Vote this Tuesday + Homeless Memorial Vigil
Last Tuesday, the DC Council delayed an important vote on legislation that would have expanded protections for people living in encampments during hypothermia season. They will resume this vote on Tuesday (the same day as the Homeless Memorial Vigil). This vote will illustrate which Councilmembers care about the needs of encampment residents and which Councilmembers support displacement and harm of our unhoused neighbors. We’ll be watching and reporting the position of each Council Member so be sure to follow us on twitter @thewayhomeDC for updates.
As a reminder, this legislation will:
- Stop the creation of “no tent zones”, which criminalize homelessness, and reverse existing no tent zones until the end of hypothermia season,
- Ensure the continuation of access to housing and services while restoring and/or maintaining encampment hygiene, sanitation, and promoting fire safety,
- Stop the use of police and heavy machinery to engage with encampments,
- Make it harder (but not impossible) for the Mayor to evict encampment residents during the winter, and;
- Shift DC’s encampment response to focus on housing and support rather than harm and displacement.
DC must focus on housing, not harm
There has been a fair amount of misinformation about this issue, so we want to state our position clearly: We’re calling on the DC Council to stop encampment evictions while, at the same time, ensuring that DC continues to connect our unhoused neighbors with the housing they need to thrive. To fact-check some common misunderstandings, please visit our recent blog.
Right now, people are celebrating the encampment evictions in NoMa and at New Jersey and O Streets while calling for even more evictions to take place. The desire to erase encampments until we can no longer see homelessness in our DC is rooted in racism and classism and at odds with local and national best practices. We need you to raise your voice so that the DC Council knows where you stand! Don’t let the only messages the DC Council hears be from those who want to displace our neighbors. Below are two ways to take action.
1. Contact the DC Council
The following Councilmembers below have not publicly supported the legislation that will stop the harm of evictions while refocusing on housing. We’ve already sent in thousands of letters, and now we’re asking you to write your own emails and make phone calls so that your Councilmembers can hear directly from you about why DC must stop encampment evictions. Personalized and custom letters and calls get much more traction at this stage in the game. Feel free to use the language and talking points, found here.
If you live in DC, please contact the 3 Councilmembers below that represent all DC voters:
- At- Large: Anita Bonds| email@example.com | (202) 724-8064 | twitter @AnitaBondsDC
- At-Large: Christina Henderson | firstname.lastname@example.org | (202) 724-8105 | twitter @chenderson
- Council Chair: Phil Mendelson | email@example.com | (202) 724-8032 | twitter @ChmnMendelson
If you live in Wards 2, 3, 5, 6, or 7, please contact the 3 Councilmembers above AND your Councilmember, below.
- Ward 2: Brooke Pinto: firstname.lastname@example.org | (202) 724-8058 | twitter @brookepintodc
- Ward 3: Mary Cheh: email@example.com | (202)-724-8062 | twitter @marycheh
- Ward 5: Kenyan McDuffie: firstname.lastname@example.org | (202) 724-8028 | twitter @CM_McDuffie
- Ward 6: Charles Allen: email@example.com | (202)724-8072 | twitter @CMCharlesAllen
- Ward 7: Vince Gray: firstname.lastname@example.org | (202) 724-8068 | twitter @VinceGrayWard7
This year’s Annual homeless Memorial Vigil, sponsored by the People for Fairness Coalition, is this Monday and Tuesday, 12/20-21st. During this powerful event, we will remember our neighbors who have died without the dignity of a home and take action to ensure that DC ends homelessness. Click here to RSVP and for more details.
We urge you to show up for Monday’s vigil and march (5:00 pm at Luther Place Church and for Tuesday morning's press conference and action (8:00 am at Freedom Plaza).