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At 2:00 p.m. this afternoon, an indeterminate number of people entered the historic Franklin School at 13th and K Street NW to protest the 2008 closure of a homeless shelter in the building. As of this posting, police are still trying to figure out how to oust them. Watch a livestream here.
The building has been vacant for three years now, as the city has mulled disposing of it to developers, to protest from community members who would like to see it used for social services or education. Homeless advocates also sued the city in Superior Court for closing the shelter, even though the administration of former mayor Adrian Fenty had promised to put all of its occupants in permanent supportive housing. The city issued requests for proposals to redevelop the building in 2003 and 2009, receiving only one response last time, and is preparing to issue another.
According to homeless activist Eric Sheptock, homeless people have continued to use the building, which isn’t exactly secure—-you can get in by hopping a wrought iron fence in an alley.
The action highlights how Occupy D.C. has served as a base of operations for local activist causes, including infrastructure and jobs, to an extent that I haven’t noticed in other cities. More photos after the jump.