The 2021 DC Homeless Crisis Reporting Project news blitz
For the sixth year in a row, we’ve partnered with newsrooms across the city for the DC Homeless Crisis Reporting Project’s annual news blitz. Participants will be publishing their work throughout the day. Previews and links for all stories are added to the homepage of www.DCHomelessCrisis.press as soon as they are available.
Just this week, approximately 60 people were evicted from two underpasses near Union Station. While the stated goal of the closure was to make the sidewalks more accessible for pedestrians, concrete barriers were placed where the tents had been, making the space usable by no one. In one case, city workers picked up a tent with a front loader to dispose of it and a person was still inside. The person was pushed into a metal guard rail and taken away in an ambulance. Whether they had been able to move in yet or not, only half of those displaced from the encampments had been connected to housing at the time of the closure. Some of those who did not receive housing moved to another encampment — a park at New Jersey Ave. and O St. NW — that is scheduled to be closed next month. And that night, a resident of the NJ and O encampment, which sits next to a fire station, died in a tent fire.
Those events underscore that homelessness is a crisis we allow to continue, and that the many complex factors that keep roughly 1,500,000 Americans — and at least 5,111 Washingtonians — living in a state of emergency demand rigorous, consistent reporting with a focus on solutions. This body of work looks beyond the daily headlines.
A core element of this collaboration is that throughout the reporting process each media outlet commits to sharing what they are working on and avoiding duplication of stories. It makes us all to dig beyond surface-level issues. The result is a collection of articles about the forces that perpetuate poverty in our community that is more comprehensive and nuanced than any single news report.
By publishing everything on the same day, we aim to reach as many different people as possible, wherever you get your news, and to foster conversations throughout the city and region as we’re all reading about it.
Here are some of the stories you can expect to see today:
- Axios DC‘s look at efforts to provide legal protection against discrimination for people experiencing homelessness.
- An explainer from Street Sense Media and The DC Line on how to apply for housing and what to expect when you do.
- El Tiempo Latino spotlights barriers Latino people experiencing homelessness face in D.C.
- A Q&A by 730 DC with the co-founder of “a church for the hood,” The Stone’s House, that regularly serves homeless people
- Georgetown University’s The Hoya identifies anti-homeless architecture through the Georgetown neighborhood.
- A DCist and WAMU feature on Fairfax County’s effort to vaccinate unhoused residents.
- And much, much more.
We anticipate more than 20 stories to be published or broadcast throughout the day. Over the past five years, 23 different local media outlets produced nearly 120 articles through this partnership. All work remains available, organized by year, on the project website.
Join the conversation
Journalism is a public service. More than ever, it’s important for you to tell us how best we can serve you. While we hope you’ll read and discuss today’s stories, this news blitz is designed to simply collect information in a focused way and make as many people as possible aware of it.
Real impact comes with putting that information to work year-round: let your elected officials know what your priorities are, volunteer with or donate to existing mutual aid and service efforts if you have the means, and let us know what further information you need. (There’s a form on the website for that, or you can reply to this message.)
- Reporters and participating news outlets will be sharing their work on Twitter using the hashtag #DCHomelessCrisis. Follow that to see what others are saying, and use it in your own posts to help anyone interested see and respond to your thoughts and experiences.
- Two years ago, we launched the #DCHomelessCrisis Solutions public Facebook group to function as a home for discussing these issues. Please consider joining and contributing to this community by sharing information and resources, asking questions, and connecting with your neighbors. Of our 300+ members, half live in the District with all others in Maryland or Virginia. And about 25% of members have experienced homelessness.
DCist, WAMU, The DC Line, 730 DC, Urban Turf, The GW Hatchet, The Washington Informer, Washington City Paper, and The District Dig are returning partners that contributed stories to this year’s project.
We’re very excited to welcome El Tiempo Latino, Greater Greater Washington, Axios DC, The Georgetown Voice, and The Hoya, to the project for the first time this year!
We’re also grateful to Patch D.C. for amplifying this year’s stories through their platforms.