Housing struggles for terminally ill people leave loved ones grieving
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2 // ST REET SENS E ME DI A / / JUNE 1 3 - 2 6 , 2018
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Joseph’s House, a nonprofit hospice for homeless people living with HIV or cancer in the District, held its annual memorial service.
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NEWS IN BRIEF Street Sense Media vendor speaks to the Poor People’s Campaign
Social Justice Movie Night @ The William Penn House The William Penn House // 515 East Capitol Street, SE June 22, 2018 // 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Join us at The William Penn House for their Social Justice Movie Night series where we will be screening:
A June 11 rally at the U.S. Capitol continued The Poor People’s Campaign “40 Days of Action” that began May 14 — the anniversary week for the original Poor People’s Campaign inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. The national movement aims to advocate for people experiencing inequality due to racism, economic insecurity, “the war economy” and ecological devastation. Angie Whitehurst, a Street Sense Media vendor and artist, spoke to the crowd about homelessness in the District. “We have in D.C. now more than 6,000 who are homeless, and know that 1 percent of [The District’s] $14.2 billion budget could take care and solve the house and homeless problem,” Whitehurst said. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference began the Poor People’s Campgain in 1967. The first demonstration was in D.C. the following year. The new campaign’s 40 Days of Action will conclude on June 23, with a mass rally on the National Mall. “Homelessness can happen to anyone,” Whitehurst said. “You can be rich, poor, regardless of race, color, or creed. You can be divorced, separated, domestic violence — which is the number one cause for women being homeless. You can get sick, you can be mentally ill. All kinds of things can happen to you.”
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15 Annual Gifts for the Homeless Banding Together:
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Monday - Friday // 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. D.C. Housing finance Agency 815 Florida Ave NW An interactive exhibit connecting the intentional and systematic racial housing segregation of the 1930s to political and social issues of today, through the powerful narratives of the people and communities affected by redlining and its legacy.
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Angie Whitehurst speaking in front of the capitol at the June 11 rally. A sign language translator works next to her. PHOTO COURTESY OF LADON LOVE
Housing resources on display at the Walter E. Washington convention center On June 9, the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) hosted the 10th Annual Housing Expo and Home Show. The Expo featured over 150 exhibitors and 30 workshops for small businesses, current residents, and future residents. DHCD sought to provide resources for both homeowners and renters, from information on remodeling to tenants’ rights. The Expo also offered free credit reports and credit counseling during the event.
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Ron Dudley on D.C. pride: [link] “The Coolest Caps (Go mayor),” 2017 A very fitting #FlashbackFriday #ALLCAPS 9:09 AM - 8 JUN 2012
Tiny homes made an appearance at the expo. PHOTO BY REGINALD BLACK
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By writing grants to include move-in costs, Pathways to Housing D.C. is moving people off the street in record time BY JAKE MAHER Editorial Intern
or the first two months, I checked my mailbox every day knowing I didn’t have no mail. And I carried around my lease every day in my pocket like it was a checkbook, because I still couldn’t believe I had my own apartment.” Anthony Hopkins had been sleeping in front of a McDonald’s in 2008 when an outreach worker from the nonprofit homeless outreach program Pathways to Housing D.C. approached him to talk about finding an apartment. The Pathways worker set up an appointment for the next day with Hopkins. Hopkins skipped it and expected that to be the end of the matter. But the outreach worker found him again a day later. It took four years to build up their relationship. In 2012, Hopkins toured an apartment and was renting it eight days later. “[Pathways] never turned their back on me,” he said. Through innovation in receiving and using funding and by prioritizing a physical presence on the streets, Pathways is helping people experiencing homelessness in downtown D.C. This past winter, from November, 2017, through March, 2018, they helped 18 people into housing at a more than 90 percent success rate. According to Christy Respress, executive director of Pathways, the District’s “coordinated entry” system, while succeeding for many, was not prioritizing people with severe mental health and substance abuse problems. The system is used by all city homeless services providers to assess people’s needs and order them by level of “vulnerability” in a database used to fill all housing programs throughout the city. Her organization stepped in to reach out to the people they saw being left behind, and their geographic presence downtown has been a crucial factor in Pathways’ success. “What’s super challenging about this kind of work, one, is finding people; two is building relationships,” she said at an Interagency Council on Homelessness meeting in March. “Three is the speed: if we don’t have access to people, if we don’t see them on a regular basis, it becomes very hard for them to trust us to do our work.” Hopkins’ story bears this out. He said he did not trust the outreach worker at first, but the worker’s determination to find him and follow up and his persistence in placing him into Pathways’ system won him over. Pathways also uses a variety of funding sources in innovative ways. For instance, the Downtown D.C. and Golden Triangle business improvement districts fund Pathways’ street outreach services, while the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds housing vouchers for rental assistance. The program’s policy is that tenants pay 30 percent of their income, even if they do not have any income. Securing grants from HUD enabled Pathways to offer services to ease the transition into housing for the people it serves. “What we wrote into the HUD contract was
not just the rent, but something also very critical: the security deposits, the application fee … the furniture, the household items, the background checks,” Respress said. Services like this helped Hopkins settle into his new home in comfort. “When I moved into my apartment they got me a bed … a couch, dishes, and they gave me a $300 gift card for Target,” he said. Many Pathways clients qualify for disability benefits and the organization helps them get the documentation they need to apply. According to Hopkins, many people experiencing homelessness have never attempted to navigate the housing system and do not have the resources they need to do so. For example, when he was approached by Pathways, the only identification he had was a nondriver’s identification card. With a combination of funding from the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health, HUD, and its own fundraising, Pathways also helps its clients get access to mental health care, which follows them when are placed into housing. According to Respress, access to mental health services often continues to be an important part of Pathways services after clients are placed into housing. “After people are moving into housing, [they] are voluntarily seeing our psychiatrist.” Hopkins said these services were crucial for his own case. He was addicted to cocaine when he was approached by Pathways, but the organization followed up with him to help him recover after he was placed in an apartment. According to him, it is not useful to demand, as some programs do, that the people who receive assistance are clean before placing them into housing. He said housing itself becomes an incentive to get clean. “People need some kind of encouragement,” Hopkins said. “If you can get them a place, they’re off the street.
So now they can say, ‘Oh, I’m off the street now, I got some responsibilities.” This philosophy, that housing must be a priority without prerequisites, is known as Housing First. And implementing it requires bridging a gap between theory and practice, according to D.C. Interagency Council on Homelessness Director Kristy Greenwalt. “[Pathways] has figured out how to fill that gap in a pretty substantial way,” she said. A significant challenge is how to scale up Pathways’ success to be applicable to the entire city, Greenwalt said. One challenge Greenwalt identified is how to provide psychiatric evaluations to people who do not have health benefits and have no previous diagnosis. Respress acknowledges that Pathways enjoys a unique ability to offer these services. “While we have at Pathways access to psychiatrists and [clinical social workers] who can help with Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) referrals, most outreach programs struggle to have that kind of resource,” she said. Finding funding for some medical services remains a challenge for Pathways. Respress said the organization will continue to seek creative ways to pay for “service time” that cannot be billed to Medicaid. “It’s easier to tackle something in a pilot [program] and then figure out how to scale,” Greenwalt said. The tenants assisted by Pathways, meanwhile, will continue to benefit from the organization’s success. Hopkins is now working as a peer specialist with Catholic Charities. He appreciates the help he received through Pathways to Housing D.C., but recognizes the threat that homelessness continues to pose for many. “Homelessness doesn’t discriminate,” Hopkins said. “Many people are one paycheck away.”
Data presented to the D.C. Interagency Council on Homelessness tracking the housing placements Pathways D.C. was able to achieve in four months. COURTESY OF PATHWAYS TO HOUSING
Candidates debate tenants’ rights issues for Ward 5, Ward 6 and the D.C. shadow delegation Andria Thomas, Joyce Robinson-Paul and Bradley Thomas participate in the May 30 TENAC forum. PHOTO BY SARAH TASCONE
BY SARAH TASCONE Volunteer
The Tenants Advocacy Coalition held the second half of its Candidate’s Forum Wednesday, May 30, at the Waterside Towers in Southwest D.C. The moderator was Ronald Jackson, president of the Waterside Residents Association and a TENAC member. Attendees included candidates for member of the D.C. Council from Ward 5 Joyce Robinson Paul (Green party) and Bradley Thomas (Democrat) and incumbent Kenyan McDuffie (Democrat); candidate for member of the D.C. Council from Ward 6 Lisa Hunter (Democrat), challenger to incumbent Charles Allen (Democrat), who was invited but did not attend; candidate for Shadow Senator Andria Thomas (Democrat), incumbent Shadow Senator Michael Brown (Democrat) and incumbent Shadow Representative Franklin Garcia (Democrat). TENAC routinely holds such forums prior to elections to allow tenants to interact with candidates on housing issues. A major issue this year was D.C. Council’s vote to exclude single family home renters from the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act. Another was the process to amend the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which guides housing development. Washington, D.C. statehood was also discussed extensively in relation to affordable housing. Paul, the Ward 5 Green Party candidate, introduced herself as a 37-year Ward 5 resident and homeowner who is concerned about over-development. “Our neighborhood looks like New York City — skyscrapers,” she said. “I want to make sure the people of the District of Columbia are served, not corporations or developers.” Thomas, a Democrat and also a long-term Ward 5 resident, touted his service as chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5E and as an attorney in housing court. He said his five-point plan included affordable housing. “I’m the only candidate who has represented tenants in court—never represented landlords,” he said. McDuffie used his allotted time to share his goals and accomplishments as councilmember. “I want to make sure
Early perspectives from Dems for D.C. Council BY REGINALD BLACK // Artist/Vendor
The Women’s National Democratic Club held a forum for Democratic candidates for D.C. Council one month before petitions to appear on the June 19 primary ballots were due. Here is some of what candidates had to say about affordable housing.
At-Large Councilmember Jeremiah Lowery suggested re-thinking the use of Area Median Income to determine what housing prices qualify as “affordable.” He said the topic was personal for him because
city-owned land is set aside for affordable housing,” he said. McDuffie also discussed the bill he introduced to limit background checks on some tenants, The Fair Criminal Record Screening for Housing Act of 2016). Moderator Ronald Jackson commented that the background check legislation was very important to “stem the tide of rampant evictions in D.C.” The first issue for discussion was the TOPA vote. Candidates were also asked if they would repeal or restore the Comprehensive Plan. Paul said the changes to both the Comprehensive Plan and TOPA were “disgusting, to say the least.” “I’m a homeowner, and if I had a tenant for 15 years, I would want to give them everything I could, because for 15 years they have paid my taxes, paid my mortgage. I think they have a right to first refusal.” Bradley said he agreed but the language in the Comprehensive Plan proposal was bad because it replaced “mandatory” with “optional.” He said he was slightly ambivalent about TOPA because it could be abused by “less than scrupulous tenants.” “The problem is that it allows the tenant to tie up a home indefinitely,” Bradley said. McDuffie said he voted for the exemption to TOPA, and his focus now was more on displacement. The moderator remarked that the Comprehensive Plan proposal was “good for people who already have a lot of money,” and that it needed tenant input. An audience member asked the panel how they would protect the people at the bottom, moving ahead 20 years. Paul responded first. “We have a huge budget but 50 to 80 percent of Area Median Income [to determine what housing options qualify as ‘affordable’] is not enough,” she said. “We need to reform AMI. By lumping us in with Maryland and Virginia, the income level doesn’t reflect D.C. It should be 30 percent.” Bradley responded by saying that the crime rate was a major concern and that education and vocational training were needed
his family is native to the D.C. area and his mom had been in foster care and experienced homelessness. “We need to hold some of these big developers accountable,” Lowery said. He talked about expanding child care and strengthening rent control. Marcus Goodwin, a native of Columbia Heights said he has “stood against” landlords as long as he could. He said D.C. should require more square footage in apartments and more three- and four-bedroom units. “I want to live in a city where my grandparents can age gracefully,” Goodwin said. He suggested implementing recommendations from the 2017 D.C. Women’s Needs Assessment Report to address domestic violence. Aaron Holmes participated in the forum but will not be on the June 19 ballot after Lowery questioned some of his petition signatures and the D.C. Board of Elections upheld the challenge. Holmes endorsed “redefining affordability” and “investing in indigenous residents.” Holmes may proceed as a write-in candidate.
as a deterrent. He said he would recommend the city return to an elected school board and provide better support for teachers. “My wife is a teacher,” he said. “Teachers are afraid for their jobs every day.” Bradley added that education was not the only solution, just part of it. His vision for affordable housing would be a mixed-income model. “Neighborhoods with diverse incomes are stronger. We learn from each other,” he said. The forum then moved to the shadow delegation race. All the candidates stressed the importance of D.C. statehood and explained how they were fighting for it. Fr a nklin G a r c ia , the inc umbe nt sha dow U .S. Representative, running unopposed in the Democratic primary, spoke briefly on the importance of statehood for affordable housing. Garcia left early for a meeting with United Farmworkers co-founder Dolores Huerta, who he said was a strong advocate for D.C. statehood. Eleven-year incumbent Shadow Senator Michael Brown said he gained support abroad for D.C. statehood. “It should be an embarrassment to America that D.C. doesn’t have statehood.” Andria Thomas, challenging Brown for his seat, said the reaction to the 2016 general election made her hopeful for D.C. statehood, for example, the push for changing gerrymandering. Hunter, the only Ward 6 candidate to participate in the forum, spoke last. She said her ward had the least amount of rent control in the city and focused much of her discussion on her opponent, Charles Allen. “He voted to cut corporate and estate taxes during an affordable housing crisis. I will immediately reverse those votes,” Hunter said, adding that Allen voted against Trayon White’s amendment to extend the amount of time rapid re-housing vouchers last. White’s amendment failed to pass by one vote.
Council Chair Phil Mendelson highlighted his record on rent control and rental assistance. He said no one is adequately addressing jobs. ”If you want the city to be affordable, people have to get jobs and part of them getting jobs is educating them, which we’re failing to do,” Mendelson said. Mendelson said the chair of the council must be someone who can manage colleagues, get majority votes through and be a check and balance on the mayor. He described supporting Mayor Bowser’s 2016 proposal to replace D.C. General family shelter with smaller facilities throughout the city but objecting to the proposed approach to financing, leading D.C. Council to find another way to pay for the plan. Ed Lazere said, “We should measure our success by how much we are reducing the racial inequalities; that means investing more in affordable housing.” He wants to double affordable housing investments, including
home ownership programs and spend some of the $2.4 billion surplus savings to preserve public housing. Lazeere stressed the need to allow residents who are relocated because of redevelopment to return to their public housing in a timely manner. Calvin Gurley participated in the forum, but will not be listed on the June 19 ballot after some of his petition signatures were questioned and the D.C. Board of Elections upheld the challenge. Gurley supported public housing, stating it could support underemployed graduates burdened by student debt. While both Mendelson and Lazere acknowledged the vast income and wealth disparity between Black residents and White residents, Gurley called for Reparations. He criticized D.C. Council for inadequate oversight of the District government and had concerns with the Housing Production Trust Fund, the Office of the State Superintendent for Education and the Metropolitan Police Department. Gurley may proceed as a writein candidate.
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NEWS Developers and activists consider changes to the Comprehensive Plan The historic Central Armature Works, Inc building at 1200 3rd Street, NE. where the famly-owned business began operating in 1915. PHOTO BY ERIC FALQUERO
BY MARK ROSE Volunteer
exas-based developer Trammell Crow intends to break ground on the “Armature Works” project in Northeast D.C. later this year. A 2017 appeal by the grassroots entity H Street Neighbors had challenged the development and stalled work on the project while it moved through the courts. The appeal was dismissed earlier this year. The same group has appealed several other projects in the NoMa area, as have other groups throughout the city. According to a spreadsheet maintained by the Coalition for Smarter Growth, more than 4500 housing units are not being built because they are stalled in an appeals process. Approximately 700 of them would be classified as affordable. A slew of appeals against “planned unit developments,” which allow developers to exceed zoning limits in exchange for building some affordable housing units or providing other benefits for the community, may hinge on a precedent set by Friends of McMillan Park, which contested 25 acres of fencedoff and unused land at the corner of North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue NW. The historic site is home to ruins of an obsolete water filtration system. Street Sense Media reported on the long-running grassroots resistance to the redevelopment plans in 2015 and the appeal the group filed in November 2016. One month later, the day after a ceremonial groundbreaking at the McMillan Park site, the D.C. Court of Appeals overruled the Zoning Commission’s approval of the $90 million project. Friends of McMillan had successfully argued to the court that the project did not fall within the guidelines of the city’s Comprehensive Plan. The 1000-page Comprehensive Plan guides “inclusive” development in the city, aiming to encourage, yet regulate, growth that will attract new residents without pushing away Washingtonians. The McMillan case was the first successful filing of its kind in two decades. Now, to other actors, the Comprehensive Plan suddenly had teeth. The plan was created with the expectation that it would be updated every five years. It was last overhauled in 2006 and last updated in 2011. Since early 2017, the D.C. Office of Planning has been spearheading revisions. Commercial real estate developers say that a minority of District residents have prevented thousands of affordable and market-rate housing units from being built by filing appeals that stall projects for months as they work their way through the courts. Developers say that now, when they pitch projects to investors, they must factor in time for lengthy appeals. But the residents filing appeals say this is the only tool they have to demand more affordable housing and combat gentrification. The Comprehensive Plan update process has been a lightning rod for these tensions. During the 2006 revision, the Office of Planning received 300 public comments. During the comment period for the current revision, it received more than 3,000. A total of 273 concerned citizens, including lawyers, activists and policy wonks, signed up to testify at the first D.C. Council hearing, which lasted more than 13 hours and stretched well into the morning of March 21.
Despite its length, the hearing was relatively small in scope, only addressing changes to the 60-page “Framework Element” that sets up broad guidelines for the detailed chapters that follow. City government had released a markup of the suggested changes ahead of time. ANC 2B Commissioner Nicholas DelleDonne sent an email to his constituents highlighting the suggested changes and calling out language on page 54 of the document. “New language there reads that the Plan is ‘not to be strictly followed,’” DelleDonne wrote to his constituents. “That is a massive shift — not an amendment, but a rewrite.” DelleDonne and others fear the plan would become a set of suggestions, not a rulebook. This change would effectively remove the potential for the U.S. Court of Appeals to interfere with decisions made by local zoning officials based on the language in the plan, as has been done recently. That’s exactly what developers say is needed. When asked why this portion of the document was updated, the Bowser administration said in a statement provided to Street Sense Media that the language governing enforcement of the Plan is vague. DelleDonne interprets the new language as even more vague, indicating the plan is not to be “strictly followed” – rewriting or removing current guidelines rather than massaging them. During the hearing, At-Large Councilmember Robert White Jr. said the amended plan, as written, doesn’t have enough “teeth” to bring needed change. “Long-term residents are being displaced by development,” he said. “There is a clear misunderstanding of the issues,” said his colleague Trayon White, who added that residents east of the Anacostia River, in Wards 7 and 8, are very much misunderstood. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau said there is a consistent
Attorney Ari Theresa speaks at a D.C. Grassroots Planning Coalition workshop about the city’s Comprehensive Plan. PHOTO BY MARK ROSE
path of racial and economic discrimination in D.C. “Steer the ship toward more responsible and affordable public housing,” she said. Activist David Whitehead, representing the Edgewood Community in Ward 5, said the Comprehensive Plan should be a tool to get more affordable housing and prevent displacement. “We need more housing,” he said to the packed council chamber, adding that the Comprehensive Plan needs stronger language on affordable housing. “The question is whether to water down the Comprehensive Plan or clarify it.” “We need to emphasize stability,” testified Ms. Greene, a public witness. “Don’t tear down the existing affordable housing.” Caroline Petty, president of the Brookland Civic Association, favored the plan, though she had concerns. The amendments obscure the clarity of the Comprehensive Plan, she said, opening it more to debate and interpretation. Councilmember Elissa Silverman commented that “we have lost much affordable housing in our city,” and also emphasized the need for clarity. “What is a stable neighborhood?” Nadeau asked rhetorically. “It is one where people don’t get displaced.” There is a lack of “transparency,” testified Dr. Sabiyha Prince, a gentrification expert trained in anthropology and qualitative research. In response to a complaint by housing advocates that Mayor Bowser’s office bypassed usual procedure, her communications director told Street Sense Media in an email that officials in the mayor’s office held several meetings with assembled members of the public. Bowser’s staff submitted a report to the Office of Planning. “The problems aren’t solved; they’re getting worse,” said Parisa Norouzi, Executive Director of Empower D.C., the main nonprofit behind the anti-plan protest efforts and “Stop the Comprehensive Scam” stickers worn by many to the hearing. Empower D.C. has been organizing community meetings for the past year to review individual chapters of the 1,000-page plan, generate comments to submit to the Office of Planning, and organize turnout to events such as the evening hearing. “We keep subsidizing high-cost developers to build a few affordable housing units,” she complained to a recent gathering at one such meeting in a packed church basement in Southeast D.C.. “We have to pick a fight with the status quo.” She argued that there’s still a lot of racism in D.C. driving gentrification, whether people admit it on the surface or not “We need a drastic reassurance to enable uplifting of people starting with affordable housing.” There is a basic equity gap that is hard to bridge in the current climate, all seemed to agree, whether they supported the proposed changes or stood against them. “It’s poor to develop this way,” Dr. Prince later told Street Sense Media. “It represents uneven development; it’s helping some people and not others; a trickle-down strategy. It’s important to take input from the community and follow through 100 percent.” A D.C. Council vote is expected in the fall. More information about the plan is available at http://plandc.dc.gov.
AT A GLANCE
PHOTO BY TESSA WILD
BY TESSA WILD email@example.com
incent Watts, a homeless artist and writer, has gone through a difficult journey to find his identity. Although he’s lost his legal identity, he has gained a deeper sense of self than most do in a lifetime. He moved to the D.C. area about five months ago, almost five years after his identity was stolen. It was “misused in a bunch of ways,” Vincent said, and he has spent about six years trying to clean up the mess. “It’s been a journey. I am my own case manager, my own lawyer, my own social worker — my own a little bit of everything.” After the identity theft, Vincent looked into pro bono services, which in turn got him interested in filing court appeals and looking for other ways to represent himself. Soon, he became interested in learning judiciary procedure. However, because he didn’t have a permanent address where he could receive mail, his case was continuously put on hold. The case remains pending and he remains homeless. However, being homeless has allowed Vincent to find his identity in a way that he hadn’t before.
For example, he says his survival skills have peaked over the last several years. “I’ve completely turned into a physician slash doctor. Just being out here with the very few resources that I have, just being able to take care of myself.” Vincent said. “When it was time to survive, that kind of kicked in. It was just kind of this dormant, hidden thing and it’s pretty eerie, but it’s also very gratifying.” Identity is also a central theme in Vincent’s writing,. Three months ago, he discovered Street Sense Media and began publishing his work in the media center’s print newspaper. The first installment of his three-part fiction story is scheduled to publish in an upcoming edition. “That was literally my fi rst piece that [has ever gotten] published,” Vincent said. “It’s about a cowgirl who comes across two gentleman who help her develop as a teen and a woman. She’s really interesting—she’s like this petite, short, spunky girl who has developed in the West of hustlers and bootleggers. She’s really finding a life outside of that, but not too far from it. She’s picked up this other life that she really doesn’t know what to do with yet.” Vincent’s story is a fiction piece, but some aspects of it are very personal. The theme of learning within the story, for
example, is something Vincent based off of his own life. “She’s a clever girl, but she’s learning something completely new, and she’s like ‘Okay, this is really cool, but it almost seems as if I’m not meant to do it.’ But she perseveres, she finally does get it down, and it’s very cool,” Vincent said. Through his writing, Vincent has discovered new elements of his creative side. “I’m a visual artist first, and a descriptive artist second, so I found my descriptive strengths in writing, and it’s really been an eye-opener for me,” he said. Vincent lives at the 801 East Men’s Shelter for now and plans to stay in D.C. “I would love to keep writing,” he said. “I’m gonna put [visual] art down for a little bit and kind of expand my creativity in writing. If I could stay in fiction, that would be awesome.” Vincent’s search for his identity is unique. However, people all over the world struggle to find their true selves, especially when experiencing homelessness. “Identity is important to everyone, or at least it should be,” Vincent said. “Anyone that is experiencing constant growth, don’t be afraid of it, or don’t be too shy of it. I really found that asking yourself questions and taking some time alone really helps build your identity.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF SASHA WILLIAMS
“I voluntarily started a parenting workshop last year through Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center. My class graduated June 7 and they gave me a pink rose. Though I had obstacles and an important move, I completed all of the requirments.” Sasha Williams // Artist/Vendor
BIRTHDAYS Phillip Black June 19 ARTIST/VENDOR
Leonard Hyater June 24 ARTIST/VENDOR
How we are learning about homelessness BY ABIGAIL BOERSTLING // Volunteer
On May 8, my fifth grade class from National Presbyterian School went to the Tenleytown Library as part of our service learning project. There we met a very nice woman and her name was Ms. Badalamenti, a social worker for D.C. Public Library. Then we met with Mr. Ken Martin, a Street Sense Media vendor and a former homeless person. We had met Ken before here at our school when we first talked about homelessness. At the library, we learned that in 2015 there were more than 8,000 homeless people in D.C. but in 2017 there were a little over 7,000 homeless people. Then we made care packages for
homeless people that included soap, shampoo, mouthwash, lotion, deodorant, conditioner, and a toothbrush and toothpaste. The care packages went to Friendship Place. We split into two groups to make those care packages. Then we split into even more groups and Ms. Badalamenti gave us a sheet of paper. On the sheet of paper there was a backpack. We had to write down five things that we would bring with us if we were homeless. We also talked about where homeless people would stay. We give our thanks to the Tenleytown library, Ms. Baladamenti and Ken Martin. Thank for your time!
Our stories, straight to your inbox Street Sense Media provides a vehicle through which all of us can learn about homelessness from those who have experienced it. Sign up for our newsletter to get our vendors' stories in your inbox.
8 // ST REET SENSE ME DI A / / JUNE 1 3 - 2 6 , 2 018
In May, the residents, staff and volunteers at Joseph’s House remembered 16 who have died since the previous annual Spring Memorial Service. Joseph’s House is a hospice for homeless people living with cancer, HIV or other terminal illnesses. The organization has been operating in the Adams Morgan neighborhood since 1990. The name of each person being remembered was colorfully hand-drawn on paper, read aloud during the ceremony, and placed in the ground in the organization’s garden. Flowers were planted on top of the names. PHOTOS BY KEN MARTIN
As living with HIV becomes more common, affordable housing remains out of reach for many seniors STORY BY JAKE MAHER | PHOTO ESSAY BY KEN MARTIN Street Sense Media
n elderly HIV-positive man who had been in and out of hospitals was evicted for nonpayment of rent; the day after he reached out to the nonprofit Terrific Inc., Susan Shepard, the director of education and prevention services at Terrific Inc., cited his example in her testimony to the D.C. Council Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization. At-large Councilmember Anita Bonds asked Shepard how many cases like this she receives in a year, where seniors who have HIV are under medical care and require housing support. “Well, in a given day, I’ve gotten five calls since I’ve been sitting here,” Shepard said, including one regarding a man who was going to be evicted the following day. She had been testifying for less than 30 minutes. The exchange underscored Shepard’s characterization of the District’s housing resources for seniors with HIV as “minimal to not much.” The system for providing housing support for this segment of the population is increasingly under strain from a growing demand, coupled with cuts to the funding sources used to maintain it. The HIV positive population of the District includes nearly 13,000 people. At 1.9 percent of the general population, it exceeds the World Health Organization’s cutoff of 1 percent to qualify as an epidemic. Seniors make up a large proportion of these cases. Forty-three percent of D.C. residents with HIV
are 55 or older, and the 50-59 segment has the highest rate of HIV positive cases, according to Shepard. An important factor in the growing population of seniors with HIV is the improvement in available medication since the beginning of the epidemic, according to Michael Kharfen, the senior deputy director of The HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration. When Kharfen began work in 1985, the life expectancy of someone diagnosed with HIV was 6 18 months. Now, with proper medication, people with HIV routinely live to be seniors. However, many people who contracted HIV years ago are facing new challenges. When they were diagnosed, treatment was not as effective and society’s acceptance of the LGBTQ community, where HIV was most common, was lower. Some people did not develop work skills when they were younger, out of a feeling that they would never need them. Now, they struggle to find employment in old age, according to Shepard. Shepard added that many people lack a strong support system to help them as they age. “When you look at elderly or LGBTQ people, they may not have family or children to take care of them,” she said. “They moved away from towns where they lived, and now they have no support.” Some of the people served by Terrific Inc., which is the D.C. Office on Aging Disability Resource Center for Wards 1, 2, and 4, have not developed strong supportive ties due to the legacy of anti-LGBTQ discrimination they faced. “We have seniors in our housing who may not admit being part
of the LGBTQ community,” Shepard said. “A lot of people are in isolation by acknowledging they are in the LGBTQ community.” The core of the city’s resources to provide housing specifically for people who are HIV positive comes from the federal Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program (HOPWA), disbursed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Having already faced stigma and judgment in finding housing earlier in their lives, many LGBTQ seniors, particularly those who are HIV positive, now face additional challenges linked to gentrification, according to Shepard. “What is available is limited,” she said. The HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA), of which Kharfen is the senior deputy director, is the local agency responsible for providing housing and other services to residents who are HIV positive. HAHSTA receives slightly more than $11 million dollars from HOPWA, of which about 60 percent is allocated for the District. The rest is used for counties in Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. The D.C. agency uses its funding to offer tenant-based housing assistance, housing information and referral services, transitional housing services and emergency homelessness prevention services. However, these services have been limited by funding cuts at the federal level. Kharfen said HOPWA funding had decreased steadily for several years before plateauing at its current level, with more cuts on the way.
Those remembered at the memorial service: Fitz Roy Hunt Tyrone Robinson Yvette Green Ashley McCutcheon William Wright Yohannes Gebremeskel Edmundo Milholo Rakkia Chappelle Grace Hogan Robert PArker Getachew Woldearegay Aaron Gatewood Regina Page Michelle Harris Anthony Thweatt Camesia Brown Guya Deki, a resident at Joseph’s House, holds a memorial service program and listens as the names of his former housemates are read. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN
HUD changed the formula it uses to allocate funds in 2016 to prioritize areas with more emerging cases of HIV, rather than places with more cumulative cases, such as D.C. The change is set to take place in 2019 and will result in a $2 million reduction in funding, according to Kharfen. HAHSTA has also been stretched thin by the expanding needs resulting from longer life expectancies for HIV-positive people. The agency’s tenant-based housing assistance program functions as a housing voucher program, according to Kharfen. But there is no restriction to how long a person can continue to receive vouchers. As rents city-wide have risen, subsidies for people already receiving the vouchers have taken up a greater proportion of total funding and reduced the ability to distribute new vouchers. “We share the concern that we have not been able to help new people with these vouchers,” Kharfen said. The system of funding for HIV-related services is outdated in other ways. For instance, grants from the Ryan White HIV/ AIDS program, distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are an important component of the city’s resources for HIV programs. However, the grants reflect the needs that government agencies faced in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. HAHSTA had to obtain a waiver to get around the Ryan White program’s requirement that 75 percent of the funding be spent on medical care; according to Kharfen, with improvements in HIV medication and the expansion of health insurance in the District, housing services have become a more pressing concern than medical care. HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program has similarly become poorly suited to meet the needs of agencies like D.C.’s HAHSTA. “There hasn’t been a change in the way HOPWA is designed as a program since 1990, which is a long time,” Kharfen said, noting the exception of the funding cut in 2016. “It was a different epidemic that we had when HOPWA was established than where we are today.” For Earline Budd, a non-medical case manager at Helping Individual People Survive, the lack of adequate funding for housing is the driving force of the crisis. Budd, a 59-year old, transgender woman who has experienced homelessness and was diagnosed with HIV 25 years ago, has had a similar experience to many of the clients who make up her case load at HIPS, a health clinic dedicated to serving sex workers and drug users in the H Street Corridor. “I know
Keisha embraces Patricia Wudel, executive director of Joseph’s House. Both are grieving and shed tears during the memorial service. However, they and the rest of the community found strength in each other. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN
what it means to be homeless because, first and foremost, I’m somebody who slept on the streets of D.C. when I was younger and my family put me out.” She has worked with homeless and HIV positive populations for 18 years through the D.C. Department of Health, the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness and other organizations. In the last several years, she said, the gradual decrease in federal HOPWA funding Kharfen identified has cut down the number of housing programs that serve people with HIV. “They had about 10 to 15 providers that provided housing specifically for HIV positive [people], and of course, in the course of that, a lot of folks that accessed those services were LGBTQ individuals who were elderly,” Budd said. “A couple of years ago they started scaling back, and the only provider we have now that’s providing that resource, and emergency housing, shelter and transitional [housing], is RAP-Gaudenzia.” The Ronald C. Clark behavioral treatment center, run by Regional Addiction Prevention (RAP) and Gaudenzia, offers a two-month emergency housing program paired with a tenmonth transitional housing program. The one center is not enough, according to Budd. “HOPWA is still there, but it’s very limited,” Budd said. “We need more providers who are serving people who are HIV positive.” More broadly, the city’s array of homeless services are not designed to specifically target people who are HIV positive or part of the LGBTQ community. Budd said the District’s Ryan White Planning Council, which implements the eponymous U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funds, no longer prioritizes housing for LGBTQ people as highly as it used to. “We used to be in the top 10, as far as prioritization for funding,” Budd said. “ Now we’ve moved way down.” D.C.’s assessment tool for referring people experiencing homeless to services also does not necessarily take HIV-status into account when prioritizing people for housing placements, because the disease is now considered manageable, according to Budd. “At the end of the day, if you were in the park, you got an assault and the police came, they may prioritize your case, but otherwise there’s no real prioritization when it comes to specifically LGBTQ HIV-positive [people],” she said. Additionally, the LGBTQ population, and in particular the transgender community, continues to face housing discrimination, according to Budd.
The cumulative effect of these forces is a growing need for housing among the elderly HIV-positive and LGBTQ population, which the District’s resources are ill-suited to serve. “Some don’t get in housing. Some die,” Budd said. “ I’m a funeral planner also, and I most certainly have laid away a lot of trans folks and those that were lesbian, gay and bisexual. People shouldn’t die because they don’t have housing.” The decline in federal HOPWA funds and the decrease in providers of housing assistance like the Ronald Clark center remain the most important factors in Budd’s eyes. “The Department of Health, HAHSTA has to do more, the mayor has to do more,” she said. “They prioritize what they want to prioritize.” In the absence of HOPWA funding, though, Kharfen said that HAHSTA has had to look to other sources for money for temporary housing and to find new uses for the money it already receives. For example, HAHSTA will be using repurposed Ryan White grants this year to reach out to recipients of HOPWA-funded housing vouchers, the kind HAHSTA has struggled to provide for new people in need, while housing costs rise and recipients continue to rely on the vouchers. “We’re actually reaching out to all the people who receive that assistance now to say, ‘What’s going on in your life, what are your plans, how can we help you figure out what makes the best sense to you for your housing needs?’” Kharfen said. Between HAHSTA’s efforts to adapt through using Ryan White grants, and the help of D.C. government organizations that provide services specifically for HIV positive people and that work to create general affordable housing, there are still funds for housing for people with HIV in the District, despite funding cuts coming from the federal level, according to Kharfen. Budd agrees the current level of support from the city is a step forward. “I stayed on 9th and O, 7th and O, slept in alleys, in vans and all that,” she said. “When I was coming up and homeless they didn’t have programs like this. But the point is, more can still be done.” Until then, many seniors with HIV will continue to face a struggle to find housing, even after they have qualified for it through a housing assistance program. “When you look at people who are HIV positive or have other chronic illnesses, well, which will happen first?” she asked. “Will they live to be put into the permanent housing?”
1 0 // S T REET SENSE ME DI A / / JUNE 1 3 - 2 6 , 2018
OPINION Can D.C. Council challengers deliver on their promises?
Why is homelessness still not news?
This year’s primary election campaign is a heated one, especially for D.C. Democratic loyalists. Both incumbent candidates, Brianne Nadeau and Anita Bonds, have worked very hard for their constituencies. Bonds has been a champion for families, seniors, housing and the homeless in the district. She is also a senior statesperson, and greatly needed on the city council. Nadeau, too, has built up strong support over the last several years. Right now, both Nadeau and Bonds are challenged by young, well-spoken advocates who want faster, more aggressive change. In Ward 1, incumbent Nadeau faces Kent Boese, Sheika Reid and Lori Parker. At-large candidates challenging Bonds include Jeremiah Lowery and Marcus Goodwin. I do not know if this year’s crop of candidates is a reflection of new energy from millennials, a reaction to the current national politics filtered down to the local level or a general need for change.It is great to have such intelligent, empathetic choices running for office, but I fear that public service as an elected official is the only opportunity attracting good people to lead and be involved. My hope is that all the newcomers put just as much energy into community involvement, as they do into their campaigns. While all candidates have their strengths, only the incumbents have proof of performance. But if any of the challengers win, he or she must remember that they will be junior members on the council; he or she will have to build up support and seniority to carry out campaign promises. In the meantime, it is up to the voters. And no matter what, listen, learn and vote!
Earlier this year I appeared on Voice of America’s Pashto service in Washington, D.C. The discussion focus was youth engagement in entrepreneurial activities, and the way forward. But, when I introduced myself as an employee of Street Sense Media, callers popped up. They were surprised with the word homelessness; to them, the United States is a country full of luxuries, happiness and job opportunities. Where are the news media to propagate the realities of American homelessness? Ethical journalism should highlight the situation on the ground, and give the public real-time information so that it’s aware of what has been happening in the country. Unfortunately, both the U.S. media and global media have failed to give much focus to homelessness. But the main function of the media is to report the news, inform and spread awareness; therefore, the media should report the news about homelessness in this country, as well as globally, and inform the masses about the root causes of homelessness. We need to create venues for discussion. As a responsible citizen or resident of this country, we are also responsible for propping up the voices of underprivileged people, like those suffering with homelessness. Even one social media post or blog can help create avenues for discussion to deal with homelessness seriously. Let’s take a start. It’s not too late.
Angie Whitehurst is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media.
Ilays Muhammad is the vendor manager for Street Sense Media.
BY ANGIE WHITEHURST
BY ILYAS MUHAMMAD
Product of Progression:
Homelessness will not hold me back BY TYLER CHISHOLM JR
I am holding on. My living arrangement is still classified as homeless, and a second job is needed. I have obtained another educational certification that brings me another skill set to be more marketable. No word yet from the D.C. Department of Homelessness Services on my continued support. My path is still a shaky one, but I am slowly gaining my independence— and it makes me feel great. I am maintaining my employment, which can be hard depending on hours, coworkers and how you respond to misunderstandings. At this present time, I am getting about 36 hours of work a week, which is great. But when the other courtesy clerk comes back, my hours will drop to about 20 hours a week. The revenue I generated thus far has been going to rent, food and my cellphone bill. I have not saved anything for a rainy day. With this said, my check list consists of: • • • • • •
Becoming smart with money Being a stronger asset in the community Finding means of more employment Keeping a great disposition Working to create a great brand Staying 0-percent stressed
All of these are goals that keep me focused on my progress. These are my steps for helping myself, and for helping create a different view of a homeless individual. My coping skills are also improving, and I am better able to express my concerns clearly, especially at work. I still fight with the factors of my conditions, but I will not allow it to overwhelm me, nor obstruct my path. I am one of the many homeless individuals whose health was not up to par, but now I am monitoring my diabetes. My illness hinders what I can accomplish in a day, but treating it helps. I am determined to progress and work through difficult events, planned and unplanned, and succeed through them with faith and hope. I write this series to show what opportunities exist for people experiencing homelessness and answer questions you might have about the challenges I have faced, homeless, employed and enrolled in higher education in our nation’s capital.
Roseanne exposed the liberal double standard BY JEFFERY MCNEIL
My name is David Schwartzman, and I am the DC Statehood Green Party candidate for D.C. Council At-Large. The two most egregious human rights violations in Washington, D.C. are homelessness and poverty, especially child poverty, and I plan to do something about them. By tapping into the more than ample tax base of D.C.’s wealthy residents and our city’s big developer/corporate sector, our local government can virtually eliminate both these ills. As a long-term member of the Fair Budget Coalition, ONE DC and Empower DC, I stand firmly behind the struggles of our low-income, working-class community. We should curb subsidies to developers who are prioritizing the creation of condos and rental units for high-income buyers; shift these subsidies to the repair and expansion of public housing, and to vigorous implementation of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, the District Opportunity to Purchase Act and community land trusts; encourage stronger rent control; and establish a D.C. public bank to facilitate these measures. We can reduce income and wealth inequality by making D.C.’s tax structure truly progressive, and hike the D.C. income tax rate of wealthy residents—those earning $200,000 or more—to create additional revenue for equitable development and income support for those below the poverty line. Under this plan, wealthy D.C. residents will get a significant federal income tax break, and thus end up paying the same overall taxes. My approach would generate at least $250 million in extra revenue in 2019—all of which can go toward eliminating chronic homelessness and poverty. In the near-term, though, let’s expand the provision of rapid rehousing and rent supplements to keep individuals and families in this housing once market rates kick in. Together, we can end homelessness and poverty in our city.
I’m not a fan of Roseanne Barr nor do I defend what she said. However, I'm annoyed by one set of rules for liberals and another standard for Trump supporters. I’m glad the left is taking a moral stand against all forms of hate and bigotry, but why isnt the same standard applied to Bill Maher, who called Donald Trump an orangutan, or Samantha Bee, who called the president's daughter something even worse, or Michelle Wolf, who fat-shamed Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Joy Reid has said inflammatory things about gays and Muslims yet remains on the air. So please spare me about Roseanne Barr. I wish the insults and name calling would stop from both sides, but that is the nature of politics. When you're in the public eye and become political, half the public will hate your guts. That is the nature of the beast. When you put something in print, somebody is going to find it vile and offensive. If you're in politics and can't stand being criticized or mocked then maybe you shouldn't be in politics. The lamestream media acts like this language has never been in politics, but in the past politics was more vicious and bloodier. Before there was Trump Derangement there was Franklin Roosevelt derangement. Capitalists and conservatives called Roosevelt's New Deal the Jew Deal. Father Charles Coughlin had a weekly broadcast audience of thirty million followers listening to conspiracy theories about zionists in cahoots with a capitalist cabal to form a New World Order. I don't think Roseanne Barr should be fired any more than should the left-wing pundits who say idiotic and stupid things. What I find insulting is that white liberals have such low opinions of African Americans that they truly believe we're so feeble minded that we’re not capable of standing up to mean people and bullies.
David Schwartzman is the Green Party candidate for D.C. Councilmember At-Large.
Jeffery McNeil is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media.
A D.C. Council candidate on homelessness BY DAVID SCHWARTZMAN
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THE HOBO: “Why are you homeless...?” BY DUANE FOSTER // Artist/Vendor
“Ma'am, can you help me out with some change?” he asked. It took all his might to keep up his insincere smile. He felt absolutely wretched. And frowning would have been much more fulfilling. But he was at a juncture in life where humor was a foreign concept and absolutely nothing was funny anymore. The woman hadn’t anticipated she would be solicited for help. However, she was a God-fearing woman whom looked forward to opportunities to serve her lord and savior. “What?...ahhh?...What do you mean son? Are you hungry?” He began to grin slyly. The word "son" was an indication he had successfully tapped into her maternal instinct, something he had learned to use to his advantage when dealing with older women. He was certain that he was about to receive a blessing. “Yes ma’am,” he said without a moment of hesitation. He really wanted 16 more dollars to go on a “dipper-mission.” But if it was food she offered, food he would receive. The only thing getting turned down on this day was his collar. “You want a couple pieces of chicken and a drink young man?” the woman asked. She could tell he indulged in the illicit, so she wasn’t the least bit inclined to give him any money. His stomach growled as he answered with a smile and as much appreciation as he could muster. “Thank you, ma’am, I’m very hungry.” Moments later she appeared with two big bags. “Thank you ma’am,” he stammered. Black became overwhelmed with a sense of peace and tranquility in her presence. This soured to awkwardness. He rarely experienced those types of emotions — peace and tranquility had become nonexistent for him.
The bomb dot com BY LATICIA BROCK // Artist/Vendor
Here I go again writing from the heart of a phenomenal village Not knowing Street Sense would be The opportunistic deliverage coming from a soul held captive in bondage hiding from fears of experience made realistic Through my family at Street Sense I can not only make cents but it allows my homeless people to pay homage, forever that our city needs to please stop getting rid of our encampments ’Cause housing is definitely an equal right How can you sleep in your mansion, while you know we homeless at night? From here is a start Just like Street Sense, you should have a heart
“You are very welcome, son,” she said, looking deep in his eyes. For a moment, he felt unsettled. Some questions were about to fly his way. "So, what happened? Why are out here like this?” He felt as if his back was pinned to a wall with nowhere to run. The woman represented a deadly predator, and his story was her prey. His heart began to race as he questioned how honest he really wanted to be with this total stranger. Should he mention the drugs…jail time, or the dysfunctional family he represented? The man cleared his throat and the woman smiled in patient anticipation. Then, suddenly, he was consumed by a moment of clarity and a rush of enthusiasm that he could define only as an epiphany. Here goes nothing, he thought, as the words began to roll off his tongue. “Homelessness has become much more to me than just a consequence, circumstance, or situation," he said. "It has become an act of rebellion. A response to a world that time and time again, rebuffed my overtures of love and admiration. Out of anger, hatred, and hostility, a conscious decision was made to be a contrast to an establishment that I felt would never accept me with open arms.” He peered deeply into her eyes to emphasize his words, and the woman began to appear stressed. He decided to continue his soliloquy anyhow. “Basically, I decided that normalcy wasn’t in the cards for me and the life of a square was something I’d never again attempt to achieve. I no longer desire your cars, clothes, careers, or coves. I would be different in every way. To me, those things represent ties, ropes, and, chains Linking to the same establishment that has rejected me time and time again.”
He paused again to let his words hit home. He looked around, hoping he could catch a few other bystanders earhustling. He would have loved to have had an audience to listen to him explain the true method behind what appeared as madness to most. “When the establishment goes north, I’m going south. I don’t have any interest in participating in a society that I feel is set up for the rich to profit and prosper by means of objectification of the poor. I honestly feel that the powers that be are making a fool out of the masses.” Then he pointed his finger at the air defiantly to further drive his point home. “For the life of me, I don’t understand why others aren’t taking the same road that I’m on. Despite what anyone says, I feel like I’m taking the highest road. I refuse to let the Man take advantage of me. I’m making the next best thing to the ultimate sacrifice to prove it. What most view as a normal life, is really no more than modern day slavery… and I’m a runaway slave! Forever seeking that nonexistent promised land.” The woman was speechless for a long moment. She didn’t know what to say or think. Normally, after a rant such as that, she would have been certain the orator was mentally challenged. However, something was different about this guy, she thought. She smiled, “You are something else, I tell you. So, are you out here often?” “Yeah-almost every day.” “Well I'm going to come back here to see how you’re doing from time to time. Is that alright?” “Of course. Don’t be a stranger,” he quickly responded. “Okay. My name is Harriet. What’s yours?” He smiled that smile that melted her heart initially and she returned the gesture. “My name is Black Fields…” To be continued. This abridged short story is taken from the work, “The Black Fields Chronicles: THE HOBO.”
Stop beating up on yourself (It’s not all your fault) BY REGINALD DENNY Artist/Vendor
PART TWO: As time allows my mind to think, I can almost hear my mother’s words, echoing in my psyche: “Now son, you made your bed and now you gonna have to lay in it.” In my mind, that meant no ifs ands or buts about it, my acts were demeaning in such a way that I was to suffer whatever fate for such time until I saw an opportune moment to return to a normal way of life. As a child, it became ingrained through benign situations such as “Don’t run through the kitchen while that pound cake is in the oven — or it will drop!” Of course, I kept running and the vibration from my heavy steps caused the cake to drop and crumble into ruin. Then I was in trouble and had to lay in the hard bed I had made for myself. While this adage applies to serious transgressions that may occur in adult life, I too often find myself returning to that “hard bed” state of thinking when I make
mistakes. Instead of dealing with trouble, I adapt to a flight response, rather than fight. This ends with me prolonging the pain of what I did. And thinking that anything else bad that I experience is somehow deserved. This is learned behavior. You have to fight it, to be mindful and put away those negative thoughts that would otherwise bind you up. You must learn to not lay in it or beat up on yourself so much. Otherwise this mentality becomes the governing factor of unforseen choices and decisions. We have to remember that our words have power to create or destroy. We must be ever so careful with how we project our words on others. Instead of flight, we need to embrace a fight mentality and not just stay here in mental mutilation. Don’t stay there on those hard steps too long, because life will never be a crystal stair. Rise above it and embrace positive thoughts and behaviors. To be continued.
My Life BY MELODY BYRD Artist/Vendor
I am a person. I am a woman. And I would like to write a better story for myself. I plan to go to a new way of life, a normal way of life, with stable housing, food, clothes and transportation. It will be a new chapter, with new meaning.
Mind, body and spirit BY LIZ BRYANT // Artist/Vendor
I'm back in school again, Mondays and Thursdays, plus math tutoring. At this point, I don’t want my GED for another job, I just want to finish what I started. I also go to PSI Family Services three times a week. I like it a lot. We’re learning a about being healthy, exercising every day and taking medicine. I won’t give up no matter what, because Jesus Christ, my father, said all children can be healthy.
1 2 // S T REET SENSE ME DI A / / JUNE 1 3 - 2 6 , 2018
ART Ten years of advocacy and still a long way till fairness BY ROBERT WARREN // Artist/Vendor
The People For Fairness Coalition recently celebrated and acknowledged 10 years of standing up for ourselves and advocating for poor and homeless people to have housing as a universal right in Washington, D.C. As I think back to when PFFC was founded in May of 2008, I remember finding myself homeless for the second time in my life. The first time was in 1993, when Washington, D.C. had become the murder capital of the nation. I don't like to think even about the lives lost during those years: men and women of color who I knew and began to write about. Those who I call the children of the marchers, the last generation to march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Those who really knew what racism and discrimination were and who saw the public policies that were meant to keep poor people poor and dependent on government handouts that are never enough.
I was never able to finish my book project, "Children of the Marchers," on my way to becoming a full-time advocate with PFFC and a part-time poet, vendor and contributor with this media center, whose mission is to raise voices and economic independence for homeless and formerly homeless individuals. I found out about Street Sense Media shortly after entering the men's shelter, 801 East, on the historic grounds of St. Elizabeth on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. I will never forget the first time I walked on the grounds, to enter that homeless shelter. It had been raining all day, as it does in early May. I had been couch surfing with relatives for most of the winter months when a cousin I was staying with told me it was time for me to go. On that day, I made my way to the shelter a little apprehensive, not knowing what to expect. It had been 12 years since I had been in a homeless shelter. I looked up at the May sky as the clouds began to roll away, revealing a full moon, and the faces of men I knew to be homeless in 1993. And still more faces of men I would see on the streets of Ancostica. I thought to myself, "The Lord has me there for a reason." It was a time of hope and change and believing a man of color could become our first Black President. I just felt like I had to fight and write about my coming up in Washington, D.C., and about other Black men like me.
With that in mind I heard about Street Sense Media and another place called Miriam's Kitchen — both had writing workshops. As the Lord would have it, I arrived on the wrong day for writing but the right day for People For Fairness Coalition. This group of homeless men, like myself, had started an advocacy group a month earlier. And I like to think that through the Street Sense Media vendors who work with PFFC, with our articles, films, forums and mentor projects, we have had an impact on the lives of homeless individuals in Washington, D.C., and ourselves, for the better. But we still have a long way to go when it comes to people’s thinking around housing those in need of universal housing. Our anti-discrimination bill, named in honor of the late Michael A. Stoops, would make homeless people part of a protected class recognized by the D.C. Human Rights Act. PFFC remembers the homeless individuals who pass away every year with an annual vigil on the longest night of the year. And more importantly, our peer-to-peer mentoring for people experiencing homelessness has led others to become some of our best advocates. Anyone who is interested in standing for a more fair and inclusive District of Columbia may join us. The People For Fairness Coalition meets every Tuesday morning at Miriam's Kitchen, 2401 Virginia Ave NW, at 8:30 a.m.
Sylvan A pose by the party wall. Femmale delicats the sporting liff. Travale! What detail cavorts, truly angelities owtt a sorts!
The Broke Monkey
Veyls roll or thet ower, draun eall ofr the air! BY FRANKLIN STERLING // Artist/Vendor
The facts of poverty and the homeless life BY JAMES GARRELL // Artist/Vendor
BY MICHAEL CRAIG Artist/Vendor ILLUSTRATION BY BARBARA POLLARD
The broke monkey wore a hat tipped down over its face. It was scraggly and looked extremely destitute. The other monkeys often looked down on it, because the broke monkey did not seem to have the extravagance and pretensions of regular society. The other monkeys often acted intimidated, looking at him like he was a criminal. They would avoid eye contact and walk across the street to avoid the broke monkey. They couldn’t see how sensitive other monkeys could be. They were looking at people’s cars, hair and money — kissing everyone else’s behinds. No one realized the broke monkey was rich too, in spirit. Sometimes a hard life can teach a lot of things. The broke monkey had a beautiful intellect. It would go out in disguise and help all the other monkeys as best it could, making sure everyone had a banana. The broke monkey was humble and would share love and affection sincerely, from its heart. It didn’t want a pat on the back. It had been through all of these other things and knew what it was like. Real richness comes from helping others and is not based on money. Then the flood came. The village was decimated and most of the other monkeys couldn’t even help themselves. A famine soon followed. It turned out the rich monkeys were the ones that were broke. They were too busy putting on airs and trying to be pretty. They really didn’t have anything. They all finally saw the broke monkey, really saw it, when they needed help But the broke monkey was very resourceful, and it cared for everyone. It gave what it had and found the rest. But most importantly, the broke monkey shared. It knew you couldn’t keep it at the end of life. It went around checking on everyone, bringing water and bananas. They all got through the flood and famine by following the broke monkey’s example and helping each other. And that came from its heart and soul. That’s why the broke monkey was really rich—everybody’s not like that.
Life BY CHAD JACKSON Artist/Vendor
We were born Did not ask to be here But we are still Others do not know The paths we have walked Or the miles we have traveled But we are all God’s children Like many people, I struggled Talking too much, doing too many things Moving too fast I had to find a common solution Love me, and everyone around Above all, love life You only get one And you have to love you, first.
Poverty is a struggle among men and women. It is like crabs in a barrel, everybody is stuck on getting over and ahead of the next person. Constructive criticism no longer exists. Everything is so inhumane. People are either nice because they want something or they ignore you because they don’t see what you can bring to the table. If you are weak, you will fall, because nobody is going to care about you. If you’re strong, you’ll be recognized and, sometimes, overcome others’ assumptions about you. We judge each other on sight, especially poor and homeless people. Nobody is out to help a person that can’t think past tomorrow or comprehend today’s systems of technical knowledge. I know time has changed and things are different. “Go online,” is often used as an excuse to be turned away from opportunities to get ahead and better ourselves. We can all survive and share this world God created for us. We’re all here together until the day of judgement. We can thrive together with each other by giving each other a chance to prove ourselves and the opportunity to succeed. Wake up people, homelessness is not the enemy. The hatred and criticism among each other is the enemy. It’s not the president of the United States. It’s us. We of the less fortunate and homeless people need help from the individuals that have succeeded in this USA. God only knows best.
Happy Father’s Day! Happy Father's Day
BY DERIAN DOUGLAS HICKMAN // Artist/Vendor
For many people, it is all too easy to have children. But it is hard to care for a child emotionally and financially. Good luck to all the fathers helping to raise great children. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
I remember my dad loved me BY FLEGETTE RIPPY // Artist/Vendor
Memories of my real father do not really exist. In fact, the first and only time I saw my Dad is when he was in prison (1986). I was 16. He was locked up for a crime he did not commit. I remember being really nervous and scared when I first met him. He was really excited to meet me. After that, my father wrote to me every other week, but to me the relationship was just a pipe dream. A fantasy, and one that never came true. Years later, in my 40s, my Dad tracked me down and we would have communication again. But we were both chasing a past that we could never get back. I took the love my dad had for me and realized it was all but forgotten. On my forty-fifth birthday, my Dad went out of his way to wish me a happy birthday. I am now 48 years old and my Dad has passed away. I miss him the most on Father's Day.
Our fathers’ duty BY REGINALD BLACK // Artist/Vendor
Where, in relation to nature, do our children stand? They need us as priests, as pastors against poverty. The collar of the clergy must minister, to preach and to be revered deliverers of the message of prosperity for our offspring. We are important figures, the founders of movements, the ones who give care and protection, the ones who are the oldest and most respected, Partners to women and ready to admit that we live in relation to our community Naturally, we must be the originator of justice and truth for our community. Our ancestors assigned us this task.
ILLUSTRATION BY PAT DONALDSON
To my most beautiful and beloved daughter, Samoya, How are you today? I hope you are happy to get this letter from your daddy. I hope you read it more than one time. Read it with your mother and show it to your teachers. I care about you and I love you very much. I want us to go out together. I want you to ask your teacher some questions, like, "How is glass made?" Or, "What is a telescope?" I want you to ask questions always and learn how to make things. I would like to buy you a pot, so you can put a seed in it and watch it grow into a plant and ask daddy, "How does that plant grow?" I would like to buy you a bird, so it can wake you up with its songs. You can call the bird Happy. I would like to buy you a fish tank, so you can ask your daddy, "How does it breathe in water?" The fish, I mean. I would like to go to church with you so we can ask Jesus to help us to be a happy family. I would like us to use a telescope to look at the stars
EVELYN NNAM Artist/Vendor
and you can ask daddy, "How do the stars stay in the sky without falling?" I will ask your mother to buy you a computer tablet. But you must not put pictures of yourself dancing on the computer. It is only for learning and music and school work. Do not be mad at me because my heart hurts every time I think of how much more I can do to show you I love you and I want you to be the best. If you have a clear conscience – buy always telling the truth – you will always be full of joy and happiness. I look forward to visiting gardens with you and showing the names of the different flowers and asking which one you like best and why. Till I see you again, work hard in school, be smarter and stronger than the boys, listen to your teachers and don't take candy from strangers. May the Lord, God, bless you and make you strong, wise, and healthy. Your loving father,
MOYO ONIBUJE // Artist/Vendor
Happy Farther’s Day
You feed me and need me To teach you to play So smile cause I love you On this Father's Day Fathers can be solitary mountains All their love rock-like, steep and strong through warm and caring Somehow, they belong, halfway home to mother's bubbling fountains Each of us needs love that knows no quarter Reminding us of bonds that cross a border Strengthening our sense of right and wrong Fathers need to choose to love for life And that embrace Held long and hard Best owes the grace each craves For all in time must lose, restored alone by memory So now it is with you and me Grandfathers are fathers who are grand Restoring the sense that our most precious things are those that do not change much over time No love of childhood is more sublime Demanding little, giving on demand Few more inclined than most to grant the wings Allowing us to reach enchanted lands Though grandfathers must serve as second fathers helping us with young and restless hearts Each has all true patience wisdom brings Remembering our passion more than others Soothing us with old and well-honed arts
My father, my life
BY LEONARD HYATER // Artist/Vendor
Dear Dad, I want to thank you for bringing me into this world and raising me to be the man that I am today. You provided care and love from day one, showing me the difference between right and wrong, and chastising me when necessary. However, there were times I didn’t understand why you did what you did. When I got older, I finally realized that you love me and you did not want me to go astray. I could be a knucklehead at times. Yet still you showed me love and care. We shared some good times together, like teaching ten-yearold me about the facts of life on my first date. And then one day you passed on. I’m glad I was able to tell you that I love you before that day came. Happy Father's Day, Dad. This poem is dedicated to my Farther that passed on May 9, 2018.
BY ALICE CARTER, A.K.A. “BABY ALICE” Artist/Vendor
ILLUSTRATION BY LATISHIA GRAHAM
What makes a father? BY LATISHIA GRAHAM // Artist/Vendor
A father is a man that takes good care of his family and my mother. My dad works at Walmart and gives me good opinions to talk about different stuff. So, my dad is a wonderful, loving and kind person. I love you Daddy. Happy Father's Day!
My eyes are still open My father died in prison Right before Christmas My life is nuts! I rarely ever sleep I pass our drunk I live a rough life. I put up with a lot I miss my father a lot Happy Father's Day May he rest in peace.
1 4 // ST REET SEN S E
FUN & GAMES
3 6 1 9 5 4 2 8 7 1 9 5 8 2 6 7 4 3 4 2 3 1 7 9 5 6 8 ME DI A / / JUNE 1 3 - 2 6 , 2018 8 7 6 4 3 5 9 1 2
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© 2014 KrazyDad.com
Fill in the blank squares so that each row, each column and each 3-by-3 block contain all of the digits 1 thru 9.
If you use logicFill you in can solve the puzzle without guesswork. SUDOKU: 9 4 5 7 1 3 8 2 6 the Needblank a little squares help? The hints page shows a logical order to solve the puzzle. so each the row, Usethat it to identify next square3you6 should Or use 1 solve. 4 7page 2 5 8 the9answers if you really get stuck. each column and 2 8 7 6 4 9 5 1 3 each 3-by-3 block contain all of the 4 1 3 8 2 5 7 6 9 digits 1-9.
LAST EDITION’S PUZZLE SOLUTION >>
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Sudoku #3 2 4 5 6 3 1 9 7 8 7 1 2Sudoku 3 8, Book 2 9 Intermediate 5 by8KrazyDad, 4 6Volume 8 6 3 4 7 9 5 1 2 6 1 4 8 2 3 7 5 9 3 5 8 7 9 6 1 2 4 7 9 2 1 4 5 8 3 6 1 3 6 5 8 4 2 9 7 5 8 7 9 6 2 3 4 1 4 2 9 3 1 7 6 8 5
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Not a Quick Study BY FREDERIC JOHN, A.K.A. “THE COWBOY POET” // Artist/Vendor
1 5 2 3
Sudoku #6 7 3 2 1 5 9 4 6 8 6 9 5 8 4 3 7 1 2 8 1 4 7 6 2 5 3 9 The Stanley Cup was displayed in several locations throughout the District while the teams were in7town 9 3 for 6games 8 three 4 and 5the playoffs. 1 four 2 of James Davis posed with it in Farragut Square. PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMES DAVIS 5 2 8 9 1 7 6 4 3 1 4 6 2 3 5 8 9 7 2 6 7 5 9 1 3 8 4 // Artist/Vendor 3BY 5JAMES 9 7 6 1 4DAVIS 2 8 4 8 9 3 7 6 2 5 1
Too strapped to straddle the owner’s box; As my lamented pal Tom The Fan did— Decked out in Weagle-covered full regalia! Oshie glided to his opening salvo In grey-suit-on-red like— Oh the brave “Calro” Great eight captured those Vegas Pugs into submission, While “Kozi” danced in His bold assist, in the grand Manner of the Funky Chicken! We’ll fly quick cleanup round In Sin City— Then back here in Dee Cee ‘All Caps’ are due to close ‘em Out so very pretty!
Stanley and Me
LOOK AT ME AND STANLEY STANDING IN THE PARK, LOOKING SO MANLY LIFE WOULD Sudoku #8 REALLY BE SO NICE IF WE COULD PUT YOU, AND MY BEER, ON ICE 6 9 YEARS, 7 1 I3BEEN 2 5HOPING 4 8 THAT WE MET FOR OVER TWENTY 1 YEAR 6 FORGET 9 2 5 I WON’T 4 8 7EVER THIS IS3ONE WIN OR LOSE, COME WHAT MAY 5 8 4 7 9 6 1 3 2 JUST HOPING THIS TIME, YOU’RE HERE TO STAY 7 5 9 6 2 3 8 1 4 NINETY-TWO PLUS EIGHT, THERE’S NO COLLUSION 4 LET 3 US 9 1HAVE 7 2ANY 5 CONFUSION 6 8 NOT SO PLEASE LOOK AT ME AND STANLEY 2 6 1 4 8 5 3 9 7 I HOPE ONE DAY WE COULD BE FAMILY! 9 7 3 (#ALLCAPS) 2 6 1 4 8 5
8 4 5 3 7 9 6 2 1 This poem was written June 6, the day before the Washington Capitals won 1 2the Vegas 6 8Glden 4 9 7 3 5 Knights. Game Five, 4-3, against
Artist/Vendor Patty Smith celebrates the Washington Capitals Stanley Cup win with a sign distributed by WMATA on June 12, ahead of the parade scheduled for that day. PHOTO BY ERIC FALQUERO
Author Gene Weingarten is a college dropout and a nationally syndicated humor columnist for The Washington Post. Author Dan Weingarten is a former college dropout and a current college student majoring in information technology. Many thanks to Gene Weingarten and The Washington Post Writers Group for allowing Street Sense to run Barney & Clyde.
SHELTER HOTLINE Línea directa de alojamiento
YOUTH HOTLINE Línea de juventud
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE Línea directa de violencia doméstica
Health Care Seguro
Legal Assistance Assistencia Legal
Case Management Coordinación de Servicios
Employment Assistance Assitencia con Empleo
All services listed are referral-free Academy of Hope Public Charter School 202-269-6623 // 2315 18th Place NE aohdc.org
Bread for the City 202-265-2400 (NW) // 561-8587 (SE) 1525 7th St., NW // 1640 Good Hope Rd., SE breadforthecity.org
Calvary Women’s Services // 202-678-2341 1217 Good Hope Rd., SE calvaryservices.org
Catholic Charities // 202-772-4300 catholiccharitiesdc.org/gethelp
Central Union Mission // 202-745-7118 65 Massachusetts Ave., NW missiondc.org
Charlie’s Place // 202-232-3066 1830 Connecticut Ave., NW charliesplacedc.org
Christ House // 202-328-1100 1717 Columbia Rd., NW christhouse.org
Father McKenna Center // 202-842-1112 19 Eye St., NW fathermckennacenter.org
Food and Friends // 202-269-2277 219 Riggs Rd., NE foodandfriends.org (home delivery for those suffering from HIV, cancer, etc)
Foundry Methodist Church // 202-332-4010 1500 16th St., NW ID (Friday 9am–12pm only) foundryumc.org/ministry-opportunities
Friendship Place // 202-364-1419 4713 Wisconsin Ave., NW friendshipplace.org
Georgetown Ministry Center // 202-338-8301 1041 Wisconsin Ave., NW georgetownministrycenter.org
Jobs Have Priority // 202-544-9128 425 2nd St., NW jobshavepriority.org
Loaves & Fishes // 202-232-0900 1525 Newton St., NW loavesandfishesdc.org
Church of the Pilgrims // 202-387-6612 2201 P St., NW food (1-1:30 on Sundays only) churchofthepilgrims.org/outreach
Martha’s Table // 202-328-6608 2114 14th St., NW marthastable.org
Community Family Life Services 202-347-0511 // 305 E St., NW cﬂsdc.org
Miriam’s Kitchen // 202-452-8926 2401 Virginia Ave., NW miriamskitchen.org
Community of Hope // 202-232-7356 communityofhopedc.org
Covenant House Washington 202-610-9600 // 2001 Mississippi Ave., SE covenanthousedc.org
D.C. Coalition for the Homeless 202-347-8870 // 1234 Massachusetts Ave., NW dccfh.org
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH HOTLINE Línea de salud del comportamiento
1-888-793-4357 Laundry Lavandería
Patricia Handy Place for Women 202-733-5378 // 810 5th St., NW
Samaritan Inns // 202-667-8831 2523 14th St., NW samaritaninns.org
Samaritan Ministry 202-722-2280 // 1516 Hamilton St., NW // 202-889-7702 // 1345 U St., SE samaritanministry.org
Sasha Bruce Youthwork // 202-675-9340 741 8th St., SE sashabruce.org
So Others Might Eat (SOME) // 202-797-8806 71 O St., NW some.org
St. Luke’s Mission Center // 202-333-4949 3655 Calvert St., NW stlukesmissioncenter.org
Thrive DC // 202-737-9311 1525 Newton St., NW thrivedc.org
Unity Health Care // 202-745-4300 3020 14th St., NW unityhealthcare.org
Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless 1200 U St., NW // 202-328-5500 legalclinic.org
The Welcome Table // 202-347-2635 1317 G St., NW epiphanydc.org/thewelcometable
My Sister’s Place // 202-529-5991 (24-hr hotline) mysistersplacedc.org
N Street Village // 202-939-2060 1333 N St., NW nstreetvillage.org
New York Avenue Shelter // 202-832-2359 1355-57 New York Ave., NE
Whitman-Walker Health 1701 14th St., NW // 202-745-7000 2301 MLK Jr. Ave., SE // 202-797-3567 whitman-walker.org
For further information and listings, visit our online service guide at StreetSenseMedia.org/service-guide
JOB BOARD Program Assistant Catholic Charities // 924 G St NW The Program Assistant oversees daily shelter activities; performs intake process and log entries; Provide a safe and orderly environment; and maintains cleanliness and safety of the facility. REQUIRED: High school diploma or GED, Six months experience in the human service or customer service field, preferably with persons who are homeless, willingness to be trained in computer skills. APPLY: tinyurl.com/catholicPA Housekeeper EMS // Burtonsville, Maryland Full-time // Responsible for the cleanliness and servicing of assigned areas. Care of cleaning equipment, effective expenditure of cleaning supplies. REQUIRED: High School Diploma or GED preferred APPLY: tinyurl.com/keeperjob Lunch Hour Aide Greenwood Elementary School 3336 Gold Mine Rd, Brookeville, MD Part-time // day shift Monitors student activities and behavior on the playground and during student lunch periods. Monitors class during testing or brief absence of teacher. REQUIRED: High School diploma or GED APPLY: https://tinyurl.com/lunchjob Front Desk Clerk St. Mary’s Court // 722 23rd St NW 2-3 days a week // Monitor building and who is in building at all times and report any unusual occurrences to the proper authorities and/or Community Manager. Follow community business, emergency and safety procedures. REQUIRED: Prior experience as a Front Desk Clerk or Adminstrative Assistant Education; Minimum High School Diploma/GED. APPLY: tinyurl.com/St-Mary-sclerk Receptionist CBRE // 750 9th St NW Provides administrative support to a department or office location. Provides support for reception and guest services, mail services, phone, meeting rooms and location services. REQUIRED: High School Diploma/GED. APPLY: tinyurl.com/deskjob1 Hiring? Send your job postings to editor@StreetSenseMedia.org
2018 ANNUAL AUDIENCE SURVEY! As a reader and customer, you are a crucial part of the Street Sense Media family. It is you who empowers our vendors economically, you who reads, watches and listens to their creative work and you who improves our local culture by being better-informed about homelessness and poverty. Needless to say, we value your feedback.
Please complete this survey online at StreetSenseMedia.org/survey or postmark your response by August 8, 2018, to 1317 G Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20005
1) If a Street Sense Media vendor referred you to this survey, please enter their name and/or vendor number so they can receive free newspapers. _____________________________________________________________________ 2) How long have you been supporting Street Sense Media? ___ ___ ___ ___
6) How do you interact with Street Sense Media online? Select all that apply.
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3) How often do you purchase the Street Sense newspaper? ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
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4) Where do you usually buy a Street Sense newspaper? (Use a neighborhood, landmark, or crossstreets) _____________________________
___ Other: _____________________ 7) How often do you visit our website, streetsensemedia.org? ___ ___ ___ ___
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5) Why do you purchase the newspaper? Select all that apply. ___ To support the vendor ﬁnancially ___ To support Street Sense as an organization ___ To read content by a speciﬁc vendor ___ For art and opinions from the homeless community ___ For news on homelessness and poverty ___ Other (please specify): ________________________________
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___ Yes ___ No ___ I didn’t know Street Sense Media needs donations 9) Street Sense Media holds events such as ﬁlm screenings, theatre productions and community forums about 12 times per year. How many do you attend? ___ ___ ___ ___
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JUNE 13 - 26, 2018 VOLUME 15 | ISSUE 16
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COVER: As living with HIV becomes more common, affordable housing doesn't. 16 people were mourned at a memorial service last month. ALSO: Pa...
Published on Jun 13, 2018
COVER: As living with HIV becomes more common, affordable housing doesn't. 16 people were mourned at a memorial service last month. ALSO: Pa...