On Monday, October 4th, DC stopped an encampment eviction in NoMa when a DC bulldozer injured a human being in an attempt to throw away his tent. You read that right, they nearly threw away a person. This botched eviction, conducted during a pandemic and on the eve of hypothermia season, was both predictable and preventable. As Andrew Anderson from the People for Fairness Coalition told WUSA 9, "I think [DC] dropped the ball on this completely." Still, Mayor Bowser is moving forward with this pilot program and now will rely even more heavily on the police to conduct these clearings.
As we said in our statement released on Monday, the solution to homelessness is housing, and we're grateful that many encampment residents have moved into housing recently. But we cannot ignore the violence and harm of Monday's eviction. We need to meet people with compassion and understanding, not with artificial timelines and threats. Instead of focusing resources on criminalization and closures, DC must marshall its resources to focus on housing.
Raise your voice!
The fact that somebody was bulldozed underscores the sad reality that, in D.C., the lives of unhoused people, especially unhoused Black and brown people, are often considered disposable to those in power. That's why, together, we need your help to continue building a movement that forces our elected officials to prioritize the needs of our unhoused neighbors. Below are two ways to channel the anger we are all feeling to create policy change.
- CALL THE DC COUNCIL THURSDAY AND FRIDAY (10/7 and 10/8): Click here to sign-up to call Councilmembers Allen and Gray, and Chairperson Mendelson.
- ONGOING: Add your name to this petition calling on DC to stop the creation and expansion of "no tent zones."
Communities and leaders are speaking up against the criminalization of homelessness
Since Monday, there has been an outpouring of opposition to the increased displacement and criminalization of homeless encampments. Please take some time to read these powerful statements from the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Greater Greater Washington, and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. Additionally, we are grateful to Councilmembers Nadeau, Lewis-George, and Robert White for using their power to support our unhoused neighbors and to push back on these harmful evictions.
We thank our partners on the ground!
We want to take a moment to thank our partner organizations who have been on the ground directly supporting our unhoused neighbors in the NoMa encampments for months and even years. We owe deep debts of gratitude to the People for Fairness Coalition, Serve your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid, HIPS, The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, and Pathways to Housing.
P.S. Don't forget to follow us on twitter, instagram, and facebook for campaign updates, action alerts, and more!