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Dear PoPville – Advice on dealing with a threatening homeless woman?

by Prince Of Petworth May 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm 58 Comments

Homeless in Purple
Photo by PoPville flickr user Michael Horsley

“Dear PoPville,

I’m wondering if anyone has advice on a homeless woman who has been parked outside of my apartment building on and off for the past couple of months. I’ve contacted the landlord, we’ve tried to get her into a homeless shelter and we’ve been successful a few times but she always comes back to our building within a few days. Multiple people from my building and the building next door have called the police but they said the only thing they can do is ask her to move off of the property. So then she just moves to the sidewalk in front of the building. She seemed harmless at first but recently the trash has been piling up and she’s been relieving herself in the tree boxes.

Tonight, I was out walking my dog and she started threatening me saying things like “I’m going to beat your ass” and “what the f*ck you looking at? I’ll kill you, bitch.” It was to the point where my dog was cowering behind me (granted, she’s a wimp) and a random passerby had to offer to help me get into my building. I got into my building, the stranger left and closed the door behind him and the homeless woman was banging on the apartment building door trying to get in and yelling obscenities.

I called the police and they said they would come talk to her but that there’s not really much they can do since they can’t arrest her and she can just walk out of a homeless shelter even if they find one that can take her in. I feel for her and realize that it’s just as much a mental health issue as it is a homelessness issue, and we have tried to help her, but tonight has brought it to the point where I no longer feel safe or comfortable walking into my building when she is around. Any advice on what to do?”

Ed. Note: I think we spoke about a similar situation not too long ago – but I can’t seem to find – if a better searcher than I can find the link and post it here I’d appreciate it. Also as in other similar situations perhaps the DC Mental Health Mobile Response Team could intervene:

Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES): 202-673-9319 (24hrs, 7 days per week)
Mobile Crisis Services (MCS): 202-673-9300 (9am -1am, 7 days per week)
Homeless Outreach Program (HOP): 202-673-9124 (9am -8pm , M-F)

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