DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's Quarterly Meeting About Poverty and Homelessness -- December 12th, 2017. BE THERE!!!

It's that time again!!! Dozens of high-level DC Government personnel who work on poverty-related issues and many of their poverty contractors (listed HERE and at the bottom of this post) will hold their quarterly meeting on December 12th, 2017 at the Department of Employment Services (DOES) -- with the meeting rotating through different locations. As THIS EVENT FLIER indicates, there is always a pre-meeting -- a public round table discussion from 12:30 to 1:30 PM, though it never gets mentioned on the agency's meeting calendar. The pre-meeting is a time during which those experiencing poverty and homelessness can speak to a few government personnel and contractors in an hour-long guided discussion. Those experiencing poverty can speak to a much larger number of officials during the 2 PM public comment period -- an open-mic session where a person has two minutes to bring up any concern relating to poverty. With 145,000 Washingtonians enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- otherwise known as "food stamps" -- and tens of thousands of DC residents struggling to pay their rent, one would hope that these meetings were very well-attended by the poor of the city which also has over 7,000 homeless people -- decrease of 780 since 2004.
Since the meeting will take place at the Dept. of Employment Services (4058 Minnesota Ave -- next to the Minnesota Ave Metro Station and at the eastern extremity of the X2 bus route), it is strongly suggested that any struggling DC resident of working age make it their business to visit DOES that morning and stay for the 12:30 to 3:30 meeting. 
This could be the day that changes your life!!!
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser really cares about the poor and homeless and has heard our pleas. During her 2014 mayoral campaign she responded to the abduction of eight-year old Relisha Rudd from the DC General Family Shelter by promising to make homelessness in the District "rare, brief and non-recurring" for homeless veterans and sickly ("chronic") homeless individuals as well as homeless parents and their children (similar to, but not just like her counterpart in Albuquerque who got a four-year head start on her). I'm not certain if she has a plan for poor, homeless, able-bodied single people -- a category that is conspicuously missing in this PLAN OVERVIEW.

Then again, with the meeting taking place for the first time at the Dept. of Employment Services, this might be part of the Bowser administration's foray into addressing poverty comprehensively -- effectively making the Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (ICH) into the Inter-agency Council on Poverty (ICP), and thus, a resurrection of the late Marion Barry's 2006 to 2010 Commission on Poverty -- an idea that I just learned (while typing this post) was actually rehashed by the DC Council in late 2017. Hooray!!!

It's good to give credit where credit is due. So, despite the appearance hereto now that Ms. Bowser was just giving lip service to the issues of homelessness and poverty, I must admit that she has become quite for real -- much like Whoopi Goldberg's character in the movie "Ghost". It's time for the poor and homeless to rise to the occasion like they did during Marion Barry's fourth mayoral campaign and during Adrian Fenty's transition from Ward 4 Councilman to mayor. Let's keep a good thing going.

Mayor Bowser plans to run for re-election. She realizes that about 40,000 of DC's 450,000 registered voters (in all parties) shooed her in during the 2014 Democratic Primary -- our de facto general election -- and that 3.5 times that many DC residents receive food stamps. She also realizes that 62% of respondents to a June 2017 poll dislike her work around homelessness while only 55% are unhappy with her work around affordable housing. It seems that either she has used my math or coincidentally arrived at the same figure for how much affordable housing she needs to produce annually, since a recent news piece indicated that she aims to invest $500M for at least one year into the creation of 4,000 units of affordable housing (up from $100M annually for 1,000 or so units). I'd like to think it's the former, with her receiving my e-mails; but, I don't suffer from delusions of grandeur either. In any instance she's moving in the right direction -- for which I THANK Ms. Bowser and various homeless service providers. All of the poor of the city should help her get to a good place. Maybe it's not too late for her to reverse her missteps of the past 35 months. Let's hope and help.

Here's how you can help the mayor help the poor:

1 -- Click on the event flier in this post, print it and circulate at least 100 copies to the homeless shelter nearest where you work or live. Encourage the homeless to seek services at DOES in the hours before the 12:30 meeting.

2 -- Share this post.

3 -- Take copies of the flier to those waiting at any of the city's social service offices, also encouraging them to seek DOES services before 12:30.

4 -- Show up on December 12th to speak your mind.

Unfortunately, I'm unable to attend, as I've explained in the flier. However, I'll be at the Dorothy Height Library (about two blocks away) from 1 to 3 PM --possibly arriving there a bit sooner.

5 -- Visit the offices of the service providers listed below and describe your concerns or ideas in great depth.

Interagency Council on Homelessness Members





The ICH Council includes representatives of key government agencies, service providers, advocates and constituents, and the Continuum of Care (CoC).

Government Representatives

  • Rashad Young – Office of the City Administrator, Chair
  • Kristy M. Greenwalt – Interagency Council on Homelessness
  • Brenda Donald – Child and Family Services Agency
  • Tanya Royster – Department of Behavioral Health
  • John Davis  – DC Public Schools
  • Nathan Bovelle – DC Housing Authority
  • Polly Donaldson – Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Laura Zeilinger – Department of Human Services
  • Greer Johnson Gillis – Department of General Services
  • Odie A. Donald II – Department of Employment Services
  • Quincy L. Booth – Department of Corrections
  • LaQuandra Nesbitt – Department of Health
  • Brian Baker – Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency
  • Peter Newsham – DC Metropolitan Police
  • Hanseul Kang – Office of the State Superintendent of Education
  • Sheila Alexander-Reid – Office of LGBTQ Affairs

Service Providers

  • Michael Ferrell, Coalition for the Homeless
  • Kelly McShane, Community of Hope
  • Jean-Michel Giraud, Friendship Place
  • Elizabeth (Schroeder) Stribling, N Street Village
  • Deborah Shore, Sasha Bruce
  • Nechama Masliansky, So Others Might Eat
  • Adam Rocap, Miriam's Kitchen
  • Jill Carmichael, National Community Church
  • Christy Respress, Pathways to Housing
  • Peg Hacskaylo, District Alliance for Safe Housing

Advocates

  • Maggie Riden, DC Alliance for Youth Advocates
  • Kate Coventry, DC Fiscal Policy Institute
  • Chapman Todd, Development Consultant
  • Scott McNeilly, Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless

Constituent Representatives

  • Donald Brooks
  • Cheryl Barnes
  • Michael Coleman
  • Albert Townsend
  • Robert Warren

Continuum of Care Representative

  • Sue Marshall, The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP)

District Council Representatives

  • Peter Johnson, Chairman Phil Mendelson's designee (Committee of the Whole)
  • Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (Committee on Human Services)
  • Councilmember Anita Bonds (Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization)

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