URGENT: Let's stop encampment evictions in DC!
The Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (DMHHS), Wayne Turnage, recently announced a new “pilot program” whose stated purpose would be to expedite getting unhoused people into housing. This would be done by adding interested people to a by-name list to get housing, clearing the encampments, and creating no-tent zones in their place. However, so far, the reality of the pilot program is far from its stated purpose: The Deputy Mayor seems way more interested in evicting camps and creating no-tent zones than in actually housing people.
At the time of the first eviction of the NoMa encampments (L and M St NE) – only a small fraction of residents living there were matched into housing. To be clear: individuals are getting removed from where they live before there’s anywhere else for them to actually go. In addition, the District recklessly bulldozed a man while he was still in his tent, something unthinkable yet possible because DMHHS is running this program with minimal oversight.
We are asking that the DC government commit to keeping people safe during the re-housing process. The program needs to change. We demand all evictions of encampments be halted until every resident is placed into permanent housing. Moreover, the creation of no-tent zones in the city must be abandoned – we need to start putting people over property.
Moreover, grassroots organizations like People for Fairness Coalition and People Power Action have continued to highlight extremely high rental apartment vacancies, just only last month it was discovered that there is 17, 614 vacant rentals in DC. People need to be permanently housed, not further pushed out.
It is clear that this pilot program is not only failing on its mission, but it’s also endangering those who it claims to serve. Show your support for keeping our neighbors safe by using this form to email the DC Council, the Mayor, and the DMHHS admin to stop the evictions until everyone is housed and an oversight hearing on the program is held.