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“Anti-loitering spikes going in on Reeves Center”

by Prince Of Petworth March 14, 2016 at 9:45 am 67 Comments

anti loitering

“Dear PoPville,

I walked by and the city installed metal spikes around all the sit-able spots on the outside of the Reeves Center (specifically 14 and V corner). Helluva message to literally tack on to Barry’s building that roustabouts and folks experiencing homelessness aren’t welcome in this part of town anymore. Makes me furious at the city.”

14th and V Street, NW

  • crin

    Anti-homeless devices actually since homeless could sleep in that tiny corner of shelter.

    • Philippe Lecheval

      I can’t wait for the first local politician to say, “See? We’ve eliminated homelessness in the neighborhood!”

  • hanna

    not sure that’s really a bad thing. :;shrug::

    • James

      I’m guessing you have a nice apartment in which to sleep?

      • Resident

        What’s your point? Having a tiny concrete slap on which to sit does nothing to address the homelessness problem in DC…

  • Anonymous

    While I can understand the OP being a upset about the anti-homeless measure, as someone who walks past this area pretty consistently I am glad that something was being done. The area smelled like an open toilet. Ideally, the city would send some folks by to encourage the homeless to use city services rather than leave them high and dry.

    • FridayGirl

      +1 at your last sentence. As much as I hate walking by that corner, I generally feel worse that it doesn’t seem like anyone has reached out to give them assistance. (Have they? Has assistance been rejected? Tried and failed?)

      • While you obviously can’t say for certain about every specific individual, DC’s homeless services are some of the best in the country. Their outreach is pretty commendable. If some are disavowing their help I would wager it’s on them, and not those who try to offer it. I’m not sure what people expect, a BikeShare style bus that rides around town all day making sure the homeless centers are well stocked?

        • Anon

          That actually already exists! There are a number of different organizations that drive vans around the city to provide various services for the homeless (including food, transportation, mental services, etc). As Justin mentioned, the homeless have a relatively great support structure in DC assuming they want the help.

          • anon

            That’s a lot of taxpayer dollars with a pretty low ROI.

          • Anon

            Given your tone-deaf statement, it’s pretty clear that you have little actual understanding in terms of what “ROI” on helping the homeless actually entails. Never mind that most of the services mentioned above aren’t actually paid by city taxes, but by private, non-profit organizations.

    • Anon

      I’m pretty sure some spikes aren’t going to keep people from peeing there and, from my observations, the homeless are far from the only demographic peeing in corners (including that one) on U Street.

      • FridayGirl

        This is true… definitely more than one group sharing that corner.

      • +2

        But it’s not just pee that you can smell…

      • DC anon

        You mean all the white drunk people, don’t you :) Because that’s what I see on any given Thurs-Sat around the neighborhood. Plenty of 20-30 somethings peeing out in public. It’s not just homeless people.

        • anonymous

          I think you mean drunk male people. You don’t see when pissing on the street, unless they are homeless. The homeless are sad, but others who use the street as a toilet are just disgusting.

  • Walked by here last week on our way to Provision 14 for dinner and there were at least half a dozen people keeled over / passed out / etc right at this spot, with vomit stains and urine smell abundant, and those who weren’t near comatose were shouting at anyone passing by. I can understand why those working inside would want to diminish that.

    • Anonynon

      I live near here and this is much appreciated. Always groups of people hanging out and it wreaks of piss every time you walk by, without fail.

  • Anony

    So they don’t want people sleeping, drinking, peeing, hanging out for long periods of time on their doorstep?…horrible horrible people

  • Thought

    Can we get some of these outside of the Columbia Heights Metro please?

    • annonny

      Also outside the MLK libray? kthanxbye.

      • dd

        came to post

  • Duponter

    I’d feel like the message was that the homeless were not welcome in DC except there are a great deal of resources made available to the homeless in DC. That some choose to not take advantage of them does not mean we should be totally okay with open market toilets at public buildings.

    • Anon

      Actually, resources are pretty limited if there is no hypothermia emergency, especially for single men. Shelters fill up quickly and usually close at 6:00 am.

      • Anonymous

        Shelters are certainly part of the resources available, but so are drug treatment and job placement services. It’s hard to kick drugs if you have nowhere to stay, so shelter capacity is the baseline issue that has to be addressed first.

        • anon

          We spend all this money to make DC homeless-friendly and then are surprised that the homeless population remains.

  • E

    How quickly we forget. Someone was murdered at this intersection just last year and the city was under tremendous pressure to do something about the loitering.

    • FridayGirl

      But was it a loiterer who shot the person? For some reason I thought the homeless who sleep outside the reeves center and the people who may loiter during the day on 14th & V were different.

      • Tract44

        I also thought the group that hung out next to Provision 14 was different. (I haven’t seen them as much since the restaurant opened, hopefully that will stick.)

  • 13thandV

    Yep. There is a group at this corner that sits across from the bikeshare station to watch girls getting on/off bikes in their skirts. It’s part of why I stopped using bikeshare so much, I couldn’t stand the stares/calls/etc., especially late at night. Ugh.

    • dd


  • petworther

    This administration is throwing money at developers hand over fist to end homelessness! What else can you expect them to do?

  • Ustreeter

    Glad to see this! I hope they also put these in that nook across from the bike share where people camp out. It reeks of urine and booze.

  • Curious George

    This is great! A very good idea. More like this please!

  • dcd

    Ah yes, I’ve often longed for the return of Marion Barry’s DC. Those were the days . . .

    • anon

      “Aay what you want about Barry, but he cared for the poor // And that ain’t who these new fools working for ” — true story brah

  • tom

    Have to disagree with the OPs opinion. Those who are homeless belong in shelters/supportive housing, not the sidewalks.

    • anon

      homeless people don’t “belong” anywhere, especially not where YOU decide for them. the DMV has some of the best homeless services in the country; it is the individual’s choice to refuse engagement if they choose. it can be hard to understand, sure, but if they don’t want help and aren’t a real threat to self/others (which, contrary to popular belief most are not), stop meddlin n let people be

      • anon

        But we don’t just let people make their own decisions and live with the consequences. We throw tons of money at it and the problem does not change one bit.

      • Bloomingdale

        So under that same logic its the buildings choice, in this case DC Government, to not want them loitering

      • anonymous

        Stop meddling and let people be….brilliant stuff right there. That’s working out great in McPherson and Franklin Squares. I love park benches covered in piles of stuff, the smell of pee, the piles of sh*t. But sure, let’s not “meddle.”

  • Resident on W Street

    I think this is a good action. I live down the street and the amount of loitering at all hours is insane. It creates an unsafe environment, trash, and drinking/drug use. This has to be stopped. I agree that there should be an effort by the city to ensure the homeless utilize the available resources the city provides. If you have an issue with this action, then round up the homeless and let them hang out/sleep in your yard or house or apartment (enjoying the trash and drinking/drug use, etc.).

  • ctk

    Seems like the OP didn’t think this through before jumping to Furious.

    • FridayGirl

      It seems to me like we’re all jumping to a lot of conclusions here though, not just OP. A few examples:
      1) We’re conflating the homeless that sleep outside Reeves and the daytime loiters. There are different groups present there. However, I doubt few of us really know who is who and whether they know each other.
      2) There’s a difference between moving the homeless people to a shelter, and moving them by just putting up spikes with no alternative assistance offered. Again, I doubt any of us really know what happened in this case (but I’d love to hear if there is info somewhere).

    • HaileUnlikely

      This is a subject about which there is room for a diversity of opinions. I would not assume that more reflection would or should have led to a different result.

      • Anon

        Hear hear! Eternal truism remains eternally true.

    • anon2

      seems like a lot of commenters here who disagree with the OP want to impose their view of what “loiterers” or homeless people should do, where they should go, how they should use services, etc. the hypocrisy of not liking being told what to do themselves but then doing exactly that for other groups is astounding.

      • anonymous

        So what then, anon2? People should be able to piss in public and harass/scare/disturb people who are walking by? Some groups should get a pass on public decency and manners? If this was happening on your doorstep, you wouldn’t try to “impose” your views on the situation? Talk about hypocrisy…

  • Chareth Cutestory

    Yeah! Why can’t these poors simply shuffle on down to the Central Union Mission on 14th to get some of DC’s vaunted resources that my fellow commenters keep mentioning?

    • Because they chose to sell their site and move into a nicer, larger building.
      Your sarcasm needs more research.

      • c


      • anon2


      • Chareth Cutestory

        That’s my (sarcastically made) point, dingus. The Mission’s services have been driven out of the neighborhood.

        • E

          Except they weren’t “driven out” by anybody… the Mission was totally in the driver’s seat with a huge pile of cash in the passenger seat.

          • Chareth Cutestory

            Oh, for sure man.

          • E

            I’m sad that you’re an Arrested Development fan.

        • They sold for $7 million. One of the aspects of being “homeless” is that you don’t have to stay on 14th and V for that to be true.

  • Itsamemario

    Talking to a civil engineer in the government — plans are already in progress about deleting that eyesore of a building and starting from scratch (without the name of a crack addict on the wall). I say good on the city for starting to clean up that corner. The OP needs to understand that there is a difference between safety and supporting homelessness — Martha’s corner does good work, the stoop at that building does not.

    • Anonymous

      The Reeves building was on the table the other year as part of the deal to get the land for the new DC United stadium. The backlash was over the market value of the building relative to what the city was willing to part with it for, since the deal looked to be a sweetheart one (give developers a huge parcel of land in the hottest part of the city in exchange for wasteland in SW). Ultimately, the city doing something with the land – even keeping the rights but leasing it out – would be a much better use of resources.

      • BMouse

        There will be another less high profile sweetheart deal. In 5 years that corner will be condos.

        • UStreeter

          God I hope. Not that I love condos, but that building is so ugly it just breaks my heart. Signed, long time U street resident.

    • DCMau5

      well put Mario… I would also add the Cardozo Health clinic up the street as congregating venue for drug dealers, drunks, and all around societal leeches that do nothing but loiter there all day.

    • On Capital Heels

      Oh please! If we removed the name of every drug user, money launderer, murderer, thief, rapist, human trafficker, or other lawbreaker from the names of buildings across this country (along with the names of those of their progeny, who didn’t do the bad deeds but certainly reaped the financial rewards of the same) — there would be no need for naming rights!

      To reduce the life and legacy of Marion Barry to that of a “crack addict” is as laughable as it is uninformed. Sure, the man was no saint. But neither is anyone whose name appears anywhere, truth be known. The only difference is that certain kinds of folks get a pass for the great things accomplished despite their shortcomings, and other kinds get eternally derided for their shortcomings despite their accomplishments.

  • Anon

    Perhpaps if DC had anti-loitering laws, this deterrent would not be necessary. While most loiterers are not a problem, there are problem areas or recurring problematic people yet police can’t do anything. I fully support this measure — especially since the mayor is doing so much to help with the homeless problem.

  • Mitzi

    I don’t see how anyone can be against this. I wish more buildings would use them.

  • DCresident99

    This is awesome! That corner has turned into a toilet with harassers everywhere.

  • PetworthAdam

    I understand the intent, but this is a shortsighted and ineffective solution. These people will move to another place a block away and that will become the new spot that smells bad. Then what? MORE SPIKES!! Homeless people need a place to sit down and put their things and will use whatever benches/chairs are available. Putting spikes up in places where homeless people sleep is only going to end up costing us as a city nice places to sit and congregate/ enjoy the sunshine.


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