When people receive truly safe and permanent housing, there will be no need for our unhoused neighbors to seek safety and stability through encampments. Access to safe permanent housing should be the priority, not forced displacement.
On January 16th, the District government forced more than 30 of our most vulnerable neighbors out of their homes to create a “pedestrian passageway” during the coldest month of the year, despite the fact that winter weather was forecast for the following days.
Clearing encampments addresses a visible symptom of the District’s homelessness crisis, not the crisis itself.
The current manner in which the District is clearing encampments violates the Constitutional rights of encampment residents, which is the basis for a class action lawsuit recently filed against the District over its encampment clearing practices.
By Ann Marie Staudenmaier, Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless Staff Attorney NOTE: The Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, has scheduled a hearing entitled “Crimes Against America’s Homeless: Is the Violence Growing?” for Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. It’s open season these days in Georgetown, and I’m not talking about the federal health...