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.
There is the matter of the 2.2 million square
foot, $1.3 billion dollar Capitol Crossing project
across the road
from the CCNV Shelter. This site could be completed as soon as 2023. Nobody in their right mind actually believes the shelter will be allowed by city officials to remain until then. (Many homeless people are anxious to be employed by this construction site across the road from the shelter.)
this case, the developers are very friendly and accommodating, though they may unwittingly play into the city's plan of gentrification by
giving the administration a "constructive" reason to close a shelter
that has drawn a lot of negative attention lately.
John L.Young and Open Door Women's Shelters were scheduled to
relocate from FCS to the former Gospel Rescue Mission location
Chinatown in November 2015 as a result of an initiative by former
mayor Vince Gray. Due to delays in the renovation, that move will take place in early
2016 -- decreasing the building's census by about 200 women. I was told by an administration
official in June 2015 that DC Government does not plan to use the vacated
space at FCS, being that the 75-year old building is dilapidated (and I
believe it sustained some damage during the earthquake of 2012). I'm
wondering when the administration will decide to stop using the 250
hypothermia-season beds, bringing the census just below 900 people.
was on the DC Council in
2013 when there was a hearing about FCS/CCNV at which time
then-Councilman Jim Graham took steps to convene the CCNV Task Force
whose two dozen people and nine months of effort ended with the
passage of a law which contained 17 guiding principles
concrete recommendations) and that essentially gives the mayor (which she was well on her way to becoming when it ended in July 2014) carte
blanche to do as s/he chooses to the 1,350 people that the building can
hold. Some advocates want to meet with the mayor so as to
hash out a plan that satisfies the needs of all FCS residents and
creates ample supports for those who will become homeless in the
I've suspected since as far back as May 2015 that Muriel Bowser is one to fly under the radar and to implement plans that,
taken at face value, look good. It saddens me to say that I think I'm
right. Muriel Bowser, like any politician, doesn't seem to want
people protesting her plans. I get that; but, disliking protests doesn't preclude her from holding
town hall meetings during which people can give meaningful input -- something she has done
for less contentious issues. She
probably knows that almost any plan to close a facility that serves
the homeless will be met with opposition, as was the case with the
Franklin School Shelter
The homeless as well as their advocates
know that, as with the former DC Village Family Shelter
2007, a mayor can promise indefinite housing and claim a year or two
later that there is not sufficient funding for this promised housing
. S/he can then offer to pay people's rents on a sliding scale
over a years time, requiring a family that is caught in the throes of
generational poverty to pay in excess of $2,000 rent for a
three-bedroom. That's not to speak of the fact that the government
apartments that some people are moved into are more “unfit for human habitation” than the shelter
that the government so compassionately moved people out of
. Though there is no shortage of complaints about city shelters
, many realistic homeless parents
realize that it is the closest thing to safe and affordable “housing”
that they have at their disposal right now. For those reasons, they elect to
remain in shelter.
How stupid do they think we ARE!!!
Muriel Bowser was on the council when
DC Village Family Shelter was closed. She witnessed the protests
before and after Franklin School Shelter was closed in 2008. She
would have to be aware that I was a named plaintiff on a lawsuit against the city
in connection with the Franklin School Shelter
closure. She knows that an Occupy DC-affiliated group broke into the building
three years later. She should also know that there were
problems with the implementation of Permanent Supportive Housing
which Fenty used to justify the Franklin closure, only to find that
he couldn't develop a feasible plan for the building
. Some of the
former shelter residents who were among the most vulnerable and
disabled didn't receive the promised “wrap-around” services as
the shelter was closed quickly and haphazardly. Various DC residents
have wondered why, in lieu of the limited renovation options, he was so
adamant about closing the shelter. The answer to that question is
also the primary concern of the city's able-bodied homeless
City officials are aiding gentrification (whether through
intent or ignorance) and actively decreasing the number of low-income rental units – effectively getting poor people “out of the way”.
To further complicate matters, the freight train of gentrification is
so far down the track now that even a good-hearted mayor can't stop
it at this point. Ought she to try???
Mayor Bowser can mount a losing battle
against gentrification; but, who wants to mount a losing battle? She
can make it a point to call out the evil gentrifiers so as to expose
them; but, evil people know they're evil without being told.
are they won't change because you expose their evil. She can actively
contribute to the gentrification process. Or she can do her best NOT
to the injustices that are perpetrated upon the city's
poor by the wealthy and well-to-do. However, Mayor Bowser said less
than a week into her term that she plans to run for re-election. With
city rents rising; the changing demographics making the concerns of
the poor less relevant; and Blacks now comprising less than half of
the city's population, Mayor Bowser has every reason to cater only to
those who make $80,000 or more annually and eat their meals off of China -- where she herself IS right now.
This means that we who are the poor and
our advocates need to fight harder or our defeat is certain. In a
strange twist to Washington, DC's story of gentrification, a
developer recently told me that he has made various efforts to assist
the city's Human Services functionaries in creating newer smaller
shelters to replace the large, decrepit one located across the road
from his recently-completed development; but, the city's Human
Services functionaries have found every reason whereby to obstruct THEIR stated plan to move toward smaller shelters
As stated in a prior post
that as many as 600 of the shelter's 1,350 occupants might be
housed, which looks good on its face. The other 750 will most likely be
other sites or have their bed eliminated when they leave the shelter for a few nights -- similar to what was done with Franklin.
While the (secret?) plan is not all bad, the lack of community
So, let's get the word out and have the homeless community
come together to assert our collective will. After all, government
making decisions FOR us instead of WITH us doesn't do anything to
make homeless people into productive, well-functioning citizens
Nothing about us without us!!!
If a government employee's apartment building were going to be
closed, demolished and rebuilt, that person would want to know as far
in advance as possible. If said government employee wants homeless
people to become responsible adults, they can start by involving the
homeless in conversations that affect them.
failure to plan is a plan to fail:
A failure by DC Government to
connect able-bodied homeless singles to living-wage jobs IS INDEED
(part of) a plan to force them out of the city.
FORCE the administration to give us answers!!!