Mayor Fenty closed Franklin shelter this morning.

Urgent message from Empower DC

The men were put out for the last time. The moving crew was there by 8 AM taking out the dining tables.

There is a rally on the steps of the Wilson Building (at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave.) at 3:30 PM today, Friday September 26th.

There is a sleep-out in Franklin Park (13th and K streets, NW) beginning at 5:30 PM today. A few tents will be provided. Bring tents and supplies if you have some!

Call or email the Mayor to express your outrage (, 727-2980)
Call or email the Council to let them know that the Mayor is disregarding their legislation.

Chair Vincent C. Gray,, 724-8032
At-large David Catania,, 724-7772
At-large Carol Schwartz,, 724-8105
At-large Phil Mendelson,, 724-8064
At-large Kwame R. Brown,, 724-8174
Ward 1 Jim Graham,, 724-8181
Ward 2 Jack Evans,, 724-8058
Ward 3 Mary Cheh,, 724-8062
Ward 4 Muriel Bowser,, 724-8052
Ward 5 Harry “Tommy” Thomas Jr.,, 724-8028
Ward 6 Tommy Wells,, 724-8072
Ward 7 Yvette Alexander,, 724-8068
Ward 8 Marion Barry,, 724-8045
Councilmember listserve

On September 16, 2008, the D.C. Council passed emergency legislation requiring the Mayor to certify to the Council that no fewer than 300 men have been placed into housing before the closure of Franklin Shelter could take place, and that Franklin continue its operations as a 300 person shelter in the meantime. The legislation also requires the Mayor to provide the Council “with a report on any proposed closing of the Franklin Shelter that includes a description of the current capacity, current availability, and location of replacement shelter space, and the ability to seasonally increase capacity to reduce incidences of hypothermia among the homeless population prior to closing the Franklin Shelter.” (Franklin Shelter Closing Requirements Emergency Act) The DC Council unanimously agreed that adequate shelter capacity is a priority for D.C. and expressed a growing mistrust of the Administration’s lack of transparency in implementing its Housing First program and closing the last low-barrier downtown shelter.

Call the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless at (202) 328-5500 if you have any questions.

More from Franklin Resident Eric Sheptock:

The DC Government has projected a $131 million budget shortfall for the 2009 fist-cal year. They are clenching our money in their fists and making budget cuts so as to make ends meet. The poor are always the first to feel the impact of budget cuts and hard times.

The bill to keep Franklin open was passed by the Council on September 16th. The mayor has until Sept. 30th to sign or veto it. As of October 1st it goes into effect automatically, by default, if he fails to sign or veto it. If he does veto it, the Council will override his veto. It passed with a 12 to 1 vote. It requires the mayor to keep Franklin open as a 300-man shelter until he meets the various requirements which include housing 300 homeless men and proving that he has enough hypothermia shelter for the winter.

Clarence Carter and Dan Tangherlini testified on the 19th (the birthday of my deceased girlfriend) that they have no winter plan. DC law requires them to have a winter plan by Sept. 1st of each year. This makes closing Franklin unwise.

The mayor is misrepresenting the facts about shelter capacity to the general public. Until recently, there have been about 25 empty beds in the entire shelter system for single men per night. They all have been at the 801 East Shelter. (The Franklin closure might absorb them. Tonight will tell.) Nonetheless, there are hundreds of homeless who sleep in the streets for one reason or another. ” The mayor who doesn’t care” and his dishonest adsinistration tend to use the fact that there are vacancies in the system as a false indication that there are enough shelter beds. What they WON’T tell you is that there are hundreds who sleep outdoors so as to be near services that they use during the day. The Park and Rec buses that shuttle the men from 801 to downtown in the morning are slow and don’t get people where they need to go in a timely manner.

It would be a good idea to have the men use 801 East so as to fill it to capacity. Then, the mayor couldn’t use the lie about there being enough shelter space. All beds would be full and we’d STILL have unsheltered people.

While there is no law requiring DC Government to shelter people during warm weather (or during a thunderstorm or high winds), they MUST shelter people during a freeze when the temperature (including wind chill) is below 33 degrees F.

The mayor wants to wait until an actual freeze to rush to create shelter space. That’s crazy. When a freeze DOES occur, people will come out of the woodwork to find shelter (or die outside).

Eric Jonathan Sheptock
925 13th St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20005-4005


2 Responses to “Mayor Fenty closed Franklin shelter this morning.”

  1. 1 Fenty Closes Franklin Shelter « Upset The Setup Trackback on September 27, 2008 at 3:25 am

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