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Under a new policy soon to go into effect, items left by the homeless in public space and removed by authorities will be kept in a city warehouse for 45 days instead of tossed. The policy, based on a similar practice in Pittsburgh, is intended to prevent lawsuits against the city. But a point of contention arose during the drafting of the policy, which is pending final review, over who would sort through the items to separate things of value—clothes, personal papers, medication—from plain old trash. A proposed solution, says D.C. Office of Neighborhood Services head Patrick Canavan, was found within the justice system: Those sentenced to community service for minor crimes may soon find themselves picking through a transient’s soiled effects. “It seems to me to be a sensible solution,” Canavan says. “Why not have people who need to give work to the community do it?” —Mike DeBonis