The problem of homelessness in washington dc

But Declining Elsewhere Laura Zeilinger talks about why homelessness is on the rise in the district and what the Bowser administration is doing about it.

The problem of homelessness in washington dc

I want to watch you pee into this paper cup to see if you have been taking drugs. Steve Valero, a lawyer at Greater Boston Legal Services, is indignant about this and has been telling shelters that it is an illegal practice.

Some shelter directors claim they had no idea it was illegal. They thought it would be better to have all residents tested for drugs rather than singling out one person.

Valero said that he tells those directors they have it backwards. It might be legal to single out a person whom you suspect of being on drugs if that person was behaving as if she is drugged -- for example, if she seems completely stoned and is neglecting her kids.

But to test everybody routinely is an illegal invasion of privacy. One shelter resident said that she had to undergo drug testing every week for over 40 weeks, with a staff member watching her pee, even though she has never taken drugs. The war on drugs has invaded shelters for the homeless, treating homeless people as criminals.

In this article I discuss the causes of homelessness, how the shelter system, which was presumably a temporary response to homelessness, has become institutionalized as the dominant response, and how it is used for social control.

I discuss the various approaches to ending homelessness, many of them distractions from the main cause -- poverty. The federal government cut back on building houses and subsidizing housing for low-income people as well as social assistance programs.

Urban renewal and gentrification forced people out of low-rent housing, and wages declined with deindustrialization and outsourcing. Cities used land use policies to help corporations and real estate interests squeeze out the poor. Hurricane Katrina made matters worse for poor people: With the enormous political and logistical obstacles to rebuilding that now exist, it will be years before the Gulf region of the country works through the disruption to human lives and the destruction to the built environment.

However, the federal government has been cutting back on building housing and providing subsidies for housing since the early s. There is a year waiting list for Section 8 vouchers in Massachusetts, and no more are being given out.

The federal government chose to subsidize private housing for poor people through Section 8 vouchers rather than build housing because it did not want to interfere with private real estate interests.

Real estate interests have decimated rent control in most cities, as rents continue to rise beyond the ability of low-income people, and even middle-income people, to pay them.

The Western Regional Advocacy Project documents federal cutbacks in housing: Froma yearly average of almost 31, new Section rural affordable housing units were built, but fromaverage yearly production was less than half that of the previous decade and fromSection built an average of only 1, new units per year.

In recent years, overprivate-sector rental units have been lost annually, and 1. HUD budget authority in was 65 percent more than its budget. Every year sincetax benefits for home ownership have been greater than HUD's entire budget and have dwarfed direct expenditures for programs that benefit low-income renters.

Over the next couple of decades, shelters grew from being a temporary emergency response to become a permanent shelter industry. There were 62, homeless shelters in the U.

Most homeless shelters for individuals allow people to stay only at night to sleep. A reason frequently given for not allowing people to stay during the day is that the homeless are expected to spend their days looking for work and housing.

There are a few day shelters, such as St. Francis House in Boston, where homeless people congregate and eat their meals. Some shelters provide services, such as a soup kitchen, job seeking skills training and job training, job placement, support groups, information and referral services, substance abuse treatment, early intervention programs, parental skills training, training for the GED, playrooms for children and volunteers to staff them.

Haley House in Boston, a shelter for individuals modeled after the Catholic Worker houses of hospitality, trains residents to be bakers and they sell their products to the public. Kip Tiernan, a radical feminist who founded Rosie's Place, a shelter for homeless women in Boston, also founded a shelter for women with AIDS and a homeless women's chorus that performs at fund raisers.

There are flowers on the table at the women's shelter, reflecting Kip's belief that people need beauty as well as bread "Give me bread and give me roses. While I was doing outreach in a welfare office, I met a woman who was crippled with severe arthritis and had stayed overnight at a shelter for individuals.

The shelter had no lockers, and she was carrying her belongings in a plastic bag. There was no guarantee that she would get a bed for that night because the shelter required people to line up at 4: Many homeless individuals will not go to a homeless shelter because they are crowded and dangerous.

If there is no place to store belongings, they often are stolen. Some of the residents have emotional problems which are exacerbated, or caused by, their homelessness.Jan 01,  · D.C.

The problem of homelessness in washington dc

Homelessness Doubles National Average as Living Costs Soar Image Anita White, a lifelong resident of Washington, D.C., who is staying . Sam Tsemberis, founder and CEO of Pathways to Housing, stands near one of the buildings in NE Washington D.C. that offers housing to formerly homeless.

In Washington, the surge in family homelessness began in parks and the University of the District of Columbia. The tally doesn’t fully capture the scope of the city’s homeless problem. A Capitol offence: homelessness in DC a homeless man in Washington, December as Ed Lazere, executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute said, the problem here "does not.

Feb 09,  · Nationwide homelessness is on the decline, with an estimated 11 percent fewer homeless people in than in As we have seen in the United States in vibrant real time over the last several years, the media have become a battleground for the powerful to fight it out with the goal of altering public.

Homelessness | So Others Might Eat