Photo of Michael Stoops and Mitch Snyder facing away from the US Capitol
MIchael Stoops and Mitch Snyder in Washington. Photo courtesy of the National Coalition for the Homeless

Pre-1940’s: The area of 2nd and D. St. houses black working-class alley communities.

1973: Mitch Snyder joins Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV).

1976: Mitch Snyder and CCNV transform a vacant house in Columbia Heights into an emergency shelter.

1978: City officials take control of the Columbia Heights house and tear it down due to health code violations.

Thanksgiving Day, 1981: CCNV establishes “Reaganville” across from the White House, recalling the “Hoovervilles” of the Great Depression.

January 1984: Members of CCNV begin to occupy the Federal City Shelter, but the government threatens to evict them after the winter is over.

November 4, 1984: Mitch Snyder ends his 51-day fast the day before the election, and Reagan agrees to CCNV’s demands for Federal funding of renovation for the 2nd and D St. shelter.


Slideshow of CCNV History


1987: Reagan signs the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, creating more federal funding for homelessness.

1988: PBS airs Promises to Keep, a documentary about Mitch Snyder and CCNV’s struggle for control of the Federal City Shelter.

July 4 1990: Mitch Snyder commits suicide amidst growing pressures and the beginning homeless backlash.

2008: Mayor Fenty closes Franklin School Shelter, continuing the removal of emergency shelters from the downtown area.

November 2011: Occupy DC Protesters take over Franklin School and hang a banner reading “Public Property Under Community Control.”

2016: The covenant between CCNV and the federal government over the use of the Federal City Shelter will end, after 30 years.

2021: The District is officially allowed to sell the parking lots behind the property on 2nd and D Street (also the property of CCNV).

Read more: “Witness to History: Activists redefined America’s Response to Homelessness.”