Home Sweet Home?
On February 11, 2016 Mayor Muriel Bowser first shared details about her plans to replace DC General Family Shelter with the homeless shelters in each of Washington, DC’s eight wards, including building a facility in a heavily industrial area at 2266 25th Place NE in Ward 5. Since then many residents noted the oversaturation of homeless shelters in this neighborhood already and expressed deep concern about housing families in a facility closer to a strip club than a grocery store.
After mounting public pressure, on February 23 Mayor Bowser released the different sites for homeless shelters that were considered across Washington, DC. A total of two locations were considered in Ward 5, including 2266 25th Place NE.
On February 25 Langdon Park Community Association and Woodridge South Community Association hosted a Ward 5-wide community meeting with Council Member Kenyan McDuffie about the homeless shelter location. Residents shared their concerns about the proposed site and participated in a transparent process to identify dignified and residential alternative sites for the District’s homeless families.
On March 8 Langdon Park Community Association sent an open letter to Mayor Bowser that included these alternative sites and additional notes from the Ward 5-wide community meeting, stating “Mayor Bowser, it would be unconscionable for you to move forward with your current proposal before fully vetting these dignified alternative locations. We sincerely hope you will do right by the community and homeless families by doing so.” Download the March 8 Letter to Mayor Bowser.
On March 17 — the day of the homeless shelter hearings by the DC Council — DC City Administrator Rashad Young responded with his own letter, saying “We urge you to refer your suggestions to your ward Councilmember and work with him on recommending a consensus choice for an alternative site.” This response is curious since the Mayor’s office continues to indicate it is unwilling to consider alternatives.
Washington Times Editorial: Bowser, lawmakers need to rethink homeless site plans: Shelter site plans anger homeowners, voters
Washington City Paper: Wards Apart: Residents Across the District Respond to Bowser’s Plan to Replace D.C. General
Washington City Paper: D.C. General Closure: City Officials Hold Meetings in All Eight Wards