Let's Fight Tent City Demolition Until Mayor Muriel Bowser Creates 5,000+ Affordable Units Yearly
Washington, DC's homeless PEOPLE, with what little bit they own, are "in jeopardy" again, as the city prepares to demolish tent cities (and metropolises) all over DC beginning on June 20th, 2017. (I put the word "PEOPLE" in all caps; because, capitalists -- especially those in local government -- like to dehumanize certain sectors of society in order to gain public support for their draconian policies.) Behold the sign below which you might have seen duplicates of if you live or work in Washington, DC. It indicates that the tent city which it is near will be demolished on or after June 20th, 2017 -- thereby causing those who have very little to have even less, or even nothing. Identical signs with the same date are posted near multiple tent cities across DC.
The "answer to the question" is "This can be accomplished through the creation of affordable housing.....a lot of affordable housing". The "question to the answer" is "How can we end homelessness in DC???" -- thus the title "Let's Fight Tent City Demolition Until Mayor Muriel Bowser Creates 5,000+ Affordable Units Yearly". With DC having counted 7,473 homeless people in 2017, we need to have a net decrease of about 2,500 homeless people per year in each of the last three years of the five-year plan in order to meet the goal of ensuring that, by September 30th, 2020, no one will have been homeless in DC for more than 90 days. The city has already seen over 1,500 people become homeless in a single year (2015-16, during which the 1,052 net increase plus the number of people housed that year by DC Government is over 1,500). Therefore, it stands to reason that 4,000+ people need to be connected to housing annually in order to reach the stated goal of the DC ICH. If we shoot for 5,000, we might create 4,000 units annually.
I encourage all readers of this blog post to show up and show out (whatever that means to you) any time that you see garbage trucks and police cars near a homeless encampment -- especially if you know that there are not suitable alternatives and even if you're not in DC.
Sadly, a government that has spent approximately $2 Billion dollars on homelessness over the past 13 years while ostensibly trying to end it (with a 10-year plan in 2004 and a 5-year plan in 2015) has joined the ranks of other cities in the U.S. and in overtly fascist countries where more is done to make homeless PEOPLE miserable than is done to house them. (If government hates homeless people, they shouldn't deny and defy their person-hood. House them.)
DC Mayor "Mascara Muriel" Bowser leads an administration that puts more energy into hiding the problem of homelessness and into presenting the data such that it looks like her homeless service providers are earning their keep than it puts into actually decreasing homelessness. Make no mistake: they ARE doing something -- just not the right thing or enough things. The DC ICH never actually talks about the fact that they need to connect at least 4,000 people to housing annually in order to meet their stated goal -- essentially "the general ledger" of ending homelessness. They only view the various "accounts receivable ledgers" containing funding from the council for different programs that are led by government cronies. As a matter of fact, on June 13th, 2017, DHCD Director Polly Donaldson gave a presentation about the various things that her department is doing. She gave a lot of numbers concerning how many housing units have been and are being produced through her department's various programs -- some of those units now being occupied and others coming on-line a year or more hence. There was no effort at all to determine how many of those units would go toward drawing down the number of homeless people in the city, though it was made clear that not all units discussed in that presentation were for that purpose. The numbers that matter to the homeless advocates were not teased out by those who are well-paid to end homelessness. Go figure.
While tent cities are being demolished and homeless data is being engineered to create a mirage of an administration that is working diligently on a comprehensive plan to end homelessness, various other supports for the poor are going the way of the dinosaurs -- even the supports that the poor pay for. One of the tent metropolises that will soon be demolished is near a recently-closed 1,070-unit self-storage facility that was used by +/-350 homeless people. A discount grocery store has already been removed from a quickly-gentrifying neighborhood. Walmart demolished a strip mall in a poor neighborhood and then decided not to build there. Forman Mills, a discount clothing store, is next. And I know of at least five laundromats that have closed in recent years -- three having been MY laundromats until they closed and I had to find another. If poor people can't afford food, storage, food, clothing or the use of a laundromat, they might just leave town. It just makes you wonder how much of it is by governmental design. This is a phenomenon to watch -- and react to before it's too late.
So, the next time you read an article that denigrates the homeless, you might want to wash off the "administrative mascara" and ask questions that tease out the gross failures and the true intentions of the administration. Here are a couple to get you started:
1 -- With the conventional wisdom around DC housing being that it takes $250,000 to build one apartment unit, why is DC only putting $100M per year into the creation of affordable housing???
2 -- What is DC Government doing to ensure that 4,000 or even 5,000 homeless people are connected to affordable housing annually, so that city resources won't continue to be used for pushing the homeless around???
I'm guessing you won't like the answers you get, thus the title:
Let's Fight Tent City Demolition
Until Mayor Muriel Bowser Creates 5,000+ Affordable Units Yearly.