Councilmember Tommy Wells, who chairs the Committee on Human Services, announced today that he will hold an oversight hearing to review homeless shelter operations. The hearing is set for March 31 at 10 a.m. The press release on the hearing states:
“The purpose of this Roundtable is to provide an opportunity for the Council and public to receive a briefing from the Department of Human Services on the implementation of the District’s efforts to provide shelter to homeless families and individuals during the recent winter. The Committee will question the agency on issues related to shelter capacity, shelter operations, case management, transition to permanent supportive housing, transportation services, services for youth and children, shelter security and the provision of meals at shelters. The Council also welcomes public testimony from those who are homeless and advocates for the homeless.”
The hearing stems from the allegations and complaints concerning D.C. General’s family shelter. Residents alleged that staff offered to trade blankets and juice for sex, that case workers took too long to help them find housing, and that the shelter had been infested with mice and mold. On Feb. 9, a resident’s newborn died.
Wells has expressed concerns to City Desk about these allegations and Families Forward, the nonprofit that runs the shelter. Last night, the nonprofit admitted that it had to fire employees for inappropriate contact with female residents.
Anyone wishing to testify is encouraged to contact Vivian McCarter via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 202-724-8191 by March 29. Witnesses need to bring 15 copies of their written testimony.