The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Washington, D.C.:
How Not to End Homelessness

Apr 11, 2016

Washington, D.C. officials propose to move homeless families from the 280-family shelter in the former D.C. General Hospital building into smaller shelters. Mayor Bowser like Mayor Gray before her says homeless families will be better served.

Great – if that were true. But it’s not.

The city is simply using the pretext of the homeless to give an enormous gift to the development company of politically connected Bruce Finland.

The city agreed to pay $3,500 a room for 50 rooms at Finland’s 2619 Wisconsin Avenue shelter. That’s in the first year. The rate would go up 3% a year after that. But the average rent for one-bedroom apartments in the nearby neighborhood is $1,750 a month, and for two-bedroom apartments, $2,860. The city committed to pay far more than that for nothing but dormitory style rooms – no private bathrooms, no kitchens. The family members will have to use shared bathrooms in the hallways. The seven shelters to be leased in the city's other wards all have similarly high rent paid to similarly connected developers.

It’s not a plan for the homeless, it’s another gift to landlords.