S treetS ense.org January 21 - February 3, 2009
Where the poor and homeless earn and give their two cents
January 21 to February 3, 2009 Volume 6 Issue 6
A Cinderella Story
all over, even on the
Vendor Joann Jackson
worries about closure of
a mental health clinic
Ten homeless women step out at Students try their hands
at being vendors for a day
the People’s Inaugural Ball, page 5 Page 14
2 January 21 to February 3, 2009 S treetS ense.org
Street Sense aims to serve as a vehicle for elevating voices and public debate on issues
relating to poverty while also creating economic opportunities for people who are
1317 G Street, NW experiencing homelessness in our community.
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 347–2006 The Story of Street Sense
Fax: (202) 347–2166 Street Sense began in August 2003 after two project of the National Coalition for the Home-
email@example.com volunteers, Laura Thompson Osuri and Ted Hen- less, but in October 2004, the organization incor-
www.streetsense.org son, approached the National Coalition for the porated and moved into its own office space. In We are proud
Homeless on separate occasions about starting March 2005, Street Sense received 501(c)3 status,
BOARD OF DIRECTORS a street newspaper in Washington, D.C. becoming a nonprofit organization. members of:
Kristal DeKleer Ted Henson A street paper is defined as a newspaper about In October 2005 Street Sense formed a full
Mary Lynn Jones Sommer Mathis poverty, homelessness and other social issues board of directors, and in November the organi-
Brad Scriber John Snellgrove that provides an income to the homeless indi- zation hired its first employee, a fulltime execu-
Michael Stoops David Walker viduals who sell it. About 25 street papers operate tive director.
Kathy Whelpley in the United States and Canada in places like Se- A year later in November 2006 , the organiza-
attle, Chicago, Montreal and Boston, and dozens tion hired its first vendor coordinator, and began
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR more exist throughout the world. partnering with several service providers.
Laura Thompson Osuri After bringing together a core of dedicated vol- In February 2007, the paper started publishing
unteers and vendors, Street Sense came out with twice a month and to support the increased pro- International
EDITOR–IN–CHIEF its first issue in November 2003, printing 5,000 duction, Street Sense brought on its first fulltime Network of
Mary Otto copies. For the next three years the paper pub- editor–in–chief in April. Street Papers
lished on a monthly basis and greatly expanded As of January 2009 the paper has 80 active ven-
VENDOR MANAGER its circulation and vendor network. dors and prints about 30,000 issues a month.
Lindsey Clark For the first year, Street Sense operated as a
Vendor Code of Conduct
David S. Hammond (volunteer)
Do you want to
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donations for Street Sense by any other means.
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Curry, Rick Dahnke, Andy Freeze, Jessica Street Sense 2. I will only purchase the paper from Street Sense staff and
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Gaitan, Cassandra Good, Joanne Goodwin,
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Hoying, Kayne Karnbach, Michael Kelly, Order a subscription today! – respectfully, and I will not “hard sell,” threaten or pressure
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Wiseman, Corrine Yu alcohol.
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Dixon, Randy Evans, Christina Ferguson,
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tin Walker, Lawless Watson, Ivory Wison Thank You!
S treetS ense.org January 21 - February 3, 2009 3
IN OTHER NEWS Conditions at homeless shelters have improved — the same time the outbreak occurred in downtown
Compiled by Dan Horner dramatically over the last 20 years, but some remain Winnipeg.
inadequate for housing people overnight, said Mi- Plourde said the bacteria can infect anyone, but
Fire safety inspections lagged at Texas shelter where chael Stoops, executive director of the National Co- people who have weakened immune systems, open
blaze killed 5 alition for the Homeless. Because city ordinances wounds, or who have recently undergone surgery are
Investigators probing a fatal fire at a Paris, Texas are the only form of oversight for most shelters, it's more at risk.
homeless shelter have been unable to find evidence it critical that they be inspected regularly, he said. (As- He said the city’s homeless population tends to
was inspected for fire safety in recent years, according sociated Press) delay seeking medical treatment until they’re in dire
to local officials. need, and that some patients had severe tissue dam-
While still early in the investigation into the Jan. Outbreak of rare disease hits Winnipeg homeless age and needed immediate surgery.
5 fire that ripped through the aging building, killing An outbreak of potentially deadly flesh-eating dis- Plourde could not confirm how many patients
five, records indicate it was last inspected in 2004, fire ease erupted among Winnipeg’s homeless last year, might have had limbs amputated.
chief Ronnie Grooms told The Associated Press. infecting 12 people with an invasive bacterium that Flesh-eating disease is caused by a bacterium that
Homeless shelters in Texas aren't licensed by the spreads rapidly and causes severe pain and disfigu- quickly destroys tissue and muscles. It is the same
state, so regular fire inspections are not required. ration. bacterium that causes strep throat.
Grooms said his small department, which has only Winnipeg health officials did not publicly disclose In flesh-eating disease, it can cause death in as
two inspectors, focuses mostly on state-licensed fa- that a cluster of cases was reported in the city between little as 12 to 24 hours, but can be treated with heavy
cilities where inspections are mandated. April and October 2008 until questioned by the Win- antibiotics and surgery to remove the disease-ridden
"Sometimes things fall through the cracks," he said. nipeg Free Press this month. tissue. Often, afflicted limbs are amputated to save
"That's no excuse, really. That's just the way it is." Dr. Pierre Plourde, a Winnipeg medical officer of someone’s life. (Winnipeg Free Press)
The five victims were among 28 men sleeping in health, said inner-city shelters were alerted about
cubicles in the warehouse-like building, which has the spike in cases and told to watch for anyone with Judge orders trial in slaying of two Calif. men
long served as both a homeless shelter and a collec- wounds or sore throats who might be at an increased A California judge ordered two men to trial on
tion point for donated clothes and other items. risk of developing the infection. charges they killed a homeless man during a mug-
Investigators have determined the shelter had He said there were four or five strains of flesh- ging in 2007.
no sprinkler system, fire alarms or smoke detectors, eating disease that were reported and there was no Bobby Dee Dozier, 23, and Marlon Reese, 26, are
Grooms said. evidence that anyone infected transmitted the disease candidates for capital punishment in the Aug. 25,
The facility is owned and operated by a local non- person. 2007, death of 42-year-old Oscar Alejandre because
profit group, Seed Sowers Christians in Action. The Nine of the 12 people had recently suffered ma- prosecutors allege that the killing occurred during a
group's founder, Don Walker, declined comment on jor injuries, including one person who was severely robbery.
issues relating to building codes or inspections. burned in a fire. Plourde said none of those infected Alejandre was shot to death near a homeless camp
"All I know is I tried to take care of people," he died of flesh-eating disease. in North Richmond, Calif. Prosecutors say the two de-
said. Manitoba province’s chief medical examiner Dr. fendants had been robbing people there and that Ale-
The Paris fire is the latest of at least a dozen at Thambirajah Balachandra confirmed that a total of jandre was shot in the back as he was running from
homeless shelters across the U.S. in the last two years, five people died from flesh-eating disease in 2008, in- the pair. Both defendants are alleged to have fired
according to news accounts. cluding one death in August, October and November shots. (Contra Costa Times)
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4 January 21 to February 3, 2009 S treetS ense.org
Obama Urged to Stem Rise in Homelessness
By Robert Blair But the good news came with an important quali- new vouchers, plus a substantial increase for the
fication. The progress documented in “Homelessness Department of Housing and Urban Development’s
As President Obama’s economic advisors and Con- Counts” occurred during a period of relative econom- Emergency Shelter Grant program, will be needed
gress finish work on the multi-billion dollar stimulus ic stability and increased activism by states and local to prevent an additional several hundred thousand
package, the recession’s growing impact on homeless communities. The current economic crisis, the report families from becoming homeless during the reces-
Americans still attracts scant attention. So far, the warns, threatens to reduce the resources available to sion. (The full report is available at www.cbpp.org.)
Administration’s housing efforts aim mainly at pro- local governments and nonprofits just when the de-
viding aid to distressed homeowners. mand for homeless services is increasing. Short-run and Long-run
Federal interventions such as mortgage restructur- “The count report shows that we’ve started to fig- Just days after releasing its “Homeless Count” re-
ing, refinancing assistance, foreclosure moratoriums, ure out some things that work,” observed Nan Roman, port, NAEH also made available a 6-page briefing
bankruptcy reform and tax credits have the highest president and CEO of NAEH. “Sadly, we’re now look- paper addressing the new problems likely to result
priority. But measures that could help stem the ing at increases. We need to take what we’ve learned from the housing-lead recession. That Jan. 15 paper,
growth of homelessness, and provide badly-needed and apply it to this new problem.” “Homelessness Looms as Potential Outcome of Re-
resources for the longer-term effort to end it are being cession,” made the following points:
proposed by concerned advocacy groups. Seeking a Commitment An estimated 1.5 million additional Americans
“Increasing foreclosures and growing unemploy- The recommendations urged on the Obama team could become homeless over the next two years ab-
ment are threatening more and more Americans with by the 15 national advocacy groups that authored the sent effective intervention;
homelessness,” warns Maria Foscarinis, executive di- November letter began with a request that the new Many communities have already begun to expe-
rector of the National Law Center on Homelessness president demonstrate his commitment to ending rience significant increases in their local homeless
and Poverty (NLCHP), “and shelters, soup kitchens homelessness by convening a White House confer- population;
and food pantries across the country are reporting ence at which a federal, inter-agency plan – one with Unemployment, poverty, and “deep poverty” (in-
surges in demand for help.” specific goals and timetables – would be presented. come below one-half the poverty level) could increase
In late November, NLCHP and more than a dozen “I don’t think homelessness was a big issue in the to levels not seen in decades and create overwhelming
other national homeless advocacy organizations sent presidential campaigns on either side,” Roman re- pressures on existing local assistance programs; and
a letter to the presidential transition team urging then marked. “It didn’t come up very much except with $2 billion in funding for homelessness prevention
President-elect respect to veterans.” So the idea of a White House Con- and rapid re-housing, plus 400,000 in additional hous-
Obama to embrace ference on Homelessness is seen as a way of bringing ing vouchers, and a substantial increase in the National
Increasing six key policy rec- attention to the issue, and encouraging greater inter- Housing Trust Fund will be needed to prevent those 1.5
ommendations to agency commitment and collaboration. million people from becoming homeless.
foreclosures and demonstrate his President Bush’s U.S. Interagency Council on In a Jan. 16 letter that NAEH sent to the Obama
growing umploy- Administration’s
Homelessness concentrated on working with state
and local groups to help create 10-year plans to end
transition team, Roman divided the group’s recom-
mendations between relatively short-term emer-
ment are threat- ending homeless- chronic homelessness and to implement rapid re- gency measures aimed at addressing the immediate
ness. housing and permanent supportive housing initia- economic crisis, and longer-term measures aimed at
ening more and A mid-January tives. “But,” Roman pointed out, “there’s no 10-year making continued progress toward the goal of ending
report by another plan for the federal government. We need to start a homelessness.
more Americans of the co-signing planning effort.” Rather than relying on the creation of more shel-
with homelessness. organizations, the
“A lot of groups feel that there’s a need to get the
federal agencies together,” she added. Such collabo-
ter beds and soup kitchens, NEAH urges the Obama
team to ensure the crisis is met with significantly
Shelters, soup to End Homeless- ration is seen as essential to assuring effective policy increased homelessness prevention and rapid re-
ness (NAEH), docu- and adequate resource allocation. housing efforts.
kitchens and food mented significant NEAH also called for $10 billion in economic
progress in reduc- Proposals stimulus funding for the National Housing Trust Fund
pantries across the ing the numbers Beyond greater planning for and resources avail- to acquire, rehabilitate and subsidize tenancy – tar-
country are report- of America’s home-
less individuals be-
able for the elimination of homelessness, the 15 ad-
vocacy organizations recommended specific policy
geted to aid those at highest risk of homelessness, and
advocated $2 billion in additional funding for HUD’s
ing surges in de- tween January 2005 priorities such as increased funding for 150,000 new Emergency Shelter Grant program for use by com-
and January 2007. housing vouchers each year; creating and sustain- munities to provide short-term housing assistance,
mand for help. But the report also ing 90,000 additional units of permanent housing; relocation funding, security and utility deposits,
noted that the cur- ensuring adequate incomes through public income mortgage and rent payments, and case management
rent recession, with assistance, tax credits, and wage policies; expanding assistance.
its increases in un- access to health services; ensuring educational ser- Finally, NAEH is urged the funding of 400,000
employment, poverty, housing foreclosures and credit vices for homeless children and youth; and protect- vouchers to provide housing for at-risk individual and
constraints, would undoubtedly lead to increases in ing homeless people from discrimination on voting families.
the number of homeless households and households rights, utilization of public facilities, and access to For the longer, post-recession effort, NAEH
at risk of homelessness. government buildings. (The full text is available at asked that the Administration pay special attention
That report, “Homelessness Counts: Changes in www.nchv.org.) to homeless veterans – a commitment that Obama
Homelessness from 2005 to 2007,” analyzes data col- On Jan. 8, the Center for Budget and Policy Pri- economic revitalization plan already mentions. Vet-
lected by communities from across the country dur- orities (CBPP), released its report on the increase in erans, NAEH reports, make up nearly one-fourth of
ing the bi-annual, late January, point-in-time counts homeless families in various areas around the nation America’s homeless population.
of sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations. in 2008. That report, entitled “Number of Homeless The organization also encouraged giving priority
NAEH’s Homeless Research Institute found that Families Climbing Due to Recession,” was accompa- to investment in rapid re-housing efforts for home-
changes recorded in 2005 and 2007 indicated a rough- nied by estimates of the probable future increases less families. The goal is to ensure that every child
ly 10% decline in the number of homeless men and in homeless families, and a recommendation that has a home.
women over that period (from 744,313 to 671,859), Congress include one-time funding for 200,000 new, And, finally, to keep the movement to end home-
with even larger percentage declines for persons in non-renewable housing vouchers in its forthcoming lessness on track, President Obama is urged to fund
homeless families (an 18% decline) and chronically economic stimulus package. the creation of an additional 90,000 housing units for
homeless adults (a 28% decline). According to the CBPP report, those additional the chronically homeless. .
S treetS ense.org January 21 - February 3, 2009 5
N Street Village Cinderellas Ready for Ball
Now Webber is sober, and she has renewed her
Ten Homeless Women ties with her loved ones. She stays at N Street Village
and helps run the shelter’s dental clinic, making sure
Step Out to the People’s other women get the care they need.
Elaine Webber has her dignity back. And if that
Inaugural Ball weren’t enough, now she, and nine other Cinderellas
from N Street Village, have invitations to the ball.
The People’s Inaugural Ball, to be exact.
By Mary Otto When Webber got word she was invited, she
Once upon a time (actually just two years ago) Cin- As this newspaper goes to press on Jan. 20, Webber
derella – also known as Elaine Webber – sat at the bus and her N Street friends will be donning gowns and
stop at 11th and M streets, NW, feeling hopeless. slippers and stepping out into the sparkling ballroom
The jobs she got never lasted. Her family and of the JW Marriott to celebrate with nearly 1,000 other
friends had given up on her. And she had given up guests.
on herself. “Can you imagine? That’s the Cinderella story,” says
“I was desperate, homeless, and alcoholic,” she Webber, shaking her head with disbelief as she thinks
says. “Every day was bad.” back to her old life. “There is hope for anyone.”
But one day, she stopped into a nearby women’s And that’s also the message of the People’s Inaugu-
shelter, N Street Village. She gathered her courage and ral Ball, the brainchild of Earl W. Stafford, the son of
asked for help, and she got into a recovery program a Baptist minister who grew up to found a successful
for her drinking. technology company, Unitech. Stafford, who hasn’t
forgotten his humble roots, got the idea of hosting a
celebration open not only to the wealthy but also to
the disadvantaged and overlooked.
Through his private Stafford Foundation, he spent
$1 million to rent the Marriott hotel overlooking the Can you imagine? That’s
inaugural parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue.
Working with charities across the country the foun-
the Cinderella story,” says
dation gathered guests including wounded veterans, Webber, shaking her head
challenged youths and homeless women.
“The People’s Inaugural Project offers the under- with disbelief as she thinks
privileged in our society a once-in-a-lifetime op-
portunity to come to our nation’s capital and join back to her old life. “There
in the inauguration of President-elect Obama,” said
is hope for anyone.
On Sunday, Jan. 18, Webber and the other women
from N Street Village were welcomed to the hotel to And she was right. When she stepped from the
choose finery for inauguration night. dressing room and pirouetted, beaming, the dress
A large room was set aside, sparkling like a magic flowed like it was made for her.
cave with hundreds of gowns of black and gold, ma- But Webber was having trouble. She tried dress
genta and mint, lavender and rose, some with tiny after dress, but nothing seemed right.
straps, others with sequined jackets – and tables of “I’m not feeling it,” she said, sounding bewildered,
elegant shoes and purses and earrings to match. as she once again returned to search through the
There were tuxedoes too for the men, along with racks. Then she spotted an outfit she had not no-
all the accessories. ticed before, a silk top with delicate flowers, worked
The clothing was all donated, and attendees will be in beads of silver and bronze and mahogany and a
able to keep their outfits, said an organizer, Barbara long silk skirt, a dark and lustrous brown.
Anderson. Some donors tucked special notes of good The worry started to lift from her face. The dress
wishes into the items they gave, she said. worked.
“People have been absolutely wonderful,’ said Now for shoes. They needed to be comfortable.
Anderson. Ball goers will also get manicures, and “We are supposed to be dancing until 1 a.m.,” she
help with makeup and hairstyling, she explained said. But she would be needed at the dental clinic the
amid the whirl. All around her, women were shyly, next morning, she added with a smile.
anxiously, raptly leafing through the racks of shim- “I have to work on Wednesday. They are expecting
mering dresses. me there at 9 o’clock.”
Quiet Mary Abe, who came to N Street during a A pair of satiny brown Bruno Maglis with heels not
battle with cancer, and now remains there working too high and gold beads on the toes just called her
at N Street’s Wellness Center, quickly found the per- name. And a little evening purse.
fect outfit, an elegant silver grey suit. She held it up Laurie Williams, N Street’s food service manager
proudly. looked Webber over from head to toe. She cocked a
“It was the first one I tried,” she said. “I love it.” critical eye. Adjusted a seam here and there. And fi-
Emily Miller, also of N Street, took a deep pink nally nodded approvingly.
gown with a matching stole from the rack and gath- Webber sighed.
ered it up lovingly. “I’m ready.”
An N Street Village woman shows off her fineries. - Jane Cave photos “I’m done,” she said. “It’s gonna fit.”
6 January 21 to February 3, 2009 S treetS ense.org
I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the
office of President of the United States, and will to the
best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Con-
stitution of the United States.—Presidential oath of of-
StreetPolitics By David Hammond fice, Article II, Section 1, United States Constitution
America is ready to turn a lot of corners – political, social, and genera- ON THE HILL
Inauguration Follows Tradition
tional – and the Street Sense vendors know it too. Many of them, like so many
other Americans, say history is being made in this presidential transition.
It has captured their attention and their imagination, and excitement has
By Street Sense staff Ceremonies, made up of members of the
been running high.
House of Representatives and the Senate,
On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, Barack beyond describing the electoral process
... But the same basic challenges remain
Obama and Joe Biden were sworn in as and specifying the oath of office, “the Con-
the 44th President and Vice President of stitution says nothing about the Inaugural
The excitement, though, doesn’t change the basic needs people still face:
the United States during our nation’s 56th ceremony” itself.
food and shelter, health care, a way to earn a living, somewhere to live.
inaugural ceremony. The ceremony itself is Historically, the day begins with a
And while homeless people might get lost in the shuffle of both the in-
little changed from the first inauguration church service and procession to the Capi-
auguration and the crisis facing the middle class, they’ll be looking to find
of George Washington in New York City in tol where the official swearing-in occurs.
their way out the same way as ever, looking for opportunity in the private
1789. The day is full of traditions which The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
sector, while hoping the public sector can come through with the emergency
signify both the renewal of leadership and traditionally administers the oath of of-
help they need.
the continuity of government. fice to the President-elect, who is joined
With the exception of eleven Presidents by his family, members of the Senate and
The President’s “To-Do” List, and Congress’s
– most notably Lyndon B. Johnson, who House of Representatives, cabinet mem-
was sworn in aboard Air Force One after bers, Justices of the Supreme Court, former
Since last fall, a lot of concerns have been pushed aside by the economic
President Kennedy was assassinated in presidents and other dignitaries. After an
crisis and plans for a federal economic stimulus package. Others have been
1963 – all inaugural ceremonies have been Inaugural Address from the new President,
rolled into the drive for comprehensive relief legislation.
held in front of the U.S. Capitol building in there is a parade down Pennsylvania Av-
So when Congress convened earlier this month, the leadership’s agen-
Washington, D.C. Although all but four of enue to the White House. The evening is
da was both less focused, and more ambitious, than the “to-do” lists they
the last 21 ceremonies were held on Janu- filled with balls, and this year was no ex-
brought in two years ago. That’s a result of the economic crisis, and of Demo-
ary 20th, before Franklin Roosevelt’s first ception – with dozens planned for January
cratic control of two branches of government.
swearing-in Inauguration Day in the Unit- 20th and the weekend before.
ed States was held consistently on March Despite the strong traditions running
Unfinished business gets a second chance: SCHIP and the dental benefit
4th or 5th. throughout the ceremony, this year’s inau-
The continuity, however, is simply a guration broke all records with the number
matter of tradition. According to the Joint spectators who came to Washington for the
One specific item that’s been talked about for a few years now is expand-
Congressional Committee on Inaugural historic event.
ing SCHIP, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. President Bush
vetoed an expansion in 2007, but last week the newly seated House of Rep-
resentatives voted again to expand the program, including provisions for
dental care, and then sent the measure across Capitol Hill where it was ap-
proved by the Senate Finance Committee.
SCHIP pays for health care for children whose family income falls be-
tween Medicaid eligibility, and the ability to afford private-market care. The
measure the House just approved would expand the dental care available to
children covered under the program, including preventive, restorative, and
emergency care, as well as opportunities for community health centers to
deliver care from private dentists funded through Medicaid and SCHIP.
The dental care provisions are notable because this part of health care Help Bring the Homeless in
from the Cold
has not always gotten the attention it deserves.
But plenty of poor people are walking around with broken teeth – it’s that
simple, and that bad. Some of them haven’t seen a dentist in years, and some
of them grew up without ever seeing a dentist. Bad teeth can be dangerous
just like chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension, because they have
a way of getting worse if left untreated.
The dental care provision in the House expansion of SCHIP is just further
evidence of a growing recognition of that fact at every level of government.
And the recent votes set the stage for the Senate and the new president to
approve growth in the federal SCHIP program.
This is the kind of incremental gain in publicly supported health care that
has attracted growing interest since the all-at-once push for universal care
failed 15 years ago. CALL THE
And expanding SCHIP – one specific step in expanding health care – is
getting back on the agenda even as widespread economic misery, and the
Democratic ascendancy, bring back to people’s minds the old push for uni-
But whatever happens, and on whatever scale, dental care expansions
can deliver important help to the people who need it the most – at least as
long as the economy, the cost of dental care, and personal circumstances
put privately paid-for care out of reach.
1 800 535-7252
Adrian M. Fenty, Mayor, Government of the District of Columbia
S treetS ense.org January 21 - February 3, 2009 7
STREET NEWS SERVICE
Ticket Blitz: Vancouver Police
Crack Down on “Street Disorder”
How am I going chandise on the sidewalk.” that the police must enforce the law
“It’s better than robbing people. I regardless of a person’s income.
“The real solution is to create a
community that provides adequate
to pay a $100 ticket found this stuff in the dumpster and “We can’t do an economic assess- affordable housing, detox facilities,
I’m trying to do something positive. ment of everybody we’re giving a mental health services and job op-
when I’m on social But the cops are a bunch of vultures ticket to,” said Fanning. “If we went by portunities in the DTES and across
who keep harassing us all the time.” [that] logic, we’d only give tickets to the city,” Robertson wrote in an email
assistance,” asked Vancouver Police Department people who were driving Mercedes.” response. “We can’t ticket our way out
David Napio, who said spokesperson Const. Tim Fanning Still, many in the neighborhood see of our problems.”
confirmed that the police are focus- the crackdown as part of an escalation Robertson said he and Vision coun-
he received two tickets ing their resources on street disorder against Downtown Eastside residents cillor George Chow are looking into
in the neighborhood in order to make in the lead up to the Olympics. This the idea of starting an organization
for jaywalking and one the “community more liveable.” past summer, police handed out tick- like Cheapskates in the Downtown
“Often we warn people before we ets to homeless people for camping in Eastside where “reusable goods that
for spitting in the past give a ticket out,” said Fanning, who Oppenheimer Park and have intermit- are retrieved can be cleaned, repaired
week. “There wasn’t could not say how many tickets had tently given out tickets to vendors and and be sold or exchanged in the com-
been handed out. “Anybody that has homeless people around Hastings and munity.”
a car on the street ever got a ticket for street vending Carrall—either locking up people’s be- United We Can executive director
has probably got at least one warning longings or throwing them in a dump Ken Lyotier had floated the idea of a
[when I jaywalked]. before. I’d say we’re very good that truck. Binner’s Market in the past. Robert-
way.” Gregor Robertson, who became son said police could easily regulate
I’m not that stupid. However, many in the neighbor- Vancouver’s mayor and chair of the the market to ensure there aren’t any
The cops need to use hood complain that they can’t afford police board earlier this month, said stolen goods.
the bylaw fines, which range from he plans to “send a strong signal” to
some. discretion. $100 for jaywalking and riding a bicy- the VPD that officers should focus on Reprinted from Megaphone
cle on the sidewalk to $250 for vend- violent crime and the hard drug trade, Magazine through the Street News
ing without a business license. and not jaywalking and spitting. Service, www.street-papers.org.
?By Sean Condon “How am I going
to pay a $100 ticket
when I’m on social Now Providing Quality Dental Services for D.C.
Over the past month, Vancouver
police officers have been cracking
David Napio, who
Medically underserved and homeless persons
down on street disorder in the Down-
town Eastside by handing out tickets said he received ….We treat you well
for everything from illegal vending two tickets for jay- A Reconciling
and riding a bicycle on the sidewalk walking and one Congregation
to jaywalking and spitting. for spitting in the
past week. “There Invites you to join us in
The normally chaotic makeshift
wasn’t a car on the worship on Sundays
market that takes up a half-block at at 9:30 and 11:00 AM
the corner of East Hastings and Carrall street [when I jay-
has been deserted as police officers walked]. I’m not Homeless Outreach
hand out tickets and arrest vendors that stupid. The Hospitality:
with outstanding warrants. cops need to use Fridays 9:00 AM
Downtown Eastside residents and some discretion.”
But Fanning said Foundry United
bottle binners often use the block to
street disorder is Methodist Church
sell found goods. Drug dealers also
the “thin edge of 1500 16th Street, NW
operate in the dense crowd. Many of Washington, DC 20036
the vendors feel the ticket blitz is vin- t h e we d g e,” a n d
if the police al-
(202) 332-4010 For one of Unity Health Care’s Medical
dictive. www.foundryumc.org Homeless Service Sites Call (202) 255-3469
“I’m just trying to feed myself,” low bylaw infrac-
said Dawn, who was selling random tions to continue it
hair care products on a blanket and could escalate into
a “mess.” He added 388-
For an appointment at any of our Community Health Centers Call 1(866) 388-6489
received a ticket for “displaying mer-
8 January 21 to February 3, 2009 S treetS ense.org
Some 4,000 miles east of DC lies Nice, the jewel
of the French Riviera. An ancient city that traces
its origins to Phoenicians, it is also the play-
ground of the jet-setting rich. Even in winter the
climate is mostly balmy. Like everywhere else the
rich like to flaunt their richness; rain or shine, fur
coats abound among Sunday strollers and the
city’s harbor is packed with luxury yachts. Tied in
serried ranks along the dock hundreds of millions
of dollars of boats await their super-rich owners
to jet down for a leisurely cruise on the Mediter-
ranean. It is their land of milk and honey, their
Even so, poverty is never far away. Just like in
our fair city, it is often rubbing shoulders with
wealth. Across the quays from the super yachts,
huddling in the archway in front of a church,
there are clusters of homeless women and men.
They don’t have far to go; they needn’t ‘jet in’. All
their worldly possessions are scattered around
them. Their luck, in a manner of speaking, is that
the weather is mostly clement and that, in a truly
French way, togetherness breeds camaraderie.
More often than not, breakfast consists of a bottle
of cheap red wine and a baguette, shared with
others. At least the wine – a staple in each French
household, rich or poor – is cheap. So is the bread,
which is among the world’s best.
But beyond the camaraderie and the wine and
bread, there is something else that distinguishes
France’s homeless from their peers in other coun-
tries. All over France, in whichever city, most
homeless people have at least one dog, sometimes
two, and even a cat or two. The pets offer comfort,
company, and friendship; ‘someone’ to care for.
Perhaps they bring some joy and laughter, some-
thing to look forward to when waking up in the
shadow of super yachts.
Photos and essay by Eugene Versluysen and Jane Cave.
S treetS ense.org January 21 - February 3, 2009 9
Cyberspace Love Affair
The phenomenon fiber optical intertwining space,
with the realm of wordplay.
The awesome conclusion insight,
eternal compassion for manipulating,
keys under masterful control,
vision with mind, heart and soul.
Upon the climax creativity, What’s up world?
leverage of intensity. Where’s my girl?
"Cyberspace love affair" I don’t know.
The struggling to satisfy heart, mind, and soul. She didn’t show.
The totality that craves within me more. I am homeless.
The simplicity within my psychology boldness to She is not.
overcoming all boundaries within mind, body, and soul. It hurts so much when
All for poetry. "Cyberspace love affair." we can’t be together.
She sticks with me,
- Carlton "InkFlow" Johnson through all types of weath-
She sells this paper,
so do I.
Who Do It (Man) Hopefully,
It was a cold night in the hood. is not
My homies and I was going down to the the highest we can fly!
Local bar to hang out a little while
when we saw two people in the alley.
One was a light skinned dude from the
- Shawn Herring
fourth ward on Washington Street, Dedicated to my wife and friend,
He had lost his cup of soda, or Ms. Margaret J. Jenkins,
maybe someone took it. my fellow Street Sense vendor.
“Who do it, man, who do it?”
That dude began to yell, “Police,
Police!” but they only asked, “Who do it,
man, who do it?”
It was D-Sweet man he
was running down the street, cup in hand.
Maybe, maybe we will never know
Who do it, man, who do it.
- James Fetherson
10 January 21 to February 3, 2009 S treetS ense.org
gREgORY’S gREAT gAME JIGGLE
Vendor Gregory Martin loves to create seek-and-find puzzles and drive the Street JOINT JUNE
Sense staff crazy trying to find the answers. Below is his latest puzzle. Good Luck! JAR JULY
The Letter J JUG JUSTICE
J R E K O J O S J O K E
E U L J J U S T I F Y J W N I O H I S T O R Y B
R O G Z A J A R J J L U I E S N E S T E E R T S
N W C H A N G E A E A U
J I G G L E J E J U L Y D Y O B H M A U Q T I R
O J U W I O R E O R E J S E L N R I N A U N E J
R A D O S A S S A I D G
J Y J J O I W T T E J O
E R T C J O A M R W A N
I U R U S J K S J A Z Z W S O I A O A A I Q R I
W Z S A J N U E C I U J O B M T E B I C U O A K
H L H C O N E R S R P L
G J U T U J G N G J E U
S N O I T U L O S E R M
L A J J I N G S I G N R N O I T A R U G U A N I
E J O L A C A E U O U Y
Street Sense apologizes for the missing lines in the “January in DC” puzzle
P M U J O M E J N A J J which appeared in the January 7-January 20 issue of the paper. Here are the
answers to a revised version of the puzzle, sorry for any inconvience..
STREET SuDukO: PuzzLE 7
6 7 1
8 4 9 2 DifficuLTY
5 7 3 1 LEvEL:
5 3 hARD
7 9 6 4 The Scope
1 2 7 9 By Carlton Johnson
3 5 In the month and the new year of historical events, the
year of new beginnings are in front of us. Remember to keep
3 7 2 your Street Sense of humor-today is your special day. Spoiling
yourself is a must.
Puzzle by websudoku.com
Now is not the time to compromise, move ahead
3 5 6 9 1 4 7 8 2 no matter of the hard times to come. Make all decisions with
1 4 8 2 7 3 9 5 6 profitable importance in mind. Avoid wasting your time. Spear
head your way and you’ll accomplish much in the coming
9 2 7 5 6 8 1 3 4 months.
Remember: If you are not on top of your game, the
LAST ISSUE’S 8 6 2 1 9 5 4 7 3 game will be on top of you.
ANSWERS Today’s predictions, there are none for you and yours
5 7 1 4 3 6 2 9 8 recognizing that you influence lots of people with your ideas,
4 9 3 7 8 2 6 1 5 your leadership, and your opinions. Do relax and use your
imagination. Don’t overwhelm yourself with domestic drains
7 8 5 6 2 1 3 4 9 and drama. May your special day be the best day ever. Don’t
forget to do something bigger than life by helping someone in
6 3 9 8 4 7 5 2 1 need.
2 1 4 3 5 9 8 6 7
Puzzle by websudoku.com
S treetS ense.org January 21,- February 3, 2009 11
Will write for food: Writer’s Group
Writer’s Group meets Wednesdays 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Street Sense office. A poetry after party is 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Article Exercise by Jerry W.
Pop is what they call soda, where some are from
Pop goes the trunk, when it used to be Porsches
The recent scandal of the Hip Hop is the music I sometimes like
Pop pop pop goes the sound in my neighborhood,
alleged attempt to sell a Senate later to find out firecrackers used by gangs to test response and intimidate
seat by the Illinois Governor ... Pop goes the sound when walking by a car with guys I don’t recognize,
maybe a gun or backfire?
Pop goes the weapons at Tech, from a guy I probably met days before, but
By Cara J. Schmidt
Pop goes the attitude when they tell you to be positive, but have nothing to
look forward to,
I have never, in all my years that I have been conscious of the political process, and a past they don’t want to hear
been so excited about a president. The feeling of fresh air after 8 years of W is like Pop goes the bubble when asked to speak in an audience that may not
a 7-year-overdue spring, But admid all my excitement over what Obama can do in understand nor care
the next 4 years, it seems like the rest of the world is crumbling. For months there Pop goes the weasel, as they tell the kids
has been endless coverage on the crashing economy, the crumbling of companies Pop, why the hell they calling me pop?
that once seemed invincible, and now one more scandal to throw on top of the pile oh, I’m 45 and they are first time college students.
of disgraced politicians.
I have so much hope for what our new president can do, but so much disappoint-
ment in what has become of the country he has promised to lead. The old saying
that I have heard since I was a child “absolute power corrupts absolutely” seems
Here’s to Archie’s 65th
by Patty Smith
only to be proven true time and time again. Can Obama, the man I have already
personally invested so much in, really be different? This scandal seems to hit a Is he going away or ain’t he? Those girls ever since they were little tykes(Betty
little closer to him, and it really makes me wonder. Obama is not best friends with and Veronica) were fighting over Archie. Curly haired,fair skinned boy. He
the governor, but there was a time when he was not above using the govenor for runs on to tell the news that his father has a promotion in a new city. He runs
his own political gain. They were at one point political allies. I wonder if he could into Josie and the Pussycats, they said that they will be sad to see him leave.
have known back then what the governor was like, and even more disheartening, I He sees Sabrina, the teenage witch and she says the same thing. He eventu-
wonder if he turned a blind eye. There is no solid proof either way at the moment, ally gets to Pop’s diner, the hang out spot, everyone has heard the news. He is
and so for now I am not ready to give up my faith in the man who is my deliverance surprised at this information. They explain that Betty and Veronica’s mother
from the Bush administration. I only hope that he will prove the old saying wrong saw each other and the rumor got around, like some wild fire. They all agree
and be worth my faith and hope. to have a going away party for Archie. When he enters Pops diner the next day,
they yell surprise. He tells them that he is not going away after all, and they
say that we can still celebrate because it is your 65th Anniversary.
Cara has been volunteering with WG for about nine months. Patty is Vendor number 4, and an early WG participant.
America for Sale, Cheap! Reggie’s Reflections: a premonition
by Jerry W.
by Reginald Black
Turns out Nader is a Harvard lawyer too, and said Obama’s got to choose be-
tween being Uncle Sam - that ‘We Want You’ character seen on old military posters,
or Uncle Tom, a literary racist image of servitude, and other times hopefully past. The messages still lingered in my mind. i remember feeling
But maybe Obama was helped by more than just Oprah, anger at first. I didn’t understand anything at this point. I
young people, Internet grassroots campaigns, churches, the flirted daily, and the new her only left voice mails. I guess
Obama Girl and Republican failures over the last 8 years? the two worlds I lived in did not coexist. They were separate
Turns out America is for sale, really, really cheap, not just to corpora- and the void of emotional distress loomed like an ominous
tions, lobbyists, PACS, and foreign investors, outsourcing and whole- cloud. I called the voice mails back when i could but got
sale to oil interests, but to incumbent individuals. Most state secrets limited answers. I started to feel like I couldn’t continue in
go for less than $20k, but a high paying Congressional seat costs my endeavors. I used to her just shutting the world out. It
more than $400k, before book deals, speaking engagements, etc... happened whenever she couldn’t reach me. While the entire
I t ’s a g o v e r n m e n t j o b , i n a c o l d N o r t h e r n t o w n , n e a r D e - time I blatantly flirted i perused only two for myself again I
troit, and the Auto Bailout Capital of the World, with mob con- hit a question mark. How do I decide which girl to ultimately
n e c t i o n s p re f e r re d , s o s h o u l d n’t b e m u c h o f a N I M B Y i s s u e. . . choose? I weighed the pros and cons. I found more similar-
All else fails, the after Inauguration/ Xmas sale, jobs in government, no SF 171 ity than difference between the two. comparing the two didn’t go well as I
required, and maybe just a Congressional confirmations to deal with today’s expected the woman I desired split into two one from where I lived the other
issues, to be posted on EBay.com. Apply today. Good benefits. Please check from another state and city. I could follow my heart but what happens when
that they are authorized incumbent vendors, no stinking badges required... your heart is divided in to two equal parts. What was it about me and the other
men different from those who are in happy relationships? Time after time I
watched as people I knew cheated constantly. This disturbed me and I also
Jerry, a formerly homeless disabled person, volunteers with WG by playing began to question was this my fate.
the role of a Jewish Mother.
Reggie puts the new spin on Sarah Jessica Parker’this side of the Anacostia.
12 January 21,- February 3, 2009 S treetS ense.org
This Wasn’t the “Cosby Show”
By Jeffery McNeil
e all have battles to fight I grew up as a country boy who knew this was her lot in life. sign on our house saying “Niggers Go
and demons to slay, and would rather be drinking my Icehouse Wynona had a sixteen–year–old Home.”
we can be hurt and man- beer, shooting ducks or fishing for cat- daughter named Gloria, who was a We had a loving family but there
gled from their ferocity. I can tell end- fish. My roots are in Zanesville, Ohio. I light–skinned Creole and very attrac- was friction between my youngest
less stories about the times I thought it was born at Good Samaritan hospital tive. The New Orleans of the 1940’s was uncle and me. We were only five years
was my time to die, only to wake up the on May 7, 1967. My father, Bishop T. deep in Jim Crow and there weren’t apart and he was extremely jealous of
next morning. McNeil, was a firstborn McNeil who had many opportunities for black women the attention I got. As early as I could
However the hard- six siblings. My grandmother, whose besides prostitution and motherhood remember when they left me unsu-
est battle I am facing name was Mary Massey, was the typi- and domestic work. Wynona knew pervised with my uncle, he was a total
is baring my soul and cal black woman of those days — she my grandpa was a good man and ar- terror. He was huge and strong and he
telling people about was old–school, from Kentucky, and ranged for him and Gloria to be mar- could hold me down and fart on me. It
the memories of my the family was the centerpiece. In her ried. Frank and Gloria settled in a small is funny now but when I was young I
childhood with my young days she was very attractive. town in Ohio called Barnesville, which dreaded him.
brother. My paternal grandmother was the was nothing but farming country, and My brother, Virgil Todd, was born in
One of the toughest polar opposite from my mom’s side eventually moved to Cambridge, Ohio. 1971 and I wish I could say I was a good
things about writing of the family. She didn’t spoil you but The couple eventually settled in a house brother. But I became like my uncle and
is deciding whether when she gave you praise you knew it which was part of the Underground bullied my little brother. I hated him
to print what actu- meant something. She wasn’t a scolder Railroad during the Civil War. getting the attention I once got.
ally happened. My life or punisher. My memories of her were My mom, Gloria Jean, was born in My life became tragic in 1971. My
story is so powerful to how she loved collards, beans, corn 1946 shortly after World War II. Even- grandpa was dying from leukemia and
me that I hope people bread and oxtails, ham hocks and chit- tually my grandma gave birth to seven my mom was there until he eventually
who have been in my lins. Thank God they always had dogs, children in Cambridge. Cambridge was passed. That was my earliest memory
situation can speak out and let their yuk yuk. I guess that’s why I am very rough in those days; they weren’t big on about my mom’s character. She had a
pain go. This article will be my hardest skinny for I ended up liking calzones integration and the many stories I’ve sense of loyalty and compassion I truly
to write, because for the first time all and strombolis. heard from my aunts tell the scars they miss.
my family and friends will know what I am just starting to learn my dad’s felt from racism. In due course my dad, The second tragedy was the death of
makes me go. side of the family and I will see them who was from Zanesville, Ohio, met my my cousin T Anne. She died when I was
I am 41 going on five, because that’s soon at a family reunion in Philadel- mother, who was from Cambridge. They four and I can’t help but wonder how
how long I’ve been on my own. I held phia. got married and I was born in 1967 in life would have been if she stayed alive.
this pain all my life because I was so My mom’s roots started with my Zanesville. I would have had a female cousin who
ashamed to share. Because of this inner grandfather, Frank Newsom, who was My earliest memories were how I could talk to.
selfishness, I could never be the leader one of the first African–Americans proud my grandparents were of me.
of my relatives that was my birthright, to enlist in World War II. He traveled They loved to tickle me and squeeze Part Two will appear in the next issue
and I lost a relative that was brutally across the country and eventually met my cheeks and I was their pride and of Street Sense: My family moves East,
murdered. I have to bear this cross. I the woman would become his mother– joy. I was spoiled by Grandpa and and my journey through life takes unex-
deprived myself of the inner beauty I in–law, my great–grandmother Wynona Grandma. pected detours. I am seeking any further
had because of the lack of love my par- Scott, who ran a brothel in New Or- My grandpa taught us how to live information about the whereabouts of
ents never gave me or understood. leans. Her husband, my great–grand- off the land by hunting and fishing. my father Bishop T. McNeil, nicknamed
My parents weren’t bad people. They father George Scott, was typical of the He also taught us how to protect our- Junior, and my brother, Virgil Todd.
parented the way they were raised and family structure in the South in those selves. There were many times we had Jeffery McNeil regularly puts on a suit
tried to give me and my brother a good days. He was strict, abusive mentally to pick up a rifle to protect ourselves. to sell Street Sense. E–mail him at jef-
life. and physically, and my great–grandma I remember one time racists posted a firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Belkosky, Blanket Worries
My Father By Charles Carson
By Kenneth Belkosky
he grey blankets distributed by There are a lot of ways of losing your
the hypothermia hotline, the blanket. But if you lose your blanket, you
his is a story 17th, my dad was 63 years old. My dad I Salvation Army and other or- still need a blanket.
about my would call a saint because he took care ganizations help save the lives of home- The city has a U–Lock–It for the Inau-
f a t h e r. Hi s of me until he died about 18 years ago. less people in cold weather. guration. But if you put your blanket in
name is Michael When I was growing up, we were mov- But there is no place to store them, there, you can’t get it out until Wednes-
Belkosky; he was born ing around a lot. We ended up in Ohio. so it can be hard to keep them. They day. The homeless who are staying out
on October 6th, 1902. We lived in a city called Cuyahoga Falls. get swiped by other homeless people, downtown are being urged to go into the
He served his country I lived there for about 13 years. People they get thrown away or confiscated if shelters during the festivities. But if the
in two ways. He was thought my dad was my grandfather the homeless person goes to the hos- shelters are overcrowded, where do you
in the U. S. Army, and when they saw us together. pital. Good citizens will find them and sleep? That’s a good equation to die.
he was a federal police put them in the trash can. Some of the
officer here in Wash- Kenneth Belkosky has been a vendor cleanup people will throw them away Charles Carson has been a vendor for
ington, D.C. When I for four months and he loves to listen to because they don’t like us. The police two months and came to D.C. as a Hur-
was born on January police scanners. will do it for security reasons. ricane Katrina evacuee.
S treetS ense.org January 21,- February 3, 2009 13
Please Say No To Closure of the Mental
Health Clinic at 35 K Street, N.E.
By Jo Ann Jackson
As part of a he very first institution I was Maybe you will understand after read- others, too.
move to privatize admitted to was St. Elizabeth’s. ing my short story. For me, like most People with mental illness, we look
its delivery of out- After spending six months people with mental health problems, it forward to our monthly clinic visits. I
patient mental there, I was sent to New Endeavors by is hard to talk about my problems with don’t want to be shipped somewhere
health services over Women. This is a transitional house to anyone. else where patients will be treated like
the next year, Dis- help women get a new start with their I would talk a little but only with my a herd of cattle, where people who
trict officials say lives. They help with education, sav- psychiatrist. I wouldn’t even talk to my work there only think of making eight
they plan to close ing money, finding housing and help family. And when it came to my case hours regardless of their patients’ well
the city’s Depart- receiving psychological assistance if manager, I wouldn’t talk at all because being.
ment of Mental needed. I just didn’t trust anyone. It’s hard, Please, for my sake and the sake of
Health Clinic on After I left New Endeavors by Wom- very hard to talk about being sexually many others, don’t close 35 K Street,
K Street Northeast. en, I was enrolled in DC General’s molested from ages ten to eighteen by N.E.
Officials say that mental health clinic, then transferred your uncle. It’s like a second home rather than
the shift to private to D.C. Department of Mental Health’s Since coming to the clinic, I’ve been a mental health clinic.The clinic has
agencies would al- clinic at 35 K Street, N.E. , where I’ve with this group of loving, concerned given me my life back in more ways
low the city to serve more people, expand been coming ever since 1996. To and caring individuals from the doc- than one. Have heart and find some-
services and save money. But some us- whomever had the great idea of clos- tors down to the receptionists. thing else to pick on.
ers of the current system are concerned ing this clinic, it is a big mistake. To be moved someplace else after all
about the change. Street Sense vendor Jo First of all, you are not taking the these years would cause a major prob- Jo Ann Jackson is a Street Sense ven-
Ann Jackson is among them. patient’s well being into consideration. lem for me and I’m sure it would for dor and proud grandmother.
Open Letters to President Barack Obama
Mr. President, and families can afford decent hous-
ing. Meanwhile, the foreclosure crisis
I would like to thank you for being continues to increase the number of President Obama, NCH
the first black President. homeless and precariously–housed
I made a big mistake during the pri- Americans, and recent estimates indi- asks you to stand by your
mary and voted for Mrs. Clinton. When
you won the general vote and became
cate that the unemployment rate will
reach over 9% by 2010.
word and conviction by
the President, I was glad and proud that Historically, you would not be the working for the federal
history was made. first American president to turn down
If you can, sir, please help this paper his salary. George Washington donated minimum wage during
and the Pay It Forward Project. Dear President Obama, his earnings back to the state, believing
The paper I write for is a street paper that helping the public was payment your time in office.
called Street Sense. I know you are great Back on July 23, 2007, in the “CNN– enough. John F. Kennedy, too, turned
person who wants to help people. You Tube Debate” for the 2008 Demo- down his salary, choosing instead to
Please Mr. President, end the war cratic primary, Pennsylvania citizens donate the money to private organiza- We ask you take time and careful
in Iraq and still go after Bin Laden, the Cecilia Smith and Ashanti Wilkins tions such as the Boy Scouts of America consideration to this proposed action.
jerk who attacked us on 9/11. We need asked the candidates if they would and the United Negro College Fund. It is, we at NCH believe, an unprece-
to find him and kill him. He hurt us real, be willing to work for minimum wage The NCH believes that such an act of dented opportunity for you to establish
real bad . if elected President. Nearly all of the philanthropy would be consistent with a new foundation of public good that
Sincerely, candidates, with Senator Christopher your message of change, and would Americans can build upon. With your
Dodd being the only exception, an- inspire many other Americans to act help, the nation will be more likely to
Kenneth Belkosky swered in the affirmative. At that time, selflessly and in the name of the public bring an end to homelessness, reduce
you responded, “We can afford to work good. The current economic crisis has the number of Americans living in pov-
for minimum wage because most folks highlighted and exacerbated the chal- erty, and provide health care to the na-
on this stage have a lot of money. We lenges faced by low–income Ameri- tion’s most vulnerable populations.
Your thoughts and don’t have Mitt Romney money,” you cans, and this action would be a fitting T h a n k yo u f o r yo u r t i m e a n d
continued, “but we could afford to do expression of solidarity and concern. thought. We are happy to provide you
editorials are welcome.
it for a few years.” NCH, founded in 1982, is a national with further information on the subject
Please e–mail content to President Obama, the National Co- network of people who are currently as you design your agenda.
email@example.com alition for the Homeless (NCH) asks experiencing or who have experienced Sincerely,
or mail to you to stand by your word and convic- homelessness, activists, advocates, ser-
tion by working for the federal mini- vice providers, and others committed Aaron Gaide,
1317 G Street, NW,
mum wage during your time in office. to a single mission: to end homeless- NCH Intern, Dartmouth ’11
Washington, DC 20005. The current federal minimum wage ness. Toward this end, NCH engages in
is $6.55 per hour, a rate insufficient public education, policy advocacy, and Michael Stoops,
to ensure that working individuals grassroots organizing. NCH Executive Director
14 January 21,- February 3, 2009 S treetS ense.org
The Student Vendor Experience
By Chris Maves
oday the Service Learning class
visited the offices of Street
Sense and helped sell papers
with the vendors. When we arrived at
the Street Sense headquarters we found
out it is the same place we stayed for
our YSOP ( Youth Service Opportunity
Project) trip last year. After we entered
the church we passed through the same
locked doors and went straight into a
small conference room. There we were
briefed on the rules and got a few tips on
how to sell the papers.
The tips that were really helpful were
the ones we learned from the vendors.
In the beginning of the briefing there
was only one vendor, but as we left the
room they were able to round up another
vendor, who turned out to be our super-
We then headed out in our bright yel-
lowish green vests and completely fitted
Vendors Carlton Johnson, Reggie Black and Jeffery McNeil get ready to go out with a group of student from St. Andrews. with a guide, a group, and a stack of pa-
pers. My group headed off towards Metro
During winter and spring breaks, Street Sense hosts several By Tommy Finton Center but eventually stopped around
student groups through its Vendor for a Day program. The the Warner Theatre. Fortunately, I did not
students spend about 30 minutes learning about Street Sense n Wednesday our class went to downtown have to become familiar with the area,
and then spend about 90 minutes trying to sell Street Sense D.C. to sell newspapers for Street Sense. I was because it was near my mom’s office and
with a vendor or two. excited for the trip because I pictured myself my sister danced The Nutcracker there
The comments below are from a group of students from St. dancing around and screaming, telling people to buy every year for the past three years. The
Andrews Episcopal School just before Christmas. the paper. When we finally got there we went inside the only thing I had to get used to was walk-
church where the Street Sense headquarters were and we ing up to strangers and trying to strike
By Anne Mercer talked a bit about the newspaper. Once we got our news- up a conversation.
papers and our Street Sense vests we headed out to the This was not as hard as I thought it
oday in Service Learning we went to help sell street. A Street Sense vendor, a homeless person, stationed would be. It was almost like asking some-
Street Sense. Our job was to go on a street corner people,including myself, on the D.C. street corners. one to dance at a school dance. After a
and sell the newspaper. I really enjoyed this trip As I said before, I thought it would be easy to sell the few rejections I got used to it, and started
and learned a lot. papers. I was wrong. I was so nervous to sell the newspa- focusing on the buys, like our supervisor
When we first were in our two–person groups I was with pers to people. Everyone on the streets seemed like they had told us.
Victoria and we were very nervous asking people to buy were extremely busy and had no time for anything. It took Part way through the time we were
our merchandise. We would start talking but it would be me about ten minutes to finally bottle up the courage to selling, another street vendor came up
very quiet so no one could hear us. ask a person if they wanted to buy the newspapers. Just as but he was not selling papers. He was
As this approach did not work, we started to say it loud- I expected, they said, “No, thank you,” and kept on walk- trying to promote and raise donations
er and we developed a routine. I would start off by saying, ing. My first sell came when I went up to an old person for a non–violence basketball tourna-
“Would you like to help the homeless?” and then Victoria and asked him if he wanted to learn about the homeless. ment. He was very nice and showed me
would say, “It’s only one dollar.” When we said this we real- He said nothing to me, gave me a dollar, took the paper, a little more about working the streets.
ized that people were actually listening and some people and kept on walking. I was very pleased that I sold a news- One of the things he most emphasized
were interested. As this went on we started having a really paper. was how this training for talking to com-
good time and sometimes we would even dance! As we My second sale came when a man walked out of the plete strangers would help us talk to oth-
became more and more friendly, more and more people Corner Bakery. He asked me when the bus was going to er people later in life. He added a little
would stop and buy what we had to sell. come. I noticed his Spanish accent, so I told him in Span- bit of comedy to my work time. He would
Before we started I was worried people would be really ish. I am a very good Spanish speaker so we started to talk ask a woman if she would help his cause,
mean to us. But there was only one time when I was ner- in Spanish. We kept on talking about Street Sense, how and if she denied him he would ask for
vous. That was when a group of guys were saying things to much Spanish I knew, and my school. I think I made him her phone number.
us that we would have rather they not say. really happy by talking in Spanish. The reactions of the people he ap-
I thought this trip was a good way to help our commu- When the bus finally came I asked him if he wanted a proached were priceless.
nity and I had so much fun while doing it. Not only did I paper. He was very sincere and gave me a dollar and took I believe that if you become com-
have fun but I learned a lot. I learned that the people who a paper. After about five more minutes we went back to the fortable and bolder, selling the papers
are willing to donate are not the ones that look so rich. I church and turned in our gear and money. We then left the becomes easier. When our shift ended,
also found that saying “No, we are not interested” is much church and went back to school. Justin, Adam, and I had made more than
better than saying “no” or just walking away. From now on This was by far my favorite trip in this course. We went $23 as a team. Justin and I both think we
I am never going to walk by someone who is talking to me on the streets and talked with people. We raised awareness will be coming back to Street Sense and
and not acknowledge that they exist. I think that when I of homelessness and we got money as well. I hope that volunteering for more community ser-
have a chance I will volunteer there again! next trimester’s class can do this as well. I loved it. vice hours.
S treetS ense.org January 21,- February 3, 2009 15
WASHINGTON, www.churchofthepilgrims.org mental health services www.cflsdc.org SHELTER VIRGINIA
D.C. Dinner Program for Homeless Friendship House
housing, job and substance abuse
counseling, clothes closet
Comm. Ministry of Montgomery
Women 619 D Street, SE Co. SHELTER
SHELTER AND the “9:30 Club” Breakfast (202) 675–9050 Foundry Methodist Church 114 W. Montgomery Avenue, Alexandria Community Shelter
Calvary Women’s Services 309 E Street, NW www.friendshiphouse.net 1500 16th Street, NW Rockville 2355 B Mill Road, Alexandria
928 5th Street, NW (202) 737–9311 counseling, mentoring, educa- (202) 332–4010 (301) 762–8682 (703) 838–4239
(202) 783–6651 www.dphw.org tion, youth services, clothing www.foundryumc.org www.communityministrymc.
org Carpenter’s Shelter
www.calvaryservices.org ESL, lunch, clothing, IDs
Father McKenna Center Georgetown Ministry Center 930 N. Henry Street, Alexandria
Central Union Mission (Men) 19 Eye Street, NW 1041 Wisconsin Avenue, NW Hermano Pedro Day Center The Samaritan Group (703) 548–7500
1350 R Street, NW (202) 842–1112 (202) 338–8301 3211 Sacred Heart Way, NW .O.
P Box 934, Chestertown www.carpentersshelter.org
(202) 745–7118 www.georgetownministrycenter. (202) 332–2874 (443) 480–3564
Food and Friends Arlington–Alexandria Coalition
www.missiondc.org org http://www.ccs–dc.org/find/ Warm Night Shelter
219 Riggs Road, NE for the Homeless
laundry, counseling, psych care services/ 311 68th Place, Seat Pleasant
CCNV (Men and Women) (202) 269–2277 3103 Ninth Road North,
meals, hygiene, laundry, (301) 499–2319
425 2nd Street, NW www.foodandfriends.org Martha’s Table Arlington
(202) 393–1909 2114 14th Street, NW (703) 525–7177
users.erols.com/ccnv/ (202) 328–6608 ,
JHP Inc. www.aachhomeless.org
2401 Virginia Avenue, NW FOOD
www.marthastable.org 1526 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Community of Hope (Family) (202) 452–8926 Bethesda Cares
dinner, education, recreation, (202) 544–9126 FOOD
1413 Girard Street, NW www.miriamskitchen.org 7728 Woodmont Church,
clothing, child and family ser- www.jobshavepriority.org Alive, Inc.
(202) 232–7356 Bethesda
The Welcome Table vices training and employment 2723 King Street, Alexandria
www.communityofhopedc.org (301) 907–9244
Church of the Epiphany (703) 836–2723; www.alive–inc.
Rachel’s Women’s Center Jubilee Jobs www.bethesdacares.com
Covenant House Washington 1317 G Street, NW org
1222 11th Street, NW 1640 Columbia Road, NW
(Youth) (202) 347–2635 Community Place Café
(202) 682–1005 (202) 667–8970 Our Daily Bread
2001 Mississippi Ave SE http://www.epiphanydc.org/ 311 68th Place, Seat Pleasant
http://www.ccdsd.org/howorwc. www.jubileejobs.org 10777 Main Street, Ste. 320,
(202) 610–9600 ministry/welcometbl.htm (301) 499–2319
php job preparation and placement Fairfax
hygiene, laundry, lunch, phone (703) 273–8829
Housing, education, job prep MEDICAL RESOURCES National Coalition for the Home-
and mail, clothing, social events Manna Food Center www.our–daily–bread.org
Christ House less
Gospel Rescue Ministries (Men) 614–618 Lofstrand Lane, Rock-
1717 Columbia Road, NW Sasha Bruce Youthwork 2201 P Street, NW
810 5th Street, NW ville MEDICAL RESOURCES
(202) 328–1100 741 8th Street, SE (202) 462–4822
(202) 842–1731 (301) 424–1130 Arlington Free Clinic
www.christhouse.org (202) 675–9340 www.nationalhomeless.org
www.grm.org www.mannafood.org 3833 N Fairfax Drive, #400,
www.sashabruce.org activists, speakers bureau
Unity Health Care, Inc. Arlington
John Young Center (Women) counseling, housing, family ser-
3020 14th Street, NW National Student Partnerships MEDICAL RESOURCES (703) 979–1400
117 D Street, NW vices
(202) 745–4300 (NSP) Community Clinic, Inc. www.arlingtonfreeclinic.org
www.unityhealthcare.org So Others Might Eat (SOME) 128 M Street NW, Suite 320 8210 Colonial Lane,
71 “O” Street, NW (202) 289–2525 ilver Spring ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
(202) 797–8806; www.some.org firstname.lastname@example.org (301) 585–1250 Abundant Life Christian Out-
My Sister’s Place 1407 S Street, NW
lunch, medical and dental, job Job resource and referral agency www.cciweb.org reach,
PO Box 29596 (202) 797–3500; www.wwc.org
and housing counseling 5154 Eisenhower Avenue,
Washington, DC 20017 Samaritan Ministry Mobile Medical Care, Inc. Alexandria
office (202) 529-5261 OUTREACH CENTERS 1345 U Street, SE , AND 9309 Old Georgetown Road,
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES (703) 823–4100
24-hour hotline (202)-529-5991 Bread for the City 1516 Hamilton Street, NW Bethesda
Academy of Hope GED Center www.anchor–of–hope.net
shelter and other services for 1525 Seventh Street, NW (202)889–7702 (301) 493–8553
601 Edgewood St NE food, clothing, youth develop-
domestic violence victims (202) 265–2400 AND www.samaritanministry.org www.mobilemedicalcare.org
202-269-6623 ment, and medicines
1640 Good Hope Road, SE HIV support, employment, drug/
N Street Village (Women) (202) 561–8587 alcohol addiction, healthcare ADDITIONAL RESOURCES David’s Place Day Shelter
1333 N Street, NW www.breadforthecity.org Bright Beginnings Inc. Catholic Charities, Maryland 930 North Henry Street,
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
(202) 939–2060 food pantry, clothing, legal and 128 M Street NW, Suite 150 12247 Georgia Avenue, Alexandria
1514 15th Street, NW
www.nstreetvillage.org social services, medical clinic Washington DC 20001 Silver Spring (703) 548–7500
(202) 842–9090 (301) 942–1790 www.carpentersshelter.org
801 East, St. Elizabeths Hospital Community Council for the http://stlukesdc.edow.org
www.brightbeginningsinc.org www.catholiccharitiesdc.org laundry, shower, workshops, hy-
(Men) Homeless food, counseling
Child care, family services shelter, substance abuse treat- pothermia shelter
2700 MLK Avenue, SE at Friendship Place
St. Matthew’s Cathedral ment, variety of other services
(202) 561–4014 4713 Wisconsin Avenue NW Catholic Community Services Legal Services of Northern Vir-
1725 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
(202) 364–1419; www.cchfp.org 924 G Street, NW Mission of Love ginia
New York Ave Shelter (Men) (202) 347–3215 ext. 552
housing, medical and psych care, (202) 772–4300 6180 Old Central Avenue 6066 Leesburg Pike, Ste. 500
1355–57 New York Avenue, NE breakfast, clothing, hygiene
substance abuse and job coun- www.ccs–dc.org Capitol Heights (703) 778–6800; www.lsnv.org
seling umbrella for a variety of services Travelers Aid, Union Station (301)333–4440 civil legal services
Open Door Shelter (Women) 50 Mass. Avenue, NE www.molinc.org
Bethany Women’s Center D.C. Coalition for the Homeless
425 Mitch Snyder Place, NW (202) 371–1937 life skills classes, clothing, house-
1333 N Street, NW 1234 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
(202) 639–8093 www.travelersaid.org/ta/ wares
(202) 939–2060 (202) 347–8870; www.dccfh.org
FOOD http://www.nstreetvillage.org housing, substance abuse treat- Montgomery County Coalition
emergency travel assistance
Charlie’s Place meals, hygiene, laundry, social ment, employment assistance for the Homeless
1830 Connecticut Avenue, NW activities, substance abuse treat- Wash. Legal Clinic for the Home- 600–B East Gude Dri
DC Food Finder
(202) 232–3066 ment less Rockville
Interactive online map of
www.stmargaretsdc.org/char- 1200 U Street, NW (301) 217–0314; www.mcch.net
Green Door free and low cost resources.
liesplace (202) 328–5500 emergency shelter,
(202) 464–9200 www.dcfoodfinder.org
Church of the Pilgrims 1221 Taylor Street NW
Community Family Life Services
www.legalclinic.org transitional housing,
2201 P Street, NW
housing, job training, supportive
305 E Street, NW MARYLAND vices 1–800–535–7252
January 21,- February 3, 2009 S treetS ense.org
veNDOR PROfiLe Miles Keller THe LaST WORD By James Fetherson
By Roberta Haber
Miles Keller grew up in Queens, NY. He finished
Peace For Vets
high school in Queens and then attended John Jay
n amazing event? I
College in Manhattan, graduating with a major in
never would have
forensic psychology. He plans to go to law school.
dreamed it! “It is
Times were tough in New York. Both of Miles’
a time for change,” said Ba-
parents became ill and moved into nursing homes.
rack Obama, the nation’s
The apartment where they lived in Queens was
first African American presi-
empty, there was no electricity, and it was time to
leave, so about six weeks ago he decided to come
The country is hoping
to DC and look for opportunity.
for better times ahead. In
The hardest thing about the move was leaving
the meantime, God only
his friends in the neighborhood. A few weeks after
knows what is taking place
Miles arrived here he learned about Street Sense
on earth. Israel is attacking Gaza, bad weather, days of hard rain,
from a vender he met at a shelter on Georgia Ave.
young African American men killing each other.
However, it will be an Obama–Jam at the capital this month, with
all the big names, Oprah and all the other stars.
Hopefully there will be local change also. A former U.S. Army
What is your favorite music? Green Beret, a war veteran awarded the Silver Star and the Purple
I like Elvis, ‘80s rock and roll, Van Halen. Heart found himself homeless. He was an African American, facing
unemployment with bad times and trouble adjusting back home.
Living on the streets of Washington, D.C. two blocks from the
Tuna fish with butter and mayonnaise.
White House, the flashbacks are gone but the tough times are still
Favorite movie? here. So with this new Administration that calls for change, let’s hope
The Wizard of Oz. Star Wars is another good movie. that this combat vet will find peace. And we as a people will find the
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