American adults to the same internet security failures that have plagued the Office of Personnel Management and other federal agencies, states are concerned with the price tag. Since some states are using their right to refuse to comply with the feds, this forces residents of those states out of compliance. This could eventually lead to trouble when attempting to board an airplane. However, citizens whose ID or driver's license is not in compliance with federal standards will likely have the option of presenting a passport.

I fly once or twice a year from DC to Florida to visit my aging mother and other family members. Having never left the country, I've never applied for a passport or visa. No…

Revolutionaries, Let's Pit Landlords Against Employers

As recently as 2005 there were many American activists calling for class war. That obviously didn't go anywhere. Many people, like the homeless and the child laborers of the world, are too busy fighting for their daily sustenance to involve themselves in a class war where they'd fight for full systemic change. Therefore, homelessness and extreme poverty persist.
Add to that the fact that the non-profit/industrial complex has evolved to a point where many of the non-profits that ostensibly are pushing for solutions to homelessness and/or extreme poverty are now receiving government funding from a capitalist system. With capitalism being a system that permeates the world, none of the people who benefit from this exploitative system are incentivized to accommodate the less fortunate – unless and until the poor arise. These beneficiaries include obvious entities such as government and the business community as well as the not-so-obvious entities like non-profits that serve the …

The Enemy We Need: Donald Trump (Or A Different Dictator)

Let's be clear: I don't like Donald Trump. Truth be told, it's not because he is an aspiring dictator. After all, I liked Hugo Chavez BECAUSE he tried to become a benevolent dictator who operated above the fray of congressional bickering and BECAUSE he succeeded and sending the message to greedy capitalists that, if they harvested oil or other resources from Venezuela, they would have to put money into his country's economy and thereby help the poor. Dictators tend to be very organized thinkers who are good at uniting their administrations under consistent themes that run across all departments of their respective governments. A certain friend who is retired from USAID has told me that he felt safe while walking the streets of Moscow at 2 AM when Russia had a dictator; but, he wouldn't dare do that now. He emphasized that dictators don't tolerate street crime. That said, a dictator is as good as his theme/agenda. In a free country like the “Untied States” peo…

Chasing the Gingerbread Man: The GOP, ISIS and National (In)security

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that I come to the discussion about terrorism as one who realizes that the world society is a sinking ship that has hit the icebergs of capitalism and political ignorance with all of its occupants now fighting their way to the uppermost deck and many getting thrown overboard into the freezing waters below. My homeless advocacy is more about teaching people what led to this titanic catastrophe than it is about averting disaster at this point.

It was a warm June day in Washington, DC as I stood in the hospital room of homeless advocate Michael Stoops and watched the news about Donald Trump's 2016 presidential bid. Though he wields much influence in my birthplace of Atlantic City (another sinking ship), I've never cared for his show “The Apprentice”. However, when I knew he was running for the highest office in the world, I began paying attention to him and jeering at his outlandish statements; thereby bringing to bear the first tw…

Federal Failures: Homeless Employment And Terrorism

On December 6th, 2015 I spoke at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in DC about the possible closure of the CCNV Shelter c. 2018 and the need to connect able-bodied homeless people to living-wage jobs. I told them about a federal effort to connect homeless people to employment in 1988. That effort ended with about half of the homeless people who took advantage of the program obtaining employment and half of THAT group remaining employed for at least 13 weeks. All in all, a quarter of the homeless people who sought employment through this program remained employed for at least a quarter of a year. 25% is a failing grade anywhere in the world (except the baseball stadium). No robust effort to get homeless people working has been made by the feds in the last 27 years – when Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were in diapers and I was just months into my eventual six-year tenure as a tractor driver (similar to an airport luggage train but used to haul hospital freight) at Shands Hospital…

Extraordinary Birthdays: Bringing Cheer to DC Metro's Homeless Children

Homelessness seems to be quite the intractable problem in the capital of the most powerful nation on Earth – having increased from 5,757 in January 2007 to 7,748 in January 2014 and having decreased by 450 the following year to 7,298. Washington, DC had a 10-year plan that was supposed to end homelessness in the city by the end of 2014. It didn't. The news, in recent years, has been full of reports about the city tearing down homeless encampments, about synthetic drug use near shelters, about deplorable conditions and food-for-sex scams being perpetrated by shelter staff and most memorably about an 8-year old girl who went missing from the family shelter in early 2014. Homelessness is Hell. There's just no other way to put it.
However, there is at least one organization that is working hard to give some of the many children who experience it in Washington a brief respite from the troubles of homelessness which current DC Mayor Muriel Bowser promises to make “rare, brief and n…

Reposted from 9/2/2012: DC's CCNV Shelter is Threatened With Closure AGAIN (2011, 2012, 2015...)

 Below are 2 of the many "threats" of closure that CCNV has received over the years. The portion that describes the 2011 threat also explains why these threats should be taken seriously.

Even so, I promote living-wage employment and affordable-on-the-open-market housing for able-bodied homeless people, not just a better shelter. (But "Dr. D.C. Houser" is currently doing triage -- housing the disabled and families with children in hopes that able-bodied, low-income, single, homeless people will just leave town or die)
From 2012:
On Friday, August 31st, 2012 all 300 men on the third floor of the CCNV shelter received notices from the CCNV administration which, among other things, stated that the shelter might close as early as next year. The Federal City Shelter (which actually has three separate shelters within it) holds 1,350 of what was DC's 7,000+ homeless people (a number we're trying to get back DOWN to in 2015). CCNV holds 950 itself. In April 2013 we w…

Mayor Bowser, What Is the Future of DC's CCNV Shelter??? Jobs for Residents???

Update on the Future of CCNV Because you have a right to know
DC GOVERNMENT has asked me “NOT TO HIT THE PANIC BUTTON” – that is NOT to worry HOMELESS people with a guess of a 2017 or 2018 CCNV shelter closure. So, I made THIS INFORMATIONAL FLYER which I'm sharing in print and electronically. Please click on and share it with any and ALL of your interested contacts.
DC GOVERNMENT insists that NO DATE HAS BEEN SET for the closure of CCNV.
Nonetheless, I suspect that DC Mayor Muriel BowserMIGHT be developing plans to close the Federal City Shelter which is also known as the Community for Creative non-Violence or CCNV before the end of 2017, but probably not before the presidential inauguration following what I believe will be a Clinton/Sanders victory in November 2016. I've been asked by the administration not to speak "definitively" about the mayor's plans irrespective of what I see happening in the neighborhood.
There is the matter of the 2.2 million square foot, $…

My Appointment to DC Inter-agency Council on Homelessness

No one who knows me can imagine me feeling a need to be validated by the system. After all, I began advocating in June 2006 -- less than two weeks before the first ever DC ICH meeting. I've been involved with this body for the entirety of its existence thus far, missing very few of the big meetings which used to be bi-monthly but are now quarterly.

However, Kristy Greenwalt became its first director on April 28th, 2014 and is implementing a number of changes -- some for the purpose of bringing the ICH into compliance with new federal regulations. In February 2015 other advocates and I were informed of ICH positions that were being created or becoming open. I made it a point to apply -- which has proven to be a lengthy process. Fast-forward nine months to November 4th, 2015. On this day there was a nomination hearing in front of Council Chairman Phil Mendelson. I was one of 12 applicants who testified. While I'm not sure how many seats were open, I know that only three of the …