Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Michael Stoops of the National Coalition for the Homeless Is Hospitalized

 Donate on behalf of Michael Stoops

It saddens me to report that MichaelStoops of the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) has fallen quite ill. He was found on Sunday, June 7th, 2015 collapsed on the floor at the office where he worked about 70 hours per week. It is good that this very private man had his health crisis at the office rather than while home alone. It would have been better for him not to have had a health crisis at all. I received two calls about Michael on Monday and have visited him on Tuesday and today, June 10th.

With Michael's next of kin being his sister who lives in Indiana, the hospital has designated Jerry Jones of NCH, Michael's sister and a close family friend as the three contacts who are privy to the prognosis reports. Even so, NCH might not have the capacity to field innumerable calls.

People are coming together to figure out both how best to support Michael through his recovery and how to fill his shoes in both the immediate and in the long term. One of the ways in which it's been agreed that I can be helpful is by posting information pertaining to visitation and, in the most discreet manner, by keeping people abreast of his prognosis. I've been asked to divulge the following information:

Though Michael's work benefits the 4,000,000 Americans who experience homelessness each year, he has always been the “slight man in the basement office”. He never cared to be in the lime light, though it's hard for me to imagine you reading 10 articles about national homeless trends without seeing his name. That said, we should try not to crowd the waiting room with visitors.

BE ADVISED that, while the ICU waiting room at George Washington University Hospital has about 30 seats, the medical staff will not allow more than three people to visit Mike at one time – up from the usual two-person limit because Michael touches so many lives. I've warned Nurse Joanna “Jo” that, hypothetically speaking, there could 15 people who come separately or in five groups of three to see Michael and unwittingly crowd Michael's space. If this should be the case, no more than three people will be allowed at Michael's bedside at a time. Just this morning I was there with two other people when a fourth arrived and had to wait.

BE FURTHER ADVISED that there is limited metered parking. You can park at the University Parking garage on H Street NW between 22nd and 23rd streets (under the Science and Engineering Hall. The first hour is $10. The second hour is an additional $6. The daily max is $22. Add an 18% DC parking tax to each. The weekend daily max is $12. HOWEVER, the subway entrance for the Foggy Bottom Station (orange and Blue Lines) is less than 50 feet from the hospital entrance.

Staff and interns at NCH are discussing how they'll mitigate this situation and will let it suffice that they address such matters internally. However, they've brought a book to Michael's bedside to be signed by the many visitors we expect him to have. While we encourage all who feel the urge to go and visit Michael Stoops and to sign the book while there, NCH is working to create alternate means whereby people can send their well wishes. There will soon be an e-mail address and possibly other electronic alternatives like a Facebook page that people can send their well wishes to. There is much value in these printed well wishes (hard copy and electronic) insomuch as they can be read to Michael by visitors, serve as indications to his sister and other loved ones of how many lives he touched and be used to compile an on-line tribute to Michael's life and work.

Michael experienced homelessness in 1961 at age 11 while living with his grandfather. He decided to commit himself to addressing homelessness. He joined the peace Corps and later worked for Americorps Vista. Michael was involved in the “Mitch Snyder Movement” of the 70's and 80's. NCH was established in 1982 and served as the fiscal sponsor for the Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV) Homeless Shelter until the latter achieved 501(c)3 non-profit status. NCH housed the original office of Street Sense until the latter moved to 1317 G Street NW. He and others from the "Mitch Snyder Movement" influenced the creation of organizations like the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. The “slight man in the basement office” was behind efforts that led to:

1 – Homeless people obtaining the right to vote in every state and the District
2 – Unprovoked attacks against homeless people being designated as hate crimes
3 – The exposure of “bum fight” videos wherein mentally incompetent and/or chemically-dependent homeless people where paid to participate in videotaped fights
4 – Tens of thousands of people in thousands of high school, college, university and church groups learning about homelessness
5 – Reports and news pieces that address the atrocity that is American homelessness and that offer solutions.

Other NCH speakers and I often tell the groups to whom we've spoken “NCH has successfully sued every department of the federal government.....with the exception of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. And if they ever deny a camping or a fishing license to a homeless person, we gonna sue them too. So, you can imagine that the folk at the Department of Fish and Wildlife are saying, 'you're homeless??? you want a camping or a fishing license??? you got it, man!!! Just don't sue us. Let us maintain our designation as the one department of the federal government that has never been sued by NCH' (successfully of unsuccessfully)”.

Michael's mild manner belies the fierceness of his dedication and the breadth and depth of his impact on the lives of millions of homeless people and the work of many advocates. He is a force to be reckoned with. The rather unassuming “slight man in the basement office” is already being missed as he lies in his hospital bed. Let's hope that he has a speedy recovery.

But regardless of how Michael comes out of this current situation, the advocacy community needs to chart a path forward in which Michael plays a less active advisory role. We should start by:

Showing the awesome hour-long film “Promises to Keep” which can be obtained on DVD or streamed off of the web and discussing how advocacy and the state of homelessness have advanced since 1988 when the renovation of the Federal City Shelter/CCNV was completed.

Asking WHUT which is our local PBS affiliate to do an updated version of “Promises to Keep” which highlights the piecemeal closure of the shelter which will begin in the fall of 2015 and which includes segments about the good and bad trends in homelessness that have occurred on a local and national basis as well as the federal and local governments' reactions to these trends.

Thank you

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Still Arranging to Meet Big Sister Who Saw Me Abused & Taken in 1969

This is a follow-up to the post I did yesterday (6/7/15) concerning the biological sister whom I just learned that I have. If you haven't done so already, I suggest that you read that post before continuing to read this one:

As it turns out, my sister and I both have our financial struggles with hers having prevented us from speaking, even though we have had each others numbers for one week today – 6 /8/15 (which is also exactly four months since the day that I met the first of two women whose website led to this reunion-in-the-making). As it turns out, I am having some timely fortune which will enable me to pay the $80.00 she needs for her phone bill. I'll have $300.00 this week in addition to my phone being paid for three months. I make semi-regular speeches to groups from colleges, universities, high schools and churches who travel to Washington, DC to do services trips during which they learn about homelessness. (It was one such speech that caused me to meet Lalita – one of the French creators of the website where my niece found me.) I also have benefactors who help me out from time to time. As chance would have it, I'm guaranteed to have $300.00 this week – a feat I tend to pull off every two to four months. I'll speak to Valerie by tomorrow evening, most likely.

In the interim, we've been texting. Through at least a couple hours of texting total on Saturday and Sunday, I've learned a lot about our biological parents and what Valerie has been going through both as a child and as an adult. Her four children – ages 12 to 26 – have heard about their uncle throughout their lives. This led to my niece Turquoise (22) finding me on-line. I asked if she was the most tech-savvy or it was just a chance happening and was told by her mother that it was the latter.

My sister Valerie who was three when my skull was fractured (me having been eight months old at the time) and when I was gladly given by our mother to the Department of Youth and Family Services continued to ask about me for the next seven years – and got beaten each time. She finally learned not to ask anymore. At 10 years old she found a birth card with my name on it – spelled “Erick" as opposed to how I've spelled it since I learned to write which is “Eric”. A certain Huffington Post article (of which there are at least three about me) spelled my name “Erick” and when I Googled that article by using their spelling, Google “corrected” me by asking, “Do you mean 'Eric Sheptock'?”. LOL.

I told her that I actually returned to Atlantic City in 1994 at age 25 to search for my birth parents and asked Valerie what years either of them passed. It turns out that our mother passed in 2005 and our father passed in 2007, neither having had any more children. Valerie also explained that, while our father loved me, our mother would not have met with me if I'd been successful at finding her in 1994. As for our biological father, he died within months of me learning to use computers and that didn't leave a very big window of time for me to find him – the facts that finding people was not the first thing I learned to do on computers and that I didn't know which parent was to blame notwithstanding.

In any instance, Valerie is glad that I was eventually taken in by a loving family whom I often talk about. I'll speak to a group tomorrow (6/9/15). As is sometimes the case, I'll need to amend my story. I usually talk about the National Coalition for the Homeless which arranges these speeches and other events, followed by my personal story and then an explanation of homelessness in general – usually with a political slant. In recent weeks I've reported on the good things that current DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is doing to decrease homelessness in our nation's capital. When I tell my story, I sometimes say, “I don't know which one did it, what they did it with, why they did it, where they are now, if they ever got caught and did time or the name of the person who found me”. The words just roll off of my tongue. I've actually told that part of my story for the past 28 years, pre-dating my homelessness and advocacy. I'll need to amend my story starting tomorrow.

The part of my life with the Sheptocks that I don't say or write much about is the conflicts that occurred – partly because I'm expected by many who hear me to be so eternally grateful and utter not a mumbling word and partly because familial conflicts are so common that I expect others to understand and accept them as a normal part of life. With my mother Joanne Sheptock having been the dominant parent – the one who ran the house and the chief disciplinarian – it's not hard to imagine that there were many disagreements that ran along the lines of male rationale vs. female emotion. Such is the case in many such families, if not any such family. Such was the case with ours. To this day I abhor the thought of “Mom” (Joanne Sheptock) publicly describing my life with her from a female emotional perspective. What man doesn't hate how Mom brings up childhood occurrences which he believes do nothing to define him as a man???

The conflict between rationale and emotion is further exacerbated in my case by the fact that I was abused. This gave Mom the space to assert that any anger which I expressed as a child was a result of the abuse and subconscious resentment that I was harboring. I had the hardest time getting her to see that I was upset about what was then an immediate situation – and don't know that I ever actually succeeded in this respect. It was as though I was expected to be super-human by never getting upset about anything lest it be seen as a subconscious response to my traumatic past which I told her that I don't even remember.

I would argue as a 10- or 15-year old that she was attributing more power to my sub-conscience than to my conscience and that she doesn't know how I would have turned out if I'd not been abused, being that it happened. She would fire back with her emotional assertion, “Mommy just KNOWS you wouldn't be so angry if that hadn't happened!” Little did she realize that her refusal to immediately succumb to the rational conclusion that “we can't know with certainty what would have been” was itself upsetting me further during those conversations.

One of the most recurrent arguments was about her not allowing me to play football. I'd sometimes sneak in a game; but, when she found out, we'd argue. She'd claim that I “refused to accept my limitations” and that I “had misplaced anger”. I often longed to get her to see that I was a normal kid with normal kid desires as opposed to her always building her assessment of my attitudes around an event that I don't even remember. Needless to say, I'm a bit skeptical when I hear anyone talk about the sub-conscience. Though I don't play much of anything as a man, it was difficult to have an over-protective mother prevent me from being fully involved with my father and brothers. It would have been made easier if she had said less about me being resentful and more about me having normal boyish desires which she laments not being able to let me live out.

My “Dad” Rudy Sheptock loved a “good worker”. I've witnessed Mom telling him about the bad behavior of myself or a sibling while he was at work, only to have him respond with “So-and-so is a good worker”. She told him that their good work didn't excuse their bad behavior – a point I, as a man, agree with in principle. While I WOULD work with my father and brothers in the yard on Saturday mornings and shovel snow whenever there was a need to, Mom would often call me in earlier than the others. That always upset me. We'd often argue about that. One time her errands took her past me as I mowed grass during a summer job I had at 17. She asked how long I'd been out there. It had been several hours. She told my boss to have me do something else. I wasn't happy, though I don't recall us arguing about that particular incident.

Dad had no tolerance for “sissies”. If a brother got a small cut or bump while doing yard work and began to whine, Dad would say, “You little sissy!!! Go inside with your mother and the girls!!! We only want men out here!!!” (That was one of his oft-repeated spiels that is etched into my memory. I didn't want to have it directed at me.) In one very memorable incident, Mom and I were arguing about her having called me in early. Dad came by and I, with tears in my eyes, uttered his “sissy statement”. He then said he'd make an exception for me. Oddly enough, that argument took place near a wall where my father had posted several pieces of poster board with different Bible verses which he's markered in. Directly above my head at that moment was a poster board that read “II Thessalonians 3:10: …..If any man does not work, neither should he eat”.

I've done a number of dangerous jobs in my adulthood and worked eight or more hours at a time in the south Florida summer heat – having lived in Jacksonville and Miami, Florida as well as points in between. At different points in time, I've thought about how that, if Mom had anything to say about it, I might not be doing that. She has changed somewhat in that past 25 years and we get along much better now. I sent a text to her land-line phone around midnight on Saturday, not realizing it would ring and wake her. (I've never received a text on a land-line phone.) She woke and we spoke. She knows about my sister having found me and that I plan to visit.

I AM grateful to Rudy and Joanne Sheptock for raising me. Facebook users recently asserted that women who were not sexually assaulted by the men in their lives should not be compelled to publicly thank those men for doing the right thing or for not doing the wrong thing. Concerning my adoption, I would say that I only owe Mom (with Dad being deceased) the usual amount of thanks that one would expect from a biological son. I've always seen her as “Mom”. We've had the usual arguments that accompany family life. We've had some arguments that were specific to my special situation. In spite of our bad times, we've also had good times; and I still love her. She's “Mom”. That's it. That's all.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Reuniting with Sister After Severe Child Abuse and Over 45 Years Apart

I was just found electronically by my sister whom I haven't seen since I was eight months old and she was thee years old. We've yet to talk or meet face-to-face, as she works out her phone issues; but, we've messaged each other. I've learned that she was traumatized at three as she was forced by our biological mother to watch as I was abused for my first eight months of life, culminating with my skull being fractured. Valerie has wondered about her little brother since that fateful day in October 1969. I, of course, was too young to remember that she existed. That said, our reunion is more for her than it is for me, as I've known that I was alright -- though I'd absolutely love to meet her. She still lives in my birthplace of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

I was born as Eric Gooden on February 15th, 1969. Valerie said that I was born with water on the brain (hydrocephalus). She also told me that our mother had many issues – I'm guessing some level of mental illness -- and that both parents are deceased. I guess that fracturing my skull may have been our mother's demented way of getting the water off of my brain. Val says that our father really loved me; but, our mother gladly gave me up for adoption to the Dept. of Youth and Family Services.

I spent almost five years in Foster care – also in Atlantic City. My foster mother, Esther V. L. Racks (a retired nurse), was elderly and my adoption had to be expedited. (I learned in 1994 that she died in 1978 or 1979.) In August 1974 Rudy (1932-2000) and Joanne (1937-present) Sheptock picked me up from Atlantic City and got a girl named Becky from Morristown, NJ on the same day. We were numbers nine and 10 of what would become a total of 37 children who would be raised by this couple – one having died in 2007.

In August 1975 the family moved from Chester to Peapack, NJ. That month we both got adopted, at which time I became Eric Jonathan Sheptock and she became Mary Elizabeth Sheptock. My adoptive mother (the one I call “Mom”) told me when I was six years old that I had to decide if I wanted to be adopted and that, if so, I had to choose a name from the Bible. You can see what I chose in both cases. The rule for all 10 sisters was that their first name had to be “Mary”.

Throughout the late 70's and early 80's my parents were guest speakers at different churches, pro-life meetings, Salvation Army gatherings and the like due to the size of our family. We were filmed, photographed and interviewed by many media outlets. My parents would often put my siblings and me on-stage at their speaking engagements and have us sing “Jesus Loves Me”, “Jesus Loves the Little Children” or even a song written by my brothers Rudy and Robert. In 1980 a book about our family was published by Logos Publications and entitled “Our Growing Family”. It lived up to its name, as my parents only had 21 kids when it was written and got 16 more later on.

Beginning on December 26th, 1984 and going through March, 1985 we moved from Peapack, NJ to Interlachen, FL. I graduated from Hollister Christian Academy in Hollister, FL in June 1987, went to Georgia for a few months and returned to Florida where I would eventually get a job at Shands Hospital in Gainesville at UF. When I left that job in February 1994 I returned to Atlantic City to see if I could find my birth parents. Having a relatively good memory, I thought that my name at birth was “Eric Goodwin”. I would learn from “Mom” as I was heading back to Florida that it was “Eric Gooden”. Needless to say, my search was unsuccessful.

However, I disclosed my story to several people while I was there in A.C. And they laid into me pretty hard by telling me that it was foolish for me to seek out my birth parents. They said my biological parents might just finish me off this time. I admittedly was holding back tears as they spoke. I've yet to learn when either biological parent died; but, it looks as though these people might have been right concerning my mother – not so much when it comes to my father.

I made no more attempts to find my birth parents, even though I moved to Washington, DC in the summer of 2005, began using computers in November 2006 (as part of my homeless advocacy) and heard years ago that I could review adoption records at the Library of Congress. I've had fleeting thoughts from time to time about someone from the family of my birth finding me on-line. As my on-line presence continued to grow, those fleeting thoughts became more frequent, though I kept quiet about them. As it turns out, that's what led to this reunion-in-the-making.

On February 8th, 2015 I was guiding a group of university students through DC to speak to the homeless and give out care packages when I came by the McPherson Subway Station and saw a woman who I assumed wasn't homeless moving among the homeless people with a camera in her hand. I asked who she was and what she was doing there. Long story short, she was doing a documentary about what it's like to be in a relationship while homeless and I ended up helping her and a lady friend (both French natives of mixed origin) to navigate DC's homeless community.

The documentary website is now up. A 22-year old woman named Turquoise posted a comment on the site, explaining that she might be my niece and that her mother had an emotional need to know what happened to the little brother she hadn't seen in over 45 years. Turquoise and her mother both live in A.C. still and enough of the facts matched for me to be convinced that we are indeed from the same biological family. I found my niece on Facebook and posted my cell phone number. Days later, I got a text from her mother Valerie. With text being all she currently has the capacity for, I've learned several of the facts stated herein from my older sister.

When I met Lalita at the subway station, I never imagined it would lead to this!!! That connection led to me meeting Ariane on March 6th, 2015. (I love them and there's not a damn thing they can do about it!!!) Our project included the creation of the website. My niece visited the website, though I'm not sure what led her there. Ariane who has returned to Europe viewed the site from across the Atlantic Ocean and told Lalita to tell me to visit the site and view the comment. I did. Lalita gave me Turquoise's e-mail – site moderator's privilege. I e-mailed Turquoise. I then found my niece on Facebook where I posted my number. I then got texted by my sister days later. We've yet to speak or visit. I'm still working on completing the connection. In any instance, it's almost crazy how these things happen!!!

As it turns out, I have my own socio-economic struggles and I'm not strapped with cash. However, my homeless advocacy which began in June 2006 has afforded me much social capital, resulting in me being able to simply put out the call in order to acquire funds to travel to Atlantic City to see my sister – though I've never put out a call for funds for a personal endeavor such as this in the past. I'm sure that there are many people who would love to help. I'm actually worried that I might get TOO MANY people wanting to help. That said, I strongly advise anyone who is interested in helping us to complete this reunion-in-the-making to TEXT my cell at: 240-305-5255 with a concise message. If you DO call, don't bother leaving a voicemail. (If you hang up before it goes to voicemail, I'll get a visual display with your number and I'll call you back. If it goes to voicemail, I won't get that display; neither will I go through all of my voicemails to call you back.)

Thank you.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

DC's Decreasing Homelessness – Despite Negligible Employment Efforts

Let's start with a little word smithing.

“Administrato-prudence” (as opposed to “Jurisprudence”): The pragmatic sum or totality of the efforts of an administration as indicated by empirical evidence. How a combination of laws, policies and administrative efforts actually improve or worsen the lives of that administration's constituents.

OK. Now that we have a working definition for "administrato-prudence", we can proceed with a discourse on DC's efforts to end homelessness, efforts that began [in earnest?] in 2004 and were supposed to end homelessness in the Capital by December 31st, 2014. We had 7,298 homeless people onJanuary 28th, 2015 – a drop of 450 or 5.8% from the previous year. The city didn't end homelessness by the set date; however, the story doesn't end there – fortunately.

During the quarterly meeting of the DC Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (ICH) on June 2nd, 2015 Tom Fredericksen of The Community Partnership for the Preventionof Homelessness (TCP) did a report-out on the figures from the January 28th Point-In-Time (PIT) Homeless Count which were published in mid-May. The decrease was good news, of course. He gave a lot of numbers concerning the various sub-populations of homelessness (families, singles, unaccompanied youth, disabled etc.). He pointed out that some of the 10 counties surrounding Washington, DC saw increases in their homeless populations and advised us to be cautiously optimistic concerning our modest decrease.

I've expressed my dismay numerous times since June 2014 over the fact that TCP was not told by the ICH to do a report-out concerning that year's count which rendered a 13% increase over the previous year – going from 6,859 in 2013 to 7,748 in 2014 (+889 people). Since then, I've also stated my suspicion that government administrators who should have thick skin were too emotionally weak to discuss a glaring failure. (They also refused to talk about the reasons for the failure of the previous 10-year plan before embarking on another such journey; and I won't let them forget it.)

So, I asked Tom what he thought was most responsible for the decrease from 2014 to 2015 and if we can be sure that there won't be a “balloon payment” of newly homeless people flooding the shelters in the next year or two. He figures the rush to house homeless families in the waning days of Mayor Gray's administration was the main driver for the decrease. He didn't respond to the latter part of my question, though I heard sighs of disgust as I asked it. (I take pride in my tendency to ask the hard questions on the front end of a planning process, rather than having a “wait and see” mentality.)

Administrato-prudently speaking, we have failures across multiple mayoral administrations and an apparent emotional weakness (the nicest assumption I could think of) which prevents administrators from having the hard conversation about past failures – even the failures of their predecessors. The singular exception to that rule has to do with institutional memory. I've heard various administrators over the years admit to the fact that institutional memory is very poor. I've yet to see any of them restart efforts that were left undone by previous administrations once my colleagues and I reminded them.

Case-in-point: The Harriet Tubman Shelter for single women was made into a 24-hour shelter in 2009(?) during the Fenty administration. Day programs that were intended to help the women exit homelessness were implemented. It was a pilot program that was going to be extended to other shelters if it worked well. My colleagues and I reminded city officials to check on its progress throughout the Gray administration (2011-2015). That STILL hasn't been done. Furthermore, the pre-meeting round table discussion on June 2nd addressed the issue of homeless day centers/ day programs. Oddly enough, the “professional” leading that discussion was not made aware of the fact that there will be a day center at the former location of the Gospel Rescue Mission by November 2015. She therefore asked open-ended questions about where day centers should be located and how they should function. Had I not brought up this project which is already in the pipeline, it would never have entered the conversation. This represents institutional memory (..err amnesia) at its worst.

While the aforementioned are administrative flaws, the primary impetus for this blog post is the apparent administrative intent that has manifested itself over the past 16 years. To be fair, I 'll say that the administration of DC mayor Muriel Bowser (Jan. 2nd,2015 to Jan. 2nd 2019) has, thus far, proven to be committed to addressing poverty and homelessness – even if they've yet to do anything tangible for homeless adults who are ready, willing and able to work. For at least six years my fellow advocates and I have tried to influence DC Government to do more to connect homeless A-bods to living-wage jobs. We went so far as to get the U.S. Dept. of labor (DOL) to commit to funding such an effort if DC Government would file the proper paperwork by June 1st, 2009. DC Government failed in that capacity and the DOL money reverted back to the general fund.

I personally have done numerous blog posts and been featured in several newspaper articles about the need for homeless employment. Many homeless people have articulated the need for living-wage jobs, whether they were at DC Government meetings or speaking to myself and other advocates. Yet and still, no robust effort has been made by city officials to connect homeless people to living-wage employment – unless you want to count the brief, shallow mentions of employmentwith “Homeward DC”, the first half of another 10-year plan, as satisfying that demand.

I often offer this cynical explanation for why I think DC Government refuses to put their best foot forward when it comes to homeless employment: Even though about 80% of DC's homeless community can work but has insurmountable challenges acquiring employment, the government doesn't want to create an environment wherein scores of homeless and poor people begin to inundate the District in order to get these low-skill and/or good-paying jobs. Let's face it; the homeless move from city to city telling each other where the work and/or best homeless services are. So, rather than “build a homeless field of employment dreams” and have them “come from everywhere”, former mayor Vince Gray chose to ostracize homeless parents and accuse them of being lazy and of gaming the system.

Mayor Bowser has initiated efforts to connect underprivileged people to employment, though they stop short of directly addressing the deepest and most insurmountable challenges faced by the homeless community. Given time, she might do that. But instead of holding my breath waiting, I'll use that breath to voice this concern. In any instance, the administrato-prudence of the last 16 years seems to suggest that city officials would much rather see poor people seek employment outside of DC while continuing to draw high earners into the city. Let's hope Mayor Bowser proves me wrong by reversing the trend set by her three male predecessors. But don't just hope; hop into action. Hope and hop non-stop til we win or we drop.

At multiple ICH meetings more than a year apart (including the June 2nd, 2015 meeting) I've heard fellow homeless advocate Donald Brooks point out that DCGovernment's Dept. of Employment Services (DOES) didn't have any representatives at the meeting. At ICH meetings in 2012 through 2014 I myself pointed out how that former directors of DOES were at the table but not participating in the meeting. Those who serve the disabled homeless – often getting paid to visit their homes after they're housed – are always the most vocal meeting attendees. Administrato-prudently speaking, why do you think that is?????

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