DC's Perfect Storm of Events Highlighting Poverty (5/13/18 to 6/23/18) GET IN ON THE ACTION!!!!!
It struck me this morning that this e-mail constitutes a blog post that should go out to many more than the 40 people I sent it to originally. It speaks to the many actions that are taking place over the next several weeks to bring attention to the issue of poverty and to change the narrative that government uses to justify ignoring the issue:
Washington, DC has begun its
"PERFECT STORM OF EVENTS THAT CENTER AROUND HOMELESSNESS AND POVERTY".
Many people are coming through Washington, DC to speak truth to power between May 13th and June 23rd. Get in on the action!!!!!
1 of 5 -- May 13th through June 23rd: Poor People's Campaign.
By now, pretty much anyone who works on poverty-related issues has heard about the new PPC which takes its name from one of MLK, Jr's last efforts in early 1968.
HERE is the PPC website that is specifically for DC. Each week has a theme. Though we care about multiple issues, I've highlighted the theme of Week 5 here. You can view the themes of other weeks by clicking the aforelinked site. I'll explore the possibility of those who work on any of the "Week 5 issues" meeting at Metropolitan AME Church on a Wednesday so as to galvanize around these issues -- preferably on the 23rd, maybe on the 30th:
Week 5 (June 10-16) Everybody’s Got the Right To Live: Education, Living Wages, Jobs, Income, Housing
Maybe DC-based people can schedule events that we are planning to coincide with or even to precede the June 10th-16th theme which includes homelessness, housing and what it takes to maintain housing (a living-wage job).
CHANGING THE NARRATIVE: A major aim of the Poor People's Campaign is to "change the narrative" around poverty and governance. They've suggested somewhat indirectly that this change of narrative is from saying that government doesn't have the resources to end poverty to saying that government chooses to usurp those resources on endless war. (That narrative change speaks only to the federal government, being as it's the only government in the country that wages war.)
AN ADDITIONAL NARRATIVE CHANGE: As one who has dealt primarily with DC's local government, I offer another change of narrative which in no way opposes the first. When it comes to intra-national governments, we don't have money for addressing poverty being diverted to war. We have state and local governments that want to draw in the high earners; and, their plans include doing as little as possible for the poor, lest word get out and the poor flock to that state or locale. To appease HUD (which has weak and ineffectual regulations mandating decreases in homelessness) and voters who want government to "have a heart" (so that private citizens don't need to), state and local governments work over the data around homelessness and present it in ways that make these governments appear to care and to be working hard to decrease poverty. Technically, they ARE aiming to decrease poverty within their respective jurisdictions -- by doing as little as possible for the poor until the poor move to other jurisdictions. The new narrative that voters offer should play off of one or both of the following:
A -- EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE OF HOMELESSNESS: This is the easy one. If you know that your state or local government (especially the latter) has had a five- or ten-year plan to end homelessness and enough time has passed for you to reasonably expect to see a decrease that you don't see empirically, then call BS on them. Advocate and vote accordingly.
B -- STATISTICAL EVIDENCE OF FAILURE TO DECREASE HOMELESSNESS: HUD regulations require any city that receives HUD funding to count its homeless every year in the last week of January. The results of these counts are generally issued in April or May and offer a standard measurement of progress. Those who choose to measure what their local government is doing for the poor can google the results of their city's last five homeless counts along with information about their city's five- or 10-year plan. They can then arrive at their own conclusions about how well their local government is or isn't doing at addressing homelessness in particular and poverty in general. This also speaks to how much any local government is doing to address gentrification. This is the harder but better way of gauging what your local government is doing at addressing matters that affect any working class person, how ever indirectly it might be at the moment.
THIS NEW NARRATIVE FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS should be that, if a state or local government has worked on ending homelessness for at least five years and not decreased it by at least one third, then they must do something that is fundamentally different. (Their plan is not working well enough, no matter how they present the data and their efforts.) They can start by forcing landlords to justify the amount of rent they charge and by implementing a living-wage law which guarantees that anyone who works 40 hours per week can afford housing in that locale.
2 of 5 -- June 2nd thru 12th: Poor People's March (Philly to DC via B'more)
A group of poor and homeless people along with their allies will leave Philadelphia on June 2nd, arrive in Baltimore on June 8th and arrive in Washington, DC on June 10th. They'll remain in DC until the 12th and will have radio broadcasts that highlight the issues of poverty and homelessness. When they arrive in DC, they'll set up camp in DuPont Circle (the only spot for which they could get a permit). They could use various forms of support during the march and after they arrive in DC. During the march, they could use people with vehicles to pick up participants whose planes arrive late and to bring them to wherever the march is at the time. They could use support for the little ones, though I believe that there will be a vehicle which remains close to the marchers for the most immediate concerns. In lieu of their arrival in DC, it would be helpful to spread the word and have concerned citizens visit their outpost in DuPont Circle. It would be even better if visitors had food and other items to offer the tired marchers. CLICK HERE for more details.
3 of 5 -- June 4th thru 16th and June 19th: DC early voting (6/4-16) and primary (6/19)
DC does early voting two weeks before each primary and general election. Early voting ends at 7 PM on the Saturday before the primary or election. This primary season, the mayor is only opposed by people who are not well-known and she therefore is quite lackadaisical when it comes to campaigning or heeding the desires of voters. She is working hard to gentrify people who make under $60K out of DC. Were she to be re-elected, she'd essentially complete her gentrification agenda which advocates and activists have been able to slow down. Efforts should be made to inform low-income voters and to get them to the polls to vote for ERNEST JOHNSON. DC’s 2018 primary matters, though the action isn’t the race for mayor
For more about incumbent Mayor Muriel Bowser's "efforts" around homelessness, see: http://streatstv.blogspot.com/2018/05/incumbent-2018-dc-mayoral-candidate.html
For a real solution to the affordable housing crisis, see: Social Housing: A 2018 DC Mayoral Candidate's Ticket to Victory (Or 45's Ticket to Re-Selection)
4 of 5 -- June 12th, 12:30 to 3:30 PM: DC's quarterly Inter-agency Council on Homelessness Meeting
The Government of the District of Columbia (DC Gov) has an inter-agency council on homelessness (ICH) which functions by committee. The full council meets quarterly. Their next meeting is on June 12th. The 2-3:30 pm meeting that is advertised on their website is the "working meeting" [sic] where the public has about 10 minutes (2-2:10 approx.) to make comments. After that the committee members around the table do all of the talking. There might be another public comment period toward the end, time permitting; but don't count on it. HOWEVER, every quarterly ICH meeting is preceded by a round table discussion from 12:30 to 1:30 PM in the same location (which is still TBD). This unadvertised roundtable is where the public gets the most opportunity to speak. Go figure. I, Eric Sheptock, will not be able to attend this meeting which falls within the week that the Poor People's Campaign addresses homelessness.
The numbers from the January 2018 homeless count in DC Metro were published on May 9th. This is the first full council meeting since the numbers came out. DC had 7,298 homeless people in January 2015 -- the month that Muriel Bowser became mayor. Ms. Bowser implemented a 5-year plan to end homelessness beginning on October 1st, 2015. (After pro-rating the 1,052-person increase from '15 to '16, it's fair to say that we had exactly 8,000 homeless at the start of the plan and should have been down to 4,400 by Jan. 2018.) Instead of being down to 4,400 homeless people, DC had 6,904 homeless people in 2018 -- a 5.4% decrease in three years, nowhere near a 60% decrease that is necessary for a five-year plan. Even so, the ICH is bound to pat itself on the back on June 12th. We must bring a different narrative which I lay out HERE.
CLICK HERE for more info.
5 of 5 -- June 16th thru 19th: Nat'l Alliance of HUD Tenants Annual DC Conference
The National Alliance of HUD Tenants or NAHT comes to DC every June and, while here, meets with officials from HUD (U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) to discuss ways of preserving, expanding and improving HUD housing options. This year their planned trip begins on the last day of Week 5 of the Poor People's Campaign -- the week into which their issue falls. It would be great if at least one of the NAHT personnel could arrive early and get involved by the 10 or 11th. (There will be a direct action on Monday the 11th.) CLICK HERE for more info.
The events that should matter to DC's local homeless population include the Democratic primary. Though the 501 (c)3's are limited in their political activities and not all of the c3's that are included in this missive are local, there might be things you can do to encourage homeless people to vote for ERNEST JOHNSON. The incumbent Mayor Muriel Bowser is not working at all for the poor and homeless.
TEXT!!! (240) 305-5255 (4 swift response)
1 -- Male-Female Equality starts and ends with men always acting on the assumption that women can understand anything that men can understand -- especially life's grim realities. 2 -- Social ills keep poor people and Blacks in desperate situations that call for desperate measures and then ostracize and penalize us for taking desperate measures.
3 -- DC Human Services Trouble Shooter: Laura.Zeilinger@dc.gov 202-285-7178 786-353-3891