Tag Archives: Encampment Sweeps

The Homeless vs. Mayor Muriel Bowser

In 2015, 53 homeless people died on the streets of Washington, D.C., and if it had not been for the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), National Consumer Advisory Board (NCAB), and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC), their lives would have ended without anyone knowing who they were or how they died (Black et al, 2016). Each year since 1990, on or near the first day of winter, these agencies have held a Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day event to remember the lives of those homeless persons who died while living on the streets (“National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day”). These agencies advocate for homeless, but now they are faced with an even bigger task. The mayor of our city is ordering “sweeps” to eradicate the shelters homeless people depend on to store the few belongings they have.

The mayor and D.C. Government should stop encampment sweeps because they cause more harm than good by further endangering the lives of the homeless.

We live in a city of great wealth. Unfortunately, many people are not able to enjoy that wealth. Business men and women will happily walk by a homeless person who is holding out a cup for spare change. Many persons walk by without even acknowledging the existence of homeless people. According to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, homelessness is defined as “an individual who lacks housing, including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility that provides temporary living accommodations, and an individual who is a resident in transitional housing.” According to a report by PBS, there was a nationwide count of 578,424 homeless people in 2014, with 7,748 in the District alone. Continue reading

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