Homeless Organize to Fight for Shelters
With two major city shelters facing uncertain futures, the need for action is urgent, said homeless leaders at an Aug 27 town hall meeting organized by the grassroots group Shelter Housing and Respectful Change (SHARC).
Homeless men and women and their “housed allies” showed up for the gathering held at the sprawling Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV) shelter on Second and D streets NW. The shelter, the city’s largest, houses roughly 1,400 people as well as several nonprofits that serve the homeless. But a 30-year federal agreement that requires that the building be used for homeless services expires in 2016.
A city task force proposed by City Councilmember Jim Graham will convene to discuss plans for the facility, which is badly in need of repair and located on prime downtown real estate, making it vulnerable to development pressures.
Another rising issue for the homeless community involves the 801 East shelter. The 400-bed men’s
shelter is located on the grounds of St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast, which is being redeveloped as a hub for federal agencies and technology companies. As with CCNV, homeless leaders at the town hall said much remains unknown about the future of the shelter itself. But they stressed the importance of ensuring that homeless men and women are involved in decisions about the two facilities and the city’s other shelters and programs.