After a short hiatus during the recent campaign season, Save Our Safety Net is back up and fighting. The group’s latest issue: taking on Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells‘ bill that would restrict homeless services to only District residents. The Safety Netters show that there’s more to this bill than the residency requirement.
Citing the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, the org writes that the bill:
“*Requires verification of DC residency before one can access emergency shelter or almost any other homeless service, including winter shelter, outreach, Housing First, meal programs and crisis intervention services, and defines residency more narrowly than any other program in DC.
*Attempts to exclude a) those who seek “low barrier” shelter (which does not include any family shelters or “severe weather” shelters), as well as b) applicants to shelter who are victims of “domestic abuse, sexual assault, or human trafficking” (but provides no information on how a person would verify such exemption prior to receiving services), from residency requirements during severe weather only.
*Eliminates the longstanding health and safety protections for families with minor children by removing the requirement in the winter that family shelter be “apartment-style.” Removes any limit on the number of families that can be placed together in one room with communal sleeping, eating, and bathroom facilities.
*Bill 18-1059 would increase the burden on the agencies that provide shelter, increase the cost per client the agencies serve, and would open DC up to lawsuits. But the most troubling, is that DC would leave individuals and families who can not prove residency out in the cold, even at risk of hypothermia.”
I assume that Save Our Safety Net is gonna want their capes back from Wells, Barry and others who support this legislation.