I was walking to the grocery store past 11th and Constitution NE and I had passed two on-duty police officers standing on the corner (the officers were seemingly on-duty, but I did not ask them. They had a patrol car and were in full uniform). One of the officers had politely asked me if I wouldn’t mind signing a petition to help put in place the Mayor’s plan to help end homelessness in the community. While I’m all about helping to end homelessness, I’m always hesitant to sign anything. I asked the officer for more information about the Mayor’s plan, and she could not provide any – she had just said it would support whatever plan the mayor proposes. I ultimately declined my signature and said that I would like to wait until I have more information about the plan.
I’d like to get the community’s thoughts on the following questions: Has the Mayor unveiled a detailed plan to end homelessness? Is the Mayor directing police officers to gather signatures for a petition? If so, does the Mayor have the right to do this? Shouldn’t we be making better use of police officers’ time, especially during these times of high crime?
The situation just rubbed me the wrong way, so I thought I would write to see what others think about it.”
Not sure about directing police officers to gather signatures but from the Mayor’s Office:
The Bowser Administration announced two legislative proposals that will be introduced later this month to strengthen the District’s homeless crisis response system. The first would amend the Homeless Services Reform Act to create an interim eligibility placement provision. This legislative provision would allow additional time for the District to determine shelter eligibility while at the same time ensuring the safety of families who have no identified safe alternative by providing them with shelter on an interim basis. The legislation would also provide families with a fair and speedy appeals process if it is determined they are not eligible for emergency shelter.
The second proposed legislative solution would clarify that the District may develop emergency housing that adheres to a private room requirement. These new emergency housing facilities will be safe, clean, modern developments with private rooms for families and the amenities and services they need to succeed in the long run.
You can read the full release here.