Left to right: George Brown, Eric Sheptock, Nkechi Feaster and Charles Crews discuss talking points outside of Wilson Building before meeting with Council Members.

Two weeks after advocates from around the city converged on city hall in support of funding for services that help to decrease homelessness in Washington, one issue seems to have stuck like a fly to flypaper.

The budget support act proposed by the gray administration contained changes to the H. S. R. A.  (Homeless Services Reform Act). People experiencing homelessness and homeless advocates say that
these amendments will create more homelessness in Washington. On Monday June 3 Jim Graham held a public hearing on the issue where he expressed that he would like to have something that made sense
by Tuesday June 18th.

In response to this, the S. H. A. R. C., (Shelter. Housing. and. Respectful. Change.) group decided to take a repeated strike approach to move the council to start over from scratch.

The S. H. A. R. C. group held meetings will councilmember offices Thursday and held a mini rally on Friday.

In Thursday’s meeting with council- member Bowsers office. Tim D’Emilio a resident of ward 4 said that these folks are smart they don’t want to stay in shelter and these amendments seem to punish people for being poor, he went on to say that the developers need this type of discipline.

George Brown, who is a resident at the 801 East Shelter in southeast said “We need affordable housing. He went on say that you need to let the people know just what affordable housing means. George made it clear that housing should be to base on the person’s income not a medium of those who are in a better financial situation.

Clearly the amendments are a rain- storm subject for those that these amendments will affect, and this was only one of Thursday morning’s meetings.

The conversation with the offices continued into Thursday afternoon with S. H. A. R. C. going for a second round of meetings with the council offices. Jeff Taylor, who is an unsheltered resident of
McPherson square, repeatedly said this is a huge lurch for social Darwinism; it’s no good for
anyone he said. This is a liberal city, and if passed [it’s] referring to any form of the
amendments, is a toe in the for G. O. P ideology,” We’re pretty much socialist in this city he
said. Still that was only Thursday afternoon.

On Friday; S. H. A. C.held a mini-rally to address the proposed amendments. Eric Sheptock who serves as S. H. A. R. C.’s Chairman said to Phil Mendelson, the Chairman of the city council, “We think it is unprofessional for the mayor to make these amendments without the I. C. H. (The Interagency Council on Homelessness). We want the homeless to be able to weigh in he said. Eric also pointed out that the I.
C. H. was not consulted when the amendments were drafted.

Valerie Williams, who lives in Ward 1 said, “This is the people’s building and if you don’t do what
will ask you to do then we will remove you. She also presented him with a detailed letter about the
issue and urged him to read it.

Council Chairman Mendelson asked “What would solve homelessness?” Obadiah Black responded with, “We need affordable housing and living wage jobs “. When the Council Chairman mention the
100 million dollars allocated for homeless services, Charles Crews who ran for a City Council
At-Large seat said, your spending 56 million tearing down one development in Barry Farms and 50 million to build parks in the (NOMA) the north of Massachusetts avenue neighborhood, that’s 106 million dollars and that will not create enough housing. Charles was followed by Robert Warren who serves a director of people for fairness coalition said you need to create affordable housing for those making less than 30 000 dollars. We believe this Mayor and City Council are trying to distract folks from the real issue he said. Those making less that 30 000 dollars a year are being economically discriminated against he said.

Robert concluded by saying “We will work really hard to let the district residents know that they are being discriminated against and that there will be consequences. With a markup and vote looming in the next coming days it will be interesting to see what the council decides to do.