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The District displaced dozens of residents living in tents along K Street NE after implementing a new policy for the homeless encampment that took effect Thursday.

The Office of the Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services (DMHHS) told encamped residents of the K Street NE underpass in early January that they could no longer set up their tents along the sidewalk after Jan. 16. The underpass will serve as a “pedestrian passageway.”

“We don’t even have a home to be evicted from and yet we’re still being evicted,” says Brandon Campbell, who City Paper spoke with on Wednesday as he moved his tent from K to L Street NE. He says the NoMa encampments are his safest option because the shelters he stayed at were dangerous; one was infested with bedbugs, he was stabbed at another.  

Thursday was a somber day for many. Encamped residents’ personal belongings were lined along the street as they were forced to relocate. Street Sense’s Eric Falquero was present on Thursday, as nonprofit employees and volunteers helped the remaining residents of K Street NE move. He reports that Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau was the only elected official who visited encamped residents and their advocates yesterday.  

Many will continue to keep a close eye on what happens next. Aaron Howe, a Ph.D. candidate at American University who is completing their dissertation on the encampments and was present on Thursday, says they will be watching to see how D.C. enforces the new policy and if it drifts elsewhere. 

“We haven’t seen an enclosure like this since the $100k fence was built around the camp sites under the Whitehurst freeway. That enclosure, I believe, preconditioned the rise of the camps in NoMa. What will this enclosure precondition?” they ask. “How will the city respond once other areas become too crowded?” 

While a few K Street NE encamped residents moved to other parts of the city, Howe knows many moved to the other NoMa encampment on L Street NE and some to the one on M Street NE. 

“Another thing I will be paying attention to is community dynamics as opposing personalities are forced into tighter living conditions,” writes Howe to City Paper via text. “My work focused a lot on community and boundary formation and many moved from K to L a few months back due to conflicts, this forcing of people together could lead to increased violence, minimally it will make daily life harder for homeless residents.”

This conversation isn’t over. Street Sense is hosting a second community town hall about the NoMa encampments on Jan. 23. Perhaps city officials will show up this time, as they didn’t attend the last one. —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? Email agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com  

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • ICYMI: Displacement, guns, police-community tensions: Here’s what residents who deal with homicides believe is contributing to the uptick in deadly violence in D.C. [WCP]

  • Students and teachers demand more money for violence prevention in the D.C. budget. [WJLA

  • Attorney General Karl Racine leads a multi-state lawsuit to stop the Trump administration’s changes to the SNAP food assistance program, which could eliminate aid to 13,000 D.C. residents. [OAG]

  • WMATA proposed fare increases and service cuts in its budget. [WAMU, WCP]

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Today isJack Evans’ last day. [WAMU, WCP]

  • The head of Events DC, Greg O’Dell, got a bonus on top of his six-figure salary. [Twitter]

  • The questionable plan to redevelop the DC Housing Authority’s headquarters remains unchanged—for now. [WBJ, Twitter]

  • D.C. police officers blow the whistle on alleged Constitutional violations and retaliation. [WTOP, WUSA

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com) 

  • Hanumanh reopens in Shaw after months of being closed for gas line repairs. [Washingtonian]

  • Critic Tom Sietsema already tried Danny Meyer’s first full-service restaurant outside of New York. [Post]

  • Where to brunch on MLK day. [DCist]

  • Restaurateurs talk about raising money “when no one knows your name.” [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, byKayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • D.C.-based journalist and writerKyle Chayka gets to the heart of the issues with minimalism in The Longing for Less. [WCP]

  • Howard University gets a valued $2.5 million African American art collection. [WAMU]

  • An ecologist from Bethesda helped create science explorer Barbie dolls. [Post]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The Washington Spirit traded Mallory Pugh, one of the most popular players in the NWSL and a World Cup champ, to Sky Blue FC in order to acquire three draft picks, including the fourth overall, for the NWSL Draft. They used that pick to select UCLA forward Ashley Sanchez. [Pro Soccer USA]

  • The reigning WNBA champion Mystics will open the 2020 season at home on May 16 against the Los Angeles Sparks in a nationally televised game. [NBC Sports Washington]

  • It’s not a great idea to get Alex Ovechkin mad. A first period high stick from Devils forward Miles Wood left Ovechkin with a bloody mouth. His response? A hat trick in the Caps’ 5-2 victory. [Yahoo]

MAKE PLANS, byEmma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full To Do This Week newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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