Dear PoPville – Homeless Community in Cobbs Park?

Cobbs Park

“Dear PoPville,

Any idea on what this space is, or is intended to be? It lies around 2nd / Mass / NJ NW intersection and is also referred as DPR 1089.

The last few weeks there seems to have been dozens of people all gathered around every day, most looking homeless, but some with lounge chairs and umbrellas. The last couple days the cops have been over there arresting some and talking to others, as pictured here.”

23 Comment

  • There is a shelter near to there and I think they clear everyone out during the day and in order to get in before night everyone has to line up at the door. As a guy who works in Chinatown I think the “daily recess” contributes to the steady stream of panhandlers in the area, but I understand that being homeless is not easy at all. As long as the panhandlers aren’t aggressive or threatening with me I can bear it, it beats New York.

  • Not much difference than Mcpherson/Franklin Square. There are quite a few homeless living in DC.

  • My guess is that it’s students who graduated from Georgetown Law and couldn’t find a job.

  • i have noticed this too… but only very recently. makes me think that something serving the homeless community changed…

  • This has been going on for years. Nothing new here at all. The city and the neighborhood both want a playground here but between traffic and homeless concerns, the area doesn’t quite seem ready yet.

  • Remember – the Central Union Mission closed at 14th and R Sts NW and I believe that’s where they told everyone to relocate.

    • Utter rubbish! Central Union Mission relocated to 810 5th Street NW until they’re able to move into the Gales School, which is currently being renovated. They continue to provide food, shelter, and services to those in need each and every day.

  • I wonder if this would lead to a good Friday question or forum topic: POPers, what do you do when you see a homeless person, or when someone asks you for money, or asks you to buy them something to eat, etc.? Do you give them money? Do you have criteria as to whom you give money? Do you ignore them? When someone says they’re a homeless vet, do you call the VA and their hotlines? Do you package your leftover food at restaurants and give it to the homeless? Do you offer to lead someone who is homeless to somewhere they can get help?

    I never really know what to do, and I’d be interested in hearing what the POP Community does.

    • never pull out your wallet on the streets. if you’re going into a store that has food, buy someone something if you feel like it.
      buy Street Sense if you feel like it.
      donate to homeless services.

  • andy

    This has been a spot with a lot of homeless people since at least 2000. I am certain it was before that, I just have experience going back to 2000 that it was.

  • I have been living in that area for 2 years now and up until about 2 months ago, there were the occasional homeless people there, but not to this extent. We are now talking 20-40 people, with grills (for cooking not teeth), tarps, tents, and bikes. I am fine with people hanging out in the park, but when it starts to look like a homeless camp at one of the entrances to the city (directly off 395 and along Mass coming from Union Station) I think it makes our city look dirty. Also, it poses a safety hazard for those walking through the area, especially when some get harassed by seemingly mentally unstable or drunk ones.

    • DC CapHill

      Absolutely agree with this, and LOL’d at the “for cooking, not teeth.” I’ve gone past frequently this Summer, now owning a car, and I remember when it used to be a few panhandlers hustling at the stop light, or taking a nap under the tree. Now they really do literally have open air cookouts. This little wedge of space isn’t ideally located, for safety reasons, but also, it shouldn’t be a gathering point to hang out all day long, because a shelter is closed.

      I’m going to guess it’s status quo with the MPD; Not in my precinct. They’ll just show up and disperse them to other parts of the city, instead of actually solving the issue. (From experience, a 3D officer told me this after a friend was assaulted near 16th and U. Dude got on the Bus, nobody stopped him and he smiled as it pulled away towards NE. Cop said; “Not my problem, now.”)

    • I agree with wolfpackwx. In hte last 2 months this park has turned into what looks like the former “Occupy DC” camp. Other than the occasional arrest the cops have largely left these individuals open up shop in this park.

  • I have worked right next to the homeless shelter on D street for 2 years and over the past 8 months it has become much busier and a different and aggressive crowd has gathered around it. There has been quite a lot of drug dealing and violence- a stabbing circa 9am, crack deals in the morning- in front of the shelter and the amount of trash and debris thrown down around it has tripled. I believe the police now clear everyone out of that are during the day in hopes to break up the crowds.I have noticed when I walk from work to 7th street that they now gather over in that park area and do the same things. It is unfortunate because many people who need that shelter and are responsible and respectful of their area are suffering from these individuals.

    • This is what happens when you clear the homeless out of other neighborhoods (yeah, I’m talking about 14th Street). They got to go somewhere.

      • exactly. glad someone understands that ALL people, including the homeless, when displaced, do have to go SOMEWHERE else.

        when you close a homeless shelter to build condos (AHEM), those people who slept in the shelter do end up in other areas of the city…

  • As of late the numbers have increased to a minimum of 25 to as many as 50. Now with legit camping tents over night, every night. Is it legal to sleep in parks overnight? I have also witnessed several people being arrested for various reasons. There have also been increased reports of drugs beeing dealt out of the park.

  • I forwarded this post to the Mayor’s office, as well as all the members of the ANC for this area. Will be interesting to see if anyone responds.

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