On July 10th, WIN leader Anne Ford gave testimony to the DC Council on the need to hold those responsible for the shelter conditions accountable. Councilmembers Graham, Wells, Barry, Bonds, Alexander, and Grosso were present. This is one of several testimonies on DC General from WIN leaders presented to city council.
Read Anne’s testimony:
Testimony of the Washington Interfaith Network Regarding DC General Shelter Hello, my name is Anne Ford and I am a member of Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Church, and part of the Washington Interfaith Network, an organization of 45 congregations, non-profits, and community organizations in DC. WIN leaders have met face-to-face with over 100 residents of DC general shelter. We have heard countless times from residents of the deplorable state of DC General. Residents have described the shelter as a terrible and unhealthy environment for human beings. The shelter is not a safe or humane place for families and children to stay. However, DC General shelter cannot be closed without a plan to provide enough housing and emergency shelter for families. Last winter, the city struggled to find room to house families, filling up the shelter and hotels, and even using recreation centers that did not provide families with privacy or security. There has not been enough adequate housing and shelter planned out to allow DC General to close yet. The city must also invest in the DC General shelter, even if it’s future is short lived. As long as families are living there, they deserve dignified living conditions and a place for children to play, now. WIN has called for answers from The Community Partnership that runs the shelter. Yet another week has gone by and still no response. When will Director Marshall face residents to account for: 1) Resident safety – especially in light of Relisha Rudd’s abduction. At the hearing last week, we reported that on June 2, Deputy Director of the TCP stated Relisha Rudd was “not abducted”. There has been no response from Director Marshall retracting this outrageous statement. 2) Food quality – especially in light of concerns of spoiled food and pictures of moldy bread on the nightly news. On June 2 TCP staff stated that moldy bread on the news would not prompt them to inquire further into problems with food. Does Director Marshall agree? 3) First Amendment rights of residents- especially in light of fears of retaliation when residents make their voices heard about valid concerns of safety and quality at the shelter. We requested that TCP post advisories around the shelter stating rights of residents should be respected. TCP refused. Is Director Marshall afraid of residents exercising their rights to speak? Does Director Marshall think that residents, DC taxpayers like me, and DC voters deserve the respect of answers to their questions and concerns? When will she show respect and respond? We ask that you hold the interests and concerns of DC General residents first in discussing the future of DC General. Thank you