Archive for February, 2013

The fight for Kenilworth Elementary

Northeast community urges school officials to keep Kenilworth Elementary open

Today the group walked the route between the two schools, concerned about youngsters in grades K-6 walking along busy roadways and underground tunnels.

I really wonder how Mary Cheh can justify closing schools in every ward but hers.

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How you can help end homelessness

Washington Legal Clinic

Give of your TIME: Help us to spread the word. Host a discussion group with your
neighbors, book club, colleagues at the office, or family and friends. We’d be happy to
provide information or support you in whatever way we can be helpful. You can reach us
at (202) 328-5500.

Give of your TALENT: If you are a lawyer or legal assistant, you can volunteer with the
Legal Clinic and help us to bring justice to our homeless neighbors. Contact Volunteer
Coordinator Emily Uhar at emily.uhar@legalclinic.org.

Give of your TREASURE: We rely upon the generosity of community members to allow
us to remain present to our clients when they need us most. We take no government
funding, which makes the support of our friends and allies all the more critical. You can
make a donation here.

Give of your TENACITY: Take a few moments to call, write or email our Mayor and DC 
Councilmembers to tell them that you believe in a community of justice. The District has
had two years of significant surplus revenue and expects the same once again this year.
Urge them to invest these dollars in affordable housing and emergency services for the
families and individuals who need it most.

To stay in the loop on the District’s budget and policy decisions, subscribe to this blog, friend us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. You will learn about opportunities to weigh in on decisions impacting shelter, affordable housing, and other crucial programs.

Thank you for your support.

Why does DC have so many homeless people?

Colbert King

Is it a question of funding or underfunding, management or mismanagement, commitment or lack of concern? Does part of the problem also rest with those without roofs over their heads? Is the answer some or all of the above?

The homeless, the most powerless part of our population, bear zero responsibility for their situation. No, I am not being a bleeding heart. I am just being realistic.

Like Colbert King, I am old enough to remember when there were so few homeless people in American, not just DC, but anywhere in America, that you never saw them. What changed? Did people suddenly become more foolish? Hardly. We had plenty of foolishness in the 1960’s and 70’s. We had drugs, we had domestic violence, we had mental illness, we had unemployment. But we had very few homeless. So what changed?

Ronald Reagan. The current wave of homelessness dates precisely to the Reagan administration. Cuts to mental health services (not just deinstiturtionalization, but also cuts to federal mental health programs) had the effect of dumping millions of mental patients on the streets with perfectly predictable results. In addition to that Reagan cut funds for public housing and closed many projects, that resulted in a dramatic loss of low cost housing, with perfectly predictable results.

Washington used to have places like Hartnett Hall, where you could get rent a room for $4 a night, and for $5.50, breakfast was included. An alcholoic could do the occassional odd job and have enough money to live indoors. It was a grim life, but at least it was indoors.

Back in Reagan’s time we began a series of policies that transferred wealth from ordinary people to wealthy, with perfectly predictable results.

And it is about to get far worse. Under Obamacare, all full time employees must be covered by health insurance, or the employer will pay a fine. A few employers will get health insurance, many will simply pay the fine as a cost of doing business, but the fast food and retail sector is most likely to respond by cutting every employee’s hours so that they are part time employees. Therefore, retail workers who currently lack health insurance, but at least have enough money for housing, will become homeless. We will see massive overcrowdiding as some employees sleep on the couches of family members, but many will wind up in homeless shelters.

So that is why people like Muriel Bowswer and Yvette Alexander are so misguided in their enthusiasm for Walmart. Walmart jobs are not sustaining. They don’t even pay poverty wages. Their workers will swamp our social service system. Meanwhile they threaten good paying jobs at union shops like Safeway and Giant, jobs that pay their way and make our social service system possible.

Mark Warner is an empty suit

Read about Mark Warner’s truly pathetic performance at Brennan’s confirmation hearing.

Globalizing Torture

CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition

More than 10 years after the 2001 attacks, Globalizing Torture makes it unequivocally clear that the time has come for the United States and its partners to definitively repudiate these illegal practices and secure accountability for the associated human rights abuses.


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