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Volume 10: Issue 2 December 5 - 18 , 2012

Street

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Street Sense aims to serve as a vehicle for elevating voices and public debate on issues relating to poverty while also creating economic opportunities for people who are experiencing homelessness in our community.

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Capital Area Food Bank brings food to elderly residents.

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In loving memory of Tommy Bennett, vendor #3.

No Home for the Holidays. Vendor Gwynette Smith on The American Dream.

COVER ART

North American Street Newspaper Association

ADDRESS 1317 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 PHONE 202.347.2006 FAX 202.347.2166 E-MAIL info@streetsense.org WEB StreetSense.org

(Street Sense economics) Each vendor functions as a self-employed contractor for Street Sense. That means he or she re-invests in the organization with every purchase. Vendors purchase the paper for 35 cents/issue, which will then be sold to you for a suggested donation of $1.

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@streetsensedc /streetsensedc OUR STORY Street Sense began in August 2003 after Laura Thompson Osuri and Ted Henson approached the National Coalition for the Homeless on separate occasions with the idea to start a street paper in Washington, D.C. Through the work of dedicated volunteers, Street Sense published its first issue in November 2003. In 2005, Street Sense achieved 501 ( c ) 3 status as a nonprofit organization, formed a board of directors and hired a full-time executive director. Today, Street Sense is published every two weeks through the efforts of four salaried employees, more than 100 active vendors, and dozens of volunteers. Nearly 30,000 copies are in circulation each month.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Brian Carome EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mary Otto MANAGING EDITOR Eric Falquero VENDOR/VOLUNTEER MANAGER Allen Hoorn ADVERTISING/COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR Rebecca Stewart

VOLUNTEERS/WRITERS Jane Cave, Margaret Chapman, Brandon Caudill, Lilly Dymond, Ashley Edwards, Andrew Gena, Steve Gilberg, Jane Goforth, Roxanne Goldberg, Roberta Haber, Jesse Helfrich, Maurice King, Sean Lishansky, Victoria Hatterman O’Banion, Ashley Perkins, David Piper, Mark Rose, Willie Schatz, David Sellers, Kate Sheppard, Ernie Smith, Lilly Smith, Kelly Stellrecht, Brett Topping, Charlotte Tucker, Bryan Watkins, Marian Wiseman, Eugene Versluysen

PHOTO BY NICK MUTSCHLER ILLUSTRATION BY ERIC FALQUERO

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BOARD OF DIRECTORS Yebegashet Alemayehn, Margaret Chapman, Kristal Dekleer, Robin Heller, Heidi Keller, Sommer Mathis, Manas Mohapatra, Brad Scriber, Michael Stoops

INTERNS Joel Barnes, Sydney Franklin, Jeff Gray, Nick Mutschler, Lauren Poole, Claire Riesenberg

A customer browsing at Martha’s Outfitters.

A new issue comes out every two weeks, but you can stay connected to Street Sense every day!

International Network of Street Papers

1. Street Sense will be distributed for a voluntary donation of $1. I agree not to ask for more than a dollar or solicit donations for Street Sense by any other means. 2. I will only purchase the paper from Street Sense staff and will not sell papers to other vendors (outside of the office volunteers). 3. I agree to treat all others – customers, staff, other vendors – respectfully, and I will not “hard sell.” (threaten or pressure customers) 4. I agree to stay off private property when selling Street Sense. 5. I understand that I am not a legal employee of Street Sense but a contracted worker responsible for my own well–being and income.

6. I agree not to sell any additional goods or products when selling the paper. 7. I will not sell Street Sense under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 8. I agree to stay a block away from another vendor and respect the space of all vendors. 9. I understand that my badge is the property of Street Sense and will not deface it. I will present my badge when purchasing the papers and display my badge while selling papers. 10. I understand that Street Sense strives to produce a paper that covers homelessness and poverty issues while providing a source of income for the homeless. I will try to help in this effort and spread the word.

VENDORS Gladys Akins, Orin Andrus, Charles Armstrong Glenn Artis, Jake Ashford, Lawrence Autry, Daniel Ball, Alan Bates, Grady Baxter, Roberta Bear, Kenneth Belkovsky, Victoria Beaumont, Frosty Bibbee, Phillip Black, Reginald Black, Deana Black, Viktor Blokhine, Harmon Bracey, Debora Brantley, Andre Brinson, Kanon Brown, Reco Brown, Percy Carter, Sunny Chadwick, Conrad Cheek, Lea Ciochetti, Elena Cirpaci, Sarah Colin, Theresa Corbino, Anthony Crawford, Kwayera Dakari, Louise Davenport, Michael Davidson, James Davis, Charles Davis, Clifton Davis, Devon Dawkins, Chino Dean, David Denny, Janna Disraeli, Nema Dixon, Alvin Dixon-El, Charles Eatmon, Richard Embden, Pieus Ennels, Kristin Evald, Betty Everett, Joshua Faison, Patty Feris, Larry Garner, Anthony Gist-El, Marcus Green, Barron Hall, Dwight Harris, Dewayne Harrison, Lorrie Hayes, Patricia Henry, Shakaye Henry, Derian Hickman, Vennie Hill, Ibn Hipps, Jaamill Hipps, Anne Marie Holloway, Phillip Howard, James Hughes, Donald Johnson, Tavon Johnson, Mark Jones, Ryan Jones, Evanson Kamau, Tammy Karuza, Mike Leach, Ziang Lin, Anthony Lindsey, John Littlejohn, Michael Lyons, Kina Mathis, Authertimer Matthews, John Matthews, Charlie Mayfield, Marvin McFadden, Jermale McKnight, Jennifer McLaughlin, Jeffrey McNeil, Kenneth Middleton, Gary Minter, Anton Mitchell, L. Morrow, Jai Morton, Darryl Neal, Charles Nelson, James Nelson, Sammy Ngatiri, Evelyn Nnam, Amen O’Jango, Moyo Onibuje, Douglas Pangburn, Ebony Pannell, Earl Parkin, Franklin Payne, Aida Peery, Michael Pennycook, Lucifer Potter, Frank Pruden, Ash-Shaheed Rabbil, Clifford Ringwald, Anthony Robinson, Andrell Robsinson, Lawrence Rogers, Melania Scott, Chris Shaw, Veda Simpson, J. Simpson, Patty Smith, Gwynette Smith, Yvette Smith, Terron Solomon, Matt Southworth, Franklin Sterling, Warren Stevens, James Stewart, Billy Sullivan, Beverly Sutton, Sybil Taylor, Paul Taylor, Archie Thomas, Shernell Thomas, Victor Thompkins, Deborah Tibbs, Jacqueline Turner, Deborah Turner, Bada Umoja, Bertina Woodson


STREET SENSE December 5 - 18, 2012

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NEWS

After-School Haven for Needy Kids By Mark Rose Volunteer Kevin Tindle, who grew up in Ward 8, had his life threatened by neighborhood gang members at age 13 after he witnessed a serious crime. He became, in his words, ‘a recluse’ in his own community. Luckily, though, Tindle had friends looking out for him. A sponsor from the nonprofit Washington Tennis & Education Foundation financed his enrollment in a private boarding school in Maryland, enabling him to leave the troubling situation behind. ‘I might not have made it out of Southeast alive’ had it not been for WTEF and the sponsor, he said. Tindle, now 24, has come a long way since then. He graduated from Shippensberg University School of Pennsylvania, where he played football, and is now on track to graduate from the University of the District of Columbia Law School in a year. Since 1955, WTEF has been helping young people from Wards 5, 6, 7 and 8 reach academic and athletic milestones. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 17, the organization marked a milestone of its own: the long-awaited opening of a new tennis, education and community center in the heart of Ward 7. More than 350 children and their families were joined by city officials and other dignitaries to celebrate the opening of the $10.2 million, 50,000 square-foot facility, located just off East Capitol Street, close to where many of the children who benefit from WTEF programs live. The new center joins the WTEF’s well-established Northwest D.C. center, which opened in 1991. And with six indoor tennis courts, nine outdoor courts, a weight room, three classrooms, a computer room, a study room, staff offices and a community meeting room, the new East Capital Campus, which can accomodate 3,000 students, will allow WTEF to double the number of children its serves. WTEF’s programs are designed to offer some of the District’s poorest children one-on-one academic help from

The Washinton Tennis & Education Foundation celbrates the opening of a new tennis, education and community center with a ribbon-cutting event on Nov. 17. PHOTO BY BILL PETROS

D.C. public school teachers and tennis training and coaching from U.S. Tennis Association certified instructors, plus match, local and sometimes national tournament play. All instruction and coaching is free. No one is turned away, and there is a steady stream of new kids, organizers say. The new facility will be home to the foundation’s Center for Excellence, which prepares kids in grades 1-12 for college, as well as its Arthur Ashe Children’s Program, which goes into 24 elementary and middle schools in Northeast and Southeast and teaches academics, tennis and life skills. The new building will also house the foundation’s literacy program and a new pre-school program. “Our priority is to serve the underserved children of Washington, D.C.,” WTEF Executive Director Eleni Rossides said in an interview. “People don’t usually invest in underserved communities, but we do.”

Rossides and Program Director Willis Thomas have a long history of collaboration. Rossides grew up in D.C. and played tennis at Sidwell Friends School in upper Northwest. After being No. 1 in the nation as a player at Stanford University, she graduated and spent eight years on the women’s pro tour. She wanted to be coached by Thomas, her coach on the tour. She volunteered at WTEF, which at the time was Thomas’ program. “Watching what he could do with these children could be amazing,” she said. “Willis and his staff know how to handle these kids, motivate and discipline them, how to be tough and at the same time loving these kids.” The results show in the success of WTEF’s program graduates, who go on to succeed in college at a high rate. The program has found support from private donors and the District government. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said he sees

the center as an investment in the part of the city east of the Anacostia, which is often neglected. “Not only is this Center magnificent, but to see it east of the River is phenomenal,” he said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. D.C. Delegate Eleanor H. Norton called the new center not only “a gift to the city, but also to kids of Northeast and Southeast.” Rossides said the new center will do more than expand the reach of the WTEP program. “We feel strongly (it) will transform the community.” As for Tindle, he anticipates pursuing a career in public policy once he graduates law school. He says he owes his hopeful future to WTEF “This is a program that truly changed my life,” Tindle said. “I don’t know where I’d be without it.”


Thrifting Through the Holidays: It’s the Thought that Counts By Nick Mutschler Editorial Intern The holiday season can be tough on the pocketbook, especially in hard economic times. As a result, thrift shops, large and small are becoming increasingly popular alternatives to department stores. For many budget-conscious customers, they have become to retailers of choice. “I try to do all my shopping here. You can’t even begin to match the prices offered here,” said George Augustus Stallings, Jr., pastor of the Imani Temple African-American Catholic Congregation, and a frequent shopper at the Hyattsville Salvation Army store. “I know my business is going to a good cause, not just to huge corporations.” This year, around 18 percent of Americans will shop at a thrift store, a percentage that has been steadily rising. By comparison, 11.4 percent of Americans will shop in factory outlet malls, 19.6 percent will shop in apparel stores and 21.3 percent will shop in major department stores, according to America’s Research Group. The number of thrift stores has risen 7 percent over the past two years, according to The Association of Resale Professionals. This expansion prompted the National Retail Federation to recognize resale shops as a category in its industry statistics and surveys in 2009. Martha’s Outfitters in Northwest is a popular shopping destination for district residents. The shop offers clothing and housewares for free to neighbors in need. Plus, profits from sales support all of Martha’s Table’s food. clothing, afterschool and family support programs. “The holiday season is crazy for donations. Since Thanksgiving we have been overflowing donations. We rarely turn anything away,” says Gyasi Payton, manager of Martha’s Outfitters. “We also take referrals from various agencies, like Housing Opportunities Unlimited, to help supply clothing to residents in need. Last month we gave an outfit to a young woman for a job interview. She visited yesterday just to

Thrift shopping provides a budget-conscious alternative for District consumers during the holiday season. PHOTOS BY NICK MUTSCHLER

tell us that she got the job.” “We’ve been striving to thrive,” adds Michael Bartscherer, interim president of Martha’s Table and director of food and clothing programs. “While we still primarily focus on the clients we are here to serve, low-income families and those in need, we also have been attracting young professiossionals,

fashion-conscious folks, environmentally-conscious people and some who are just looking for a good deal.” And visiting a thrift shop can be an adventure, some shoppers say. “It’s sort of a treasure hunt for us,” says Janet Mathers, a Capitol Hill local, as she guides seven-year-old daughter Sophie around The Salvation Army on

H St. “Thrifting, like garage sales, are always more exciting than the big retail chains. You never know what you’re going to find. Last week we found an entire set of beautiful Christmas wreaths for less than six bucks.” The concept of thrifting has transformed its image of dimly lit stores with outdated clothing and junk to a trendy pastime where vintage-inspired styles are in fashion. The green movement also plays no small part in promoting the virtues of thrifting as an alternative to the modern throwaway culture. Thrifting is, afterall, a form of recycling, and even though that used shirt may have been manufactured overseas, the only carbon footprint associated with reusing it is the gas the donor may have used in getting to the shop. “I love thrifting around the holidays for decorations and Christmas ornaments,” says Wendy Turner, a longtime Salvation Army customer. “There’s no better feeling than going out with just a few dollars in your pocket and being shocked by how much is available.” Reused products also do not have the weight and waste of excessive packaging new products do. Each year, Goodwill alone prevents more than two billion pounds of goods from ending up in landfills. Officials at that nonprofit said that last year, 79 million people donate goods to sell in their stores across the country. The profits help support Goodwill’s job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges. The Salvation Army says its adult rehabilitation centers are completely funded from the proceeds of their stores. And a lot of the things for sale are pretty cool besides, shoppers say. “80s apparel is in,” says Katherine Voller from Southeast DC. “In all honesty, it’s hard and expensive to buy new products that are vintage look-alikes. It’s so easy and much more exciting to just buy secondhand.”


STREET SENSE December 5 - 18 , 2012

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NEWS

Pollution, Traffic Endanger Poor Neighborhoods By Joel Barnes Editorial Intern People living in poor communities often cope with more than their fair share of environmental hazards. At the first annual symposium on Environmental Justice and Environmental Health Disparities in Maryland and DC, held Dec.1 at the University of Maryland, College Park, panelists explored the tolls that pollution and traffic take on the poor. Washington, D.C. has an extensive road network with millions of vehicles including diesel trucks and buses that emit hazardous air pollutants. And minority communities are more likely to be located near the busiest roadways. There is a direct correlation between where a person lives and how much pollution he is exposed to, noted panelist Amir Sapkota, who holds a joint appointment at the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Living closer to roadways increases residents’ exposure to contaminants, meaning individuals living in the inner city are more likely to be affected by pollution. “In many of these inner city environments, this is where people hang out. That’s where a lot of the community socializes,” Sapkota said. “You have people living in very close proximity to the source.” Graphs and statistical data that illustrated his point: whites live further away from major roadways, compared to blacks and Hispanics. This is a trend that is common across the country, according to Sapkota. One D.C. neighborhood at the heart of a current debate over air quality and health disparities is Ivy City. Ivy City is a historically black lowincome community founded in 1872. Blacks settled Ivy City after emancipation and its residents have always been a civically engaged, according to panelist Parisa Norouzi, executive director of Empower DC, a grassroots organization focused on organizing community power and engagement. Early on in the city residents had to fight for things such as paved roads and street lights, and residents

Now they have taken on a new battle and one they see as related to environmental justice. In July of this year Ivy City residents filed a lawsuit against the city to block a plan to create a charter bus parking lot in the heart of the neighborhood, expected to attract scores of buses into the community on a daily basis. The lot, which would be located at the site of the historic Alexander Crummell School would be used by charter and school buses, department of public works fleet of vehicles, and other buses, the plaintiffs argue. They say the plan would not only interfere with community plans to transform the old school into a workforce development and recreation center, but would bring air pollution into their neighborhood. The fight of Ivy City residents for the health of their community is an important one, Norouzi said. “Our goal is that residents of Ivy City tenants are seen as a political force so that the mayor or the city council or whoever is making a decision will not only think about them when they make a decision but maybe even fear what would be the response if we do not take into account this group because this is a political force,” said Norouzi. There are many health outcomes associated with traffic related air pollution according to Kim Bullock, Director of Community Health at the Georgetown department of family medicine. Bullock sees a number of patients who have suffered from poor air quality in the region. There is strong evidence of asthma incidents related to exposure, according to Bullock. Poor air quality also contributes to increased levels of respiratory infections and circulatory problems, according to Bullock. People living in lower income neighborhoods in DC are facing these health difficulties, and communities of color have the disproportionate burden, according to Bullock. “If you don’t have walkable, livable communities, that affects health,” Bullock said. “Various wards are affected disproportionately,” she said. There is a heavy concentration of industry, fast food restaurants, liquor stores and a lack of health facilities,

and recreation centers for the people and the youth especially to congregate in the city. These factors all lead to poor health, according to Bullock. Bullock says that consistent and coordinated pressure from residents will change things. She encourages people to put pressure on local city council members to push for change. She also says that doctors need to join the fight to take on these problems and find solutions. “As physicians we need to be more politically engaged,” Bullock said.

The symposium invited representatives from various organizations that address environmental and health issues in the region, including members from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Sierra Club, among others. The event was open to the public and served as a forum for members of the community and officials to discuss issues related to environmental justice. Public health practitioners, policymakers, students, and environmental justice advocates attended.

Amir Sapkota, environmental health expert, illustrated that where a person lives is directly related to how much pollution they are exposed to. PHOTO BY JOEL BARNES

Brochures and posters are part of Ivy City residents’ environmental justice campaign. The residents are fighting a bus depot in their community. COURTESY OF EMPOWER DC.


Rolling Food Bank Delivers By Joel Barnes Editorial Intern

Elderly residents of Garfield Terrace look forward to the third Wednesday of every month. They line up in anticipation of a visit from Capital Area Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry. The pantry on wheels, with its load of potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbages, makes a big difference particularly in these hard times. “It helps the family out a lot,” says Garfield Terrace Resident Council President Lethia Summers. “With the recession, a lot of people can’t find jobs.” Neighbor Edward Harmon couldn’t agree more. “Anytime you can get free food it will help you out,” he says. “ You can make a lot of meals and save a lot of money.” A d d s Te r r a c e r e s i d e n t H o l l y Alleyne:“They’re doing a good job I would say. They give you plenty.” Darrick Munson helps distribute the food at the Terrace. It brings back memories of his great grandmother and grandmother who lived here. Now his mother lives at the Terrace and Munson understands the need. There are few grocery stores in the area, near Cardozo Senior High School. The pantry does a great service by providing access to fresh foods, Munson says. Addressing hunger among seniors has become a special focus of the work of

Site coordinator Annie Mitchell. PHOTO BY OMAR BARNES

the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB). According to the U.S. Census, 12.1 million senior citizens are at risk of or suffering from hunger by living at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty

level. In DC, as many as 40 percent of senior citizens are at risk of hunger, the CAFB estimates. Every year, the CAFB conducts a Thanksgiving campaign to provide seniors with bountiful Thanksgiving food bags. But hunger is a concern among all age groups these days, officials at the food bank say. The food bank and its network of partners have witnessed a 25 percent increase in the demand for food assistance since 2006, according to communications director Dylan Menguy. Menguy says that more and more people are relying on the CAFB, and it’s not just those experiencing poverty. Even many working class families are becoming increasingly stretched in these tough economic times. Menguy refers to this as the “new face of poverty.” Just five percent of the clients served by the CAFB are homeless, according to Menguy. “It’s a very wide range of folks. A small number of those folks are homeless,” Menguy said. “Many people are finding themselves in a situation where they need the services that the bank provides.” Based upon income levels. the food bank estimates that there are are over 680,000 people struggling with hunger in the area, according to Menguy. The food bank makes it a mission to reach those in need, collecting and distributing groceries to nearly half a million people. All told, the Capital Area Food Bank distributes 30 million pounds of food, including 15 million pounds of fresh produce. The CAFB serves over 2.1 million meals each month, and over 84,000 pounds of food is distributed through both warehouses daily, resulting in over 500,000 pounds distributed each week. Currently, 70 fresh produce drops are delivered each month to 40 sites in low-income neighborhoods. Food bank officials say that 92 cents of every $1 donated is used for food distribution, transportation and programs. To meet the growing need, in June the CAFB moved into a new 123,000 square foot Bedford Falls Foundation Food Distribution Center located at 4900 Puerto Rico Ave., NE. The new facility is over twice the size of the former warehouse on Taylor Street, NE, which means that the bank can distribute a higher quan-

Elderly residents recieve food donations from Capital Area Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry. PHOTOS BY OMAR BARNES

tity and quality of food. Part of the work that CAFB deals with involves getting healthy foods to people living in areas known as “food deserts, ” areas where supermarkets and grocery stores are scarce. Many poor residents in Wards 7 and 8 do not own cars and those who rely upon corner stores and gas stations often lack access to nutritious foods. A partnership with Clagett Farm, a working farm, owned and operated by

the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, helps provide fresh produce to these residents. Clagett Farm donates 40 to 50 percent of its yield to CAFB and CAFB then provides the produce, which consists mainly of organically grown vegetables to the people and families living in wards 7 and 8. CAFB does similar work in Prince Georges County. “We are helping them get closer to healthy foods,” Menguy said.


STREET SENSE December 5 - 18, 2012

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NEWS

Formerly Homeless College Student Honored

Founder of the Law Center Maria Foscarinis poses with Danae Vachata and Andy Beres at the 2012 McKinney-Vento Awards. PHOTOS COURTESY OF NLCHP

By Sydney Franklin Editorial Intern When recent college graduate Danae Vachata received a call from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty telling her she would be honored with the organization’s 2012 Personal Achievement Award, she was stunned. “The word achievement stuck out to me,” said Vachata. “I looked up the definition of achievement and it said ‘something achievable by pure talent or by great effort or by great courage.’ “Whatever I have accomplished took a lot of effort and a lot of courage, not an easy road by any means. My achievement and success is not defined by monetary rewards, but to me it’s the dreams I’ve been able to accomplish.” Vachata was honored at the 14th Annual McKinney-Vento Awards on Thursday, Nov. 15, held in a festive ballroom at the Renaissance Washington, DC hotel. She was recognized for her work as president and co-founder of the Bell Fund, a donor-advised, tax-exempt fund that helps give Louisiana homeless and poor youth access to college. After growing up in an abusive household, Vachata spent time in high school as an unaccompanied homeless youth before enrolling in college. With financial aid, she was able to live like a normal college student until her aid suddenly rescinded a year into school. Living out of her car, Vachata tried to keep her homelessness as secret, while working 70-hours per week and pursuing her dreams of becoming a pediatrician.

“When I first received the phone call that I was receiving the award, I remembered the day I decided to become homeless to pay for my tuition. I thought I’m not only going to become homeless for myself, but use this as an opportunity to help thousands of kids that don’t choose to be homeless that are forced to be homeless. I want to help increase the gap of education and help them get into college as well.” The Bell Fund recently became a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Through partnerships with colleges in Louisiana and organizations like Teach For America, Vachata hopes to give children experience in resume writing, applying for scholarships, job shadowing experience, mentorships and financial aid requests. Since graduating in 2011, Vachata has completed her MBA and is in the process of applying for medical school. Other honorees at the McKinney-Vento Awards included Food Network star and philanthropist Sandra Lee for her efforts to fight hunger and Rhode Island Senator John Tassoni for his service as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing and Municipal government. He was given the Bruce F. Vento award for sponsoring legislation establishing the first Homeless Bill of Rights in Rhode Island last July. Before Lee was honored with the Stewart B. McKinney Award, individual leaders of New York service organizations God’s Love We Deliver, City Meals on Wheels, The Bowery Mission and Share Our Strength spoke of her immediate response and assistance during Hurricane Sandy. Lee, however, downplayed her chari-

table work. “At the end of the day, our jobs are to serve, no matter how big or fancy our names, we are all shleppers,” said Lee. “I feel guilty being here because there are 300,000 families in the state I call home that are homeless.” Broadcast journalist and master of ceremonies for the evening Rebecca Cooper said Lee tried to cancel her appearance at the awards dinner. But Lee accepted the award because she knew first-hand what it meant to grow up hungry. “I have real empathy and compassion for the people we get to serve every day,” said Lee. Her semi-homemade concept of cooking with 70 percent store-bought ingredients and 30 percent fresh food has won her critical acclaim. She is also known for her work with Feeding America and is the national spokesperson for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign. The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, the Rhode Island Homeless

Advocacy Project, Covington & Burling LLP, a law firm, and Navigant, a consulting firm, were also recognized for efforts to assist the homeless. Twenty-five percent of funds raised at the event went directly to help children and youth made homeless by Hurricane Sandy have access to education and nutrition in New York City. “You know we have much more to do,” said Maria Foscarinis, founder and executive director of the Law Center. “But tonight we are pausing to recognize our victories.” Since 1989, the Law Center has worked to prevent and end homelessness through impact litigation, policy advocacy and public education. Its lawyers specialize in cases involving the recent shortage of affordable housing, insufficient income among clients and inadequate social services. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 was the first and only major federal legislation addressing homelessness. It now provides federal funds for the nation’s homeless shelter programs.

Keeping Up Effective January 2, 2013, the suggested donation for a copy of the newspaper will increase to $2.

Street Sense

Street Sense is a nonprofit organization. The suggested donation for a copy of the newspaper has not increased since 2003. Since then the cost of living for our vendors and our production expenses have increased dramatically. This change is intended to help Street Sense and our vendors catch up economically. Questions and comments may be directed to our Executive Director Brian Carome. brian@streetsense.org

Thank you for supporting our vendors!


The Mayor of Street Sense By James Davis Vendor Tommy Bennett started out at Street Sense as a no-nonsense, tough-talking and serious-minded vendor. In his early days at the organization, Tommy, like most vendors, was dealing with past issues that had derailed his life. It was not unusual for Tommy to get in other vendors’ faces and proceed to tough-talk if they had a disagreement. In those earlier years I kept a certain distance from vendors like him, who exhibited this behavior. As the years wore on, Tommy dealt with his demons and eventually found permanent supportive housing. My re-introduction to the new, gentler Tommy began when I was asked to be a part of the Vendor Advisory Team. It was there that I began to know Tommy as a soft-spoken and diplomatic gentleman. I guess this drastic change in his personality could be attributed to his new laid-back lifestyle. From then on, I had a nickname for Tommy. I called him “The Mayor of Street Sense.” Tommy will be missed by all who crossed his path.

Another Icon Has Fallen By Veda Simpson Vendor

PHOTO BY TRAVIS MCCAIN

Tommy Bennett was my hero and my friend. He was a Godfearing man who loved God and lived by the word. He was the backbone of Street Sense. He was one of the ones who started Street Sense. Street Sense was his life. He woke up thinking Street Sense, ate thinking of Street Sense, and went to bed thinking of Street Sense. The only other thing he loved more was the armed forces. He always spoke of how he served the country in the military. He was one who honored the red, white and blue. Tommy taught me everything I needed to know to be a good vendor. That is why I am one of Street Sense’s best vendors. Whenever I needed help, day or night, I knew I could call Tommy. He spoke just above a whisper and always walked at a slow pace. He had a big wide grin. You could always find him first thing in the morning, kicking it with his best friend Cornbread, the flower man. Tommy, I’m glad God called you home. At the end, you never showed the tremendous hurt and pain you were in. We will miss you but we know God only lent you to us for a little while. I know you are up there starting a homeless paper called Heaven Sense. Take care, my friend, until we meet again. Thank you for everything.


Tommy Bennett, vendor #3, was with Street Sense from our beginning. It was with great sorrow that we learned of his passing. Services were held in his honor on Saturday November 24.

STREET SENSE December 5 - 18 , 2012

TOMMY BENNETT TOMMY BENCLIPS FROM 2009 - 2012 ARCHIVES

92

MEMORIAL

CHILDREN’S ART: I AM

“I am kind, caring, and tall. Also, mature for my age. “

-S.B., Age 11 DC General Shelter

There are 1,880 children experiencing homelessness in the District. The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project visits 6 different transitional housing and emergency shelter programs to provide weekly activities, healthy snacks, and opportunities to play and learn to as many children as possible.

Courtesy of the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project


COMICS & GAMES

GLARPH THE POSTULATIN’ SHARK:

TERRON’S GAME:

By Chris Shaw “The Cowboy Poet”

By Terron Solomon Vendor

MEANWHILE, BACK IN CLEVELAND

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STREET SENSE December 5 - 18 , 2012

OPINION

Another Door Closes By Don Kahl Equal Rights Center, Executive Director Some in the nation’s capital are finding that they won’t be home for the holidays. The holiday season is supposed to be a time of opening our doors and providing comfort to those who need help the most. Instead, those seeking affordable housing find yet another door closed to them. It’s no secret to those living or working in the District that there is an appalling shortage of affordable housing for those who need it most. The District of Columbia Housing Authority’s (DCHA) recent announcement of plans to close its waiting list for affordable housing to new applicants

should silence any doubt that this problem has reached a crisis level. The supply of only 22,000 DCHA affordable housing units is dwarfed by the 66,000 eligible families already waiting on that list. As reported by Street Sense, the current wait for a four-bedroom apartment is about 10 years, and the wait for a studio apartment is estimated at a staggering 43 years. If these estimates are accurate, it appears that some people may apply for, wait for and die before they get an affordable apartment in our nation’s capital. For nearly a decade, the Equal Rights Center has fought discrimination against Housing Choice Voucher Holders (the largest program subsidizing affordable

housing in the District) and helped open more than 17,000 privately-owned apartments to voucher holders, yet the need is obviously so much greater. Each of us, all of us, who care about fair housing, civil rights or who just care about life in the District, have an obligation to raise our voices. We must encourage additional funding for affordable housing at all levels, support those housing developers who want to build more low-cost apartments, and we must ensure that those fortunate enough to actually get a housing voucher are able to use it, free from discrimination. While the closing of the affordable housing waiting list has been described by DCHA as a method of “managing expectations,” it should be a warning to us all instead to heighten expecta-

Socialism, or Compassion? By Jeffery McNeil Vendor Elections have consequences. With the fiscal cliff looming, a sobering reality has set in on the rich. The era of excess is over and a new era of Progressivism has begun. The wealthy plutocrats not only made their gamble but also doubled down that Americans would bet against themselves to support the same free market theories that destroyed the middle class. The president saw this bluff by the Republicans and raised the stakes by putting all social programs on the table. Both sides had made their bets. If the Republicans had won, they planned to cut or end every progressive policy of the twentieth century. Obama promised to preserve the social contract with the American people and also raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Thinking the president was weak, they made a billion dollar raise. Obama made a quick call and both got all their chips in the pot. Despite the Republicans confidence in their aces, Obama caught a flush on the river. I understand why some Republicans have been acting so upset since the election. Seeing your aces get cracked by a presumed weak hand is not uncommon. After the shock, you start to feel the

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sting. Then a wave of emotion follows: contempt, anger, fury, and even thoughts of violence. This is what is called steaming or tilt. Smoke comes out of both sides of your ears until you erupt. You start criticizing the player for playing such a bad hand. You blame the dealer or insinuate he cheated. Then you search for anything to justify why you lost. That’s what’s happening with the fiscal cliff. The president won a huge pot from his convincing election victory. Now, he is demanding Republicans pay up. In normal poker games, you should settle the bet and play the next hand. However the Republicans want to replay the hand they just lost. Of course, in this high stakes poker match, neither side played with their own money. They were fronted by people who wanted things in return for a victory. Republicans were financed by plutocrats and evangelicals who wanted less regulation, lower taxes and to overturn every civil rights law ever passed. Obama’s donors wanted lower taxes and the preservation of hallmarks of the New Deal and Great Society. But most importantly, they felt the rich should pay higher taxes. Now that Obama has won, the people want the Republicans to fork over the cash. Since I don’t gamble anymore, watching this poker match is exciting. I have a stake in what concessions will

be made. As a someone who is poor and currently on government assistance, I am curious what Obama will extract from the wealthy. I have nothing against wealth. Many who buy the paper, I presume, have more money than me. I have bought many powerball tickets with the dream of becoming wealthy. I don’t begrudge those who bust their butt to make a fortune. However I do resent what Franklin Roosevelt called “malefactors of great wealth,” people who amassed great fortunes by exploiting, plundering and bribing government officials with cash in order to get cozy tax relationships. I feel there is something immoral when I see pot-bellied men going to Mccormick & Schmick’s and women with full bags shopping at Bloomingdale’s. Those same people will walk over a guy sleeping on the sidewalk and judge him as a bum. It will be a betrayal to see another dime lowered in taxes to fill their purses. The role of government is to feed those who starve, heal those who are sick and comfort those with no shelter. We no longer can allow the rich to live it up and pass us the bill. The rich have survived throughout history with high taxes and still came out better than the masses. So I hope Obama focuses on how to get taxes from the wealthy and not consider cutting one dime from entitlements.

tions — we must expect that living in our nation’s capital can be for anyone, not just the lucky or the wealthy. This holiday season should be a time of joy and new beginnings, not a time to put those who need affordable housing out in the cold.

Being Grateful Phillip Black Vendor, “The Cat in the Hat” Each and every day in our lives, every second that we breathe, we have to be grateful. Living day to day, most times we take our lives for granted. But we can always find something to be grateful for. I’m grateful for overcoming homelessness. I’m very grateful for having my two children, Javonna and Rasheeda, back in my life, everyday. We get so caught up on things we can’t control, we forget about being grateful. Even though it’s getting really cold outside, I’m grateful that I can still sell my Street Sense papers. Most people I know hate their jobs. Just be grateful that you have a job. And if you really hate your job, just trade places with me. I’ll take your job, you sell the Street Sense papers. I’ll bet you’ll be grateful then. Be grateful that you can show love, and be most grateful that you can love yourself. Self-love is the best love we can have for ourselves. You can’t love anyone unless you love yourself. So be grateful … and remember, our problems will come and go. Just be happy and grateful that we can solve them. One of the greatest gifts and blessings we have is to be grateful.


The Street Sense Writers’ Group is led by two writing professionals and meets every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. The group’s goal is to develop ideas and colaborate on the next great issue of Street Sense.

Work and the American Dream By Gwynette Smith Vendor Many that are homeless and do not work--or work part-time or below their ability--are often compared to those who are not homeless but who only work at the subsistence level. In fairness, many that receive relatively low wages do not have the ability to receive higher pay. Job training programs and going back to school could be unrealistic because of physical, intellectual, age or location limitations. What about those who could improve their circumstances, though? A small amount of income, based on the

minimum wage, will probably provide shelter, clothing, and food. The food stamp and Medicaid programs can provide supplemental assistance for those who qualify. It might then be fair to suggest that to want to earn more, a person has to see value in more than just the essentials of life and maybe an occasional party. So, how does the American Dream become important? It is certainly possible to have a dog and a couple of kids, without being ambitious. I believe the desire to have more could come from job counseling and observing others. What makes a person work hard, put up with problems

Giving Thanks By Aida Peery Vendor I am sure some folks, because Lord I do, also take the advantage of waking up every morning to forget to say “Thank You Jesus, God, or my Universe of my understanding that I have another day to complete whatever I need to do today.” I need to thank my children-even though one is 18 years old in her first year of college and my son who is 21 years who finally made the decision to return back to college-to say to both of my children, “Thank you for giving me the wonderful memories of the funny and bad times while you were growing up and educating me in more ways than I can count during their early and high school years.” I want to give thanks to a wonderful man named Mr. Basnight, who pulled me out of shell that I have built for years and teaching me how to re-live life through Jesus Christ son of God. For years I would set it or literally plan out a vengeance against anyone that hurt me or my children. Since meeting Mr. Basnight I would discuss to him about how I was feeling that day. Which, I never discussed anything with anyone about what I was going to do, of course, within the law. The interesting thing is that my own mother used to tell me that I’m sometime very vengeful towards anyone that hurts me. I always thought she was so wrong about

on the job, and desire promotions? The answer, I believe, focuses on the person’s life outside the job. It’s the difference between hanging out on days off, and going to see an ice hockey game or basketball game. It’s the difference between going to the movies and the mall during vacations, and visiting foreign countries, or any place in the United States you want, even more than one time. It’s the difference between a studio home and a well-furnished spacious apartment. It’s the difference between helping people and perhaps exploring your horizons, or remaining stagnant. In most instances, the successful person has found something that improves

the quality of his or her life, and it necessitates more income to initiate and continue it. Many times, like traveling and the frequent flyer miles you get, there are benefits for developing an outside interest. You can have dreams for your children to go to college, and there are student loans, community colleges and part-time jobs for the child that can help him or her achieve those dreams. But to be really content and focused on a job, I believe that the worker is invested personally in a quality of life he or she wished to have.

A Dangerous Card me being vengeful. I called it justice because I never went jailed or prison for vengeance. But, I did notice during my life that I was missing plethora of opportunities/blessings in my life. I do believe that God speaks through other people to give them a message. It doesn’t matter how old that person is as long as they can speak to you and you understand exactly what they are saying to you. I proceeded to tell Mr. Basnight how this woman in the shelter was threatening me and trying to provoke me into an argument. So, I told Mr. Basnight I was going to court on Indiana Avenue and place an order against her for bullying me. Bullying is against the law. Mr. Basnight told me that I shouldn’t go to court because he said to me “Vengeance is not mine, but God’s vengeance”. That I needed to start praying for those kinds of people and to move on what God has planned for me on Earth. I might not know what God’s plan is for me at this moment. But, I do know I started a plan of God’s choosing by me going back to school in my late forties to finish with a graduate degree in my early 50s with abundance of student loans. So, I have to give thanks to people like Mr. Basnight and the wonderful people who have touched my life since I’ve become homeless and to always to Give thanks to God for waking me up this morning. To give me another day to start a new way of living.

By Morgan A. Jones Vendor The DC One Card is a digitally enhanced tracking card offered to the residents of Washington, D.C. I applied for it and got it in less than a week. Thinking nothing of it, I went to check on my email account. To my surprise, this card had tapped into my account. When you apply, you have to give an email address. I was mad because I didn’t know when I applied for it that this card would spy on me. The card functions as a joint library and Smarttrip card. It knows what books I check out of the library, if I’m late in returning them or not; it also knows which movies I check out. And it seems it can even read my email correspondence. The card is dangerous! I feel it’s an invasion of privacy. I found out about it by going to a job club meeting. I needed a Smarttrip card. One of the guys told me the city was giving out Smarttrip cards. The card also monitors your travel patterns. This is a thinking card. I was reading George Orwell’s “1984,” a fiction novel. Three lines come to mind: War is peace Freedom is slavery Ignorance is strength The first line: War is peace. I feel we are at war with technology.

We love it, we embrace it, we can’t get enough of it. Once the power goes out, we are in trouble. The peace is for right now. We control the technology but for how long? The second line: Freedom is slavery. We are free for right now. But maybe someday soon we will entrap ourselves in slavery to technology. We must take safeguards to make sure it doesn’t happen. The third line: Ignorance is strength. I feel we are in many ways blind to technology. This is the ignorance part. The strength is believing as a people we can adapt and grow and hopefully change the new society. If you would like to get more information on the DC One Card call 311 or go to www.dconecard.dc.gov.


STREET SENSE December 5 - 18 , 2012

163

NEWS

AIDS in DC

We Need Love

By Gary Minter Vendor

Barron Hall Vendor 126

Washington, D.C. has a higher AIDS diagnosis rate than any state in the nation. At a recent class on sexually-transmitted diseases at Thrive DC, some interesting and frightening facts about HIV/AIDS and other STDs were revealed. 1. HIV is most contagious in the first weeks of infection, when standard AIDS antibody tests are still negative. 2. Up to 50 percent of men carry HPV, Human Papilloma Virus, but most are unaware because symptoms are not obvi-

ous. These men infect their sex partners with HPV. Some types of the virus can cause cervical cancer in females. 3. Many adults are infected with strains of herpes viruses, some of which cause cold sores (HSV1) and fever blisters, some of which cause painful genital lesions (HSV2). The AIDS virus is most commonly transmitted through sex, including vaginal and anal sex. Oral sex can cause HIV infection but less frequently than vaginal or anal sex. Sharing drug needles is extremely contagious if one person in the group has HIV. Blood transfusions, organ transplants, and

Blvd of Broken Dreams By Victoria Beaumont, Vendor #438

receiving clotting factor for hemophilia are far less risky than during the 1970s and 1980s, when HIV became widespread in the gay male community and among prostitutes and drug addicts. However, there are still some cases of people being infected by organ transplants if the donor tested negative during the early stages of HIV infection, the “window period,” when the virus is most highly contagious. Mothers can transmit HIV to their babies, in utero, during childbirth, or by breastfeeding. Anti-AIDS drugs can lower the risk of transmission but not eliminate it.

Joy of the Season By Sybil Taylor, Vendor

Life is not what it seems. As I look into eyes, I walk the city and cry Walking down the blvd of broken dreams, Life is not what it seems Full of hope and dreams Young scarlets hoping for a fantasy life, No one knew of pain and shame Walking the Blvd of Broken Dreams Life is not what it seems. I came here to find stardom Now I just departed Life is not what it seems Now I’m just walking the Blvd of Broken Dreams

We have enjoyed the Indian Summer And nice warm weather, to catch up On all the things we didn’t do During the summer, Barbecuing, Traveling, enjoying walks, going to The parks, doing everything You couldn’t do during the hot weather. Then, turn of the season Winter is arriving; a time to pull Out those winter coats, jackets, sweaters gloves, scarves, boots, socks and thermos.

Start getting the fire place lit again. Turning on the furnace for heat. Toasting the marshmallows on an open fire. Taking brisk walks in the park. All the leaves Falling from the trees on a bright autumn day. Keeping warm and toasty. Little snow flurries now and then. We never know what to expect In the days to come. The big joy of surprise is in the weather. Enjoy the season and be happy.

My name is Barron Hall. I’m 64 years old and by the grace of God I’m not stupid. I’m glad I experienced the Vietnam War era and came out alive. It took a while to get over my problems, but by the grace of God I’m in my right mind. The War used to bring tears, but now I understand better why. We knew it was not for us to win in the first place. The US knew why they let things happen to us like it did. They got rid of the fathers and brainwashed the sons. The United States will never win another war with weapons of mass destruction. Until we have love at home there will be no love for us anywhere else. Until we treat the poor in America the same as the rich, we won’t have peace anywhere. All people came here for is what they can’t get at home. Unless we let God be our leader again, there’ll be no peace nowhere. We need to be one nation under God. Now it’s against the law to praise God in public. The pledge of allegiance is against the law. It’s time to praise God while we still have time before it becomes against the law to pray.

C=MB ON THE ENVIRONMENT: WITHOUT EARTH, WE’D ALL BE HOMELESS By Cynthia Mewborn Vendor, “C=MB” If you think we are not connected to trees, think again! Autumn is here. Once again we’ll witness the beauty of our North American trees. There are more than 700 varieties of trees in the U.S.A. In Washington, DC, two trees have been cultivated as symbols of peace in recognition of the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. One is a beautiful white pine bonsai tree that is 400 years old. The other is the cherry blossom trees, given to us by Japan, that grace us each spring with beautiful blooms and elegant beauty. These givers of life populate two-

thirds of the planet’s land mass. They provide sustainable and diverse resources. Homes, food, medicines, paper, fuel, oil, art, vehicles, bridges, furniture, instruments, rubber, cork, fibers, toys, paper, pencils, tools, and disinfects are among the many resources provided by trees. Trees are indispensable. According to the Field Guide of Trees of North America, “trees are plants and use photosynthesis from sun’s energy, splitting molecules of air and water in half then recombining atoms into complex carbon molecules thus giving off oxygen as a by product. Further, photosynthesis originated as bacteria more than two billion years ago, gradually oxygenated

into the atmosphere by large–one cell organisms ingesting photosynthesis bacteria given rise to plant and algae thus given the call ‘Tall Planets.’” They also provide soil stabilization, erosion control, water conservation, and protect us from floods and landslides. They are natural sponges. Trees are also part of the natural carbon cycle, but we have put too much CO2 into the atmosphere for the trees to absorb. They are being damaged by human emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and acid rain. CO2 is destabilizing the entire biosphere (plants, ocean marine biota and atmosphere), and with it all human life. Wildfires are also claiming thousands of

trees every year. There are many ways to protect our tall friends called trees. Education is key, but we also need to work on reforestation. We should make starting forest fires a federal offense, make recycling a federal law, and require construction companies to work around healthy trees instead of plowing them down simply because they were in the way. We have responsibility to protect trees not just locally but nationally and globally. It’s imperative that we do everything it takes to protect our tall friends called trees.


BEFORE THE RAIN, PART 11: OVERVIEW OF A BOBBLEHEAD TSUNAMI VILLAGE

Smile, part 2

By Chris Shaw The Cowboy Poet

By Ibn Hipps Vendor

From above, whether your eyeview was that of Georgie Bush Two, or a WWRL traffic pilot, NoLa was simply a sodden mess. As far as eye could see, Canal, Poydras, City Park and so many of the grand boulevards were immersed in a grayish brown bubbly muck some news folk might thoughtlessly refer to as "high water." Some landmarks rose prominently: the tower of Hibernia bank, the glass slab of Shell Oil, the sprawling uneven roofline of Morial Center; the grievous wounded Super Dome. Out upper Canal,Panteria Gaulinfat sat shotgun- literally-- on a rude bench out front of her HAIR-DRO-MAT Salon of Beauty. "Ah'www, you ain't got a thing to worry 'bout," cried Missy Braulx, a most esteemed customer. "Put that dang Raffle down or a'leas' pass it over t'my huzz'n! You know Poseidon!" Panteria dutifully let Poseidon Smith, Missy's common-law partner, shoulder the piece, as the two ladies squeezed through the tiny entrance flap, Missy going on and on how much she wanted off the sides and such. Blackish, brackish stuff lapped

In the Absence of Money By Dele Rejah Vendor In the absence of money, resources must be acquired regardless of the means. You find yourself doing things that all decent people untested by true misfortune would never do: steal, hustle and/or beg. Over time I comfortably learned to do all three, but the one discipline that burdens a person with ambivalence is theft. After months and months of arduous turmoil that ranged from living on the streets to hospitalizations, I find myself wild and hardened, but living “in doors” like other people in conventional society. In these more leisurely (non-criminal) days, I took the time to scour the internet for various views on theft, and that is when I discovered The Art of Shoplifting. It is an interesting document because it provides a clearly partisan, yet passionately honest consideration

at Smith's already rusted out cream Caddie brougham, parked half on the slab sidewalk. Three cases of vodka in plastic demijohns floated past. Much further downtown, another parade was in progress. Ferrive Morse, her tangled strands of darkish red own locks acting in lieu of pennons for a small band, maybe five rainbow-bandana-wearing and masked anarchist 'pirate boys' bemoaned her brand new fate. Her latest place of employment, the half-rotted Corinthian Bordello on Perdido was half-submerged and even the head madam, a Cyclopean woman named Beulah, had split. This palatial ruin, for the historyminded, had festered pretty much since 1898 when Admiral Telford Haycock(by then officially "tetched,") had been forced to hand the deed over to his Unity son, Thain! And, of course who was to know or care? As Ferrive and her loving anarchy band flung eggs, mud, and hunks of wet plaster at the first unsuspecting "Terror Tourists of Katrina" to wander into the danger zone, over at Morial Center Loomis Reader was engaged in a different warfare. He was sputtering, struggling under a lather of bitter regarding the act of shoplifting. It claimed that shoplifting is a simple act of self empowerment for the ordinarily powerless individual struggling through capitalist society. I was shocked to discover that the authors of this publication had been prosecuted under Australian Law for its very publication! I was even more shocked to discover that not only was the online document censorable and subject to Beijing-style oversight, because its content was said to be subversive and dangerous for the society, but even accessing the document and consuming its information was a serious offence in some parts of Western Australia. The case itself was thrown out under the jurisdiction of Sydneys laws. As a formerly homeless man in body, and still one in spirit, I can say that the information reminded me of the darker things one’s circumstances necessitate. After all, threatening a man with arrest and jail (where its warm and meals, healthcare, and a bed are available) is

de-lousing soap. "Pah!", he sputtered. I most recently had bed bugs, mayap they drownded, I dunno--" A mightily built orderly lifted Loom off his feet entirely. "Say, man. You ain't got nothin' coming." Loomis shoved back, upsetting the basin and its administrator. "Where's the girl?," he roared, clearly feeling a bit of fresh strength. "She's th'only one I"ll deal with here!" "Calling for me, Loomis," Lindsay Patterson gently broke in, all smiles despite the apparent carnage. "It's all right, Solomon," she continued, gesturing for all hands to lay out. "I'll consider how many sandwiches I have remaining, and then--" Lindsay rummaged through her plaid bag, miraculously free of mud, checking for home-mades. She decided to split her remaining overstuffed muffaletta between Solomon and Loomis. That should cool things down. "And I've at least three sets of Twinkies, fellas. How about it?" Loomis licked the corner of his sore mouth and considered this offer to be a push. He and Lindsay locked glances meaningfully. (To Be Continued) not punishment to the truly wretched. It’s a holiday promise. Discussing internet censorship and its possible implications across the globe is an important undertaking. Through my art, design and fashion studio, The Dopamine Clinic, I have endeavored to raise the question to light in our own special way. We have created a signature style, handmade photomontage “artbook” to celebrate this clever and brilliantly written manifesto in style. It invites anyone who is civic minded and curious about a very obvious aspect of moral philosophy to question the ethics of theft (not the methodology) espoused upon in the Art of Shoplifting. The book is also a gesture of solidarity with the persons prosecuted for posting their opinions, as well as those prosecuted for reading them.

Stolen time lost minutes hard to die off Faded visions, blurry sight continuing on a mission to win it Leaving lost what’s lost new insight on how to hold strong My life line, stray long falling stars I catch ‘em all For he who felt the strive don’t give up continue to ride For these believing smiles, pleasant faces congratulating, hand shaking and hugs There’s that rain to wash away the mud (I’ll be back!) like Arnold Swarzenager That’s all it takes, determination our time expiring failure is at it’s all time high of extinction A thousand mistakes I’ll fix ‘em all, never quitting under new contruction I smile cause of my faith in function won’t stop for nothing better something Eye’s do see like the touch of christ, new sight striving might I smile.

Dele Rajah added context to “The Art of Shoplifting” by pasting clippings that make up the full story throughout a custom artbook. | BOOK PAGES COURTESY OF DELE RAJAH


Service Spotlight: Teens Opposing Poverty By Joel Barnes, Editorial Intern David Williams spent over a decade on the streets of DC before becoming director of the DC Outreach of Teens Opposing Poverty (TOP). He says his past has enabled him to have a better understanding of those less fortunate. TOP is a nonprofit organization based in Berryville, Va. that has been leading youth groups on outreaches to the homeless in DC for more than 25 years. TOP provided Williams with food and clothing while he was homeless. Over time, Williams developed a special bond with Executive Director Steve Jennings, and Jennings offered him a job as the outreach coordinator. In 2011 TOP served approximately 11,500 meals to over 4,000 homeless and low-income people. TOP has also distributed backpacks, sleeping bags, toiletries, and other essential items, according to the organization’s press release. Jennings has observed that a sig-

DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH ACCESS HOTLINE 1-888-7WE HELP (1-888-793-4357)

SHELTER Calvary Women’s Services 110 Maryland Avenue, NE (202) 289-0596 (office) (202) 289-2111 (shelter) www.calvaryservices.org Central Union Mission (Men) 1350 R Street, NW (202) 745–7118, www.missiondc.org Open Door Shelter (Women) 425 2nd Street, NW (202) 393–1909 www.newhopeministriesdc.org/id3.html Community of Hope (Family) 1413 Girard Street, NW (202) 232–7356,www.communityofhopedc.org Covenant House Washington (Youth) 2001 Mississippi Avenue, SE (202) 610–9600, www.covenanthousedc.org John Young Center (Women) 119 D Street, NW (202) 639–8469, www.catholiccharitiesdc.org

nificant number of people TOP serves would benefit from the resources offered by service providers, but they don’t take advantage of them for a variety of reasons—some suffer with mental illness or discomfort with social situations, others have had bad experiences with outreach programs, and many just don’t like going somewhere new. TOP’s goal is to expand Williams’s hours so he can reach out to these people, Jennings said. TOP plans to provide transportation for them, and if necessary, Williams will go with them to a facility and walk them through the registration process. “I only want someone who has been on the streets to direct our DC outreach. [Williams’s] ‘street smarts’ are essential to maintaining order and safety in what can be a dynamic situation among homeless populations in DC. He maintains a level of awareness that people without that life experience may lack,” Jennings said.

My Sister’s Place PO Box 29596, Washington, DC 20017 (202) 529-5261 (office) (202) 529-5991 (24-hour hotline)

STREET SENSE December 5 - 18 , 2012

COMMUNITY SERVICES St. Stephens Parish Church 1525 Newton St, NW (202) 737–9311, www.thrivedc.org

Martha’s Table 2114 14th Street, NW (202) 328–6608, www.marthastable.org

Food and Friends 219 Riggs Road, NE (202) 269–2277, www.foodandfriends.org

Rachel’s Women’s Center 1222 11th Street, NW (202) 682–1005, www.ccdsd.org/howorwc.php

Miriam’s Kitchen 2401 Virginia Avenue, NW (202) 452–8089, www.miriamskitchen.org

Sasha Bruce Youthwork 741 8th Street, SE (202) 675–9340, www.sashabruce.org

The Welcome Table Church of the Epiphany 1317 G Street, NW (202) 347–2635, http://www.epiphanydc. org/ministry/welcometbl.htm

So Others Might Eat (SOME) 71 “O” Street, NW (202) 797–8806; www.some.org

MEDICAL RESOURCES

Academy of Hope GED Center 601 Edgewood Street, NE (202) 269-6623, www.aohdc.org

Christ House 1717 Columbia Road, NW (202) 328–1100, www.christhouse.org Unity Health Care, Inc. 3020 14th Street, NW (202) 745–4300,www.unityhealthcare.org Whitman–Walker Clinic 1407 S Street, NW (202) 797–3500, www.wwc.org

OUTREACH CENTERS N Street Village (Women) 1333 N Street, NW (202) 939–2060, www.nstreetvillage.org Samaritan Inns 2523 14th St., NW (202) 667 - 8831 http://www.samaritaninns.org/home/ New York Ave Shelter (Men 18+) 1355–57 New York Avenue, NE (202) 832–2359

FOOD

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Bread for the City 1525 Seventh Street, NW (202) 265–2400 1640 Good Hope Road, SE (202) 561–8587, www.breadforthecity.org Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place 4713 Wisconsin Avenue NW (202) 364–1419, www.cchfp.org Bethany Women’s Center 1333 N Street, NW (202) 939–2060, www.nstreetvillage.org

Charlie’s Place 1830 Connecticut Avenue, NW (202) 232–3066 www.stmargaretsdc.org/charliesplac

Father McKenna Center 19 Eye Street, NW (202) 842–1112

Church of the Pilgrims (Sundays only) 2201 P Street, NW (202) 387–6612, www.churchofthepilgrims.org

Friendship House 619 D Street, SE (202) 675–9050, www.friendshiphouse.net

Thrive DC Breakfast served Mon.-Fri., 9:30-11 a.m. Dinner for women and children, Mon.-Fri., 3-6 p.m.

Georgetown Ministry Center 1041 Wisconsin Avenue, NW (202) 338–8301 www.georgetownministrycenter.org

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Catholic Community Services 924 G Street, NW (202) 772–4300, www.ccs–dc.org D.C. Coalition for the Homeless 1234 Massachusetts Ave., NW (202) 347–8870, www.dccfh.org Community Family Life Services 305 E Street, NW (202) 347–0511, www.cflsdc.org Foundry Methodist Church 1500 16th Street, NW (202) 332–4010, www.foundryumc.org Gospel Rescue Ministries (Men) 810 5th Street, NW (202) 842–1731, www.grm.org Hermano Pedro Day Center 3211 Sacred Heart Way, NW (202) 332–2874 www.ccs–dc.org/find/services/ JHP, Inc. 425 2nd Street, NW (202) 544–9126, www.jobshavepriority.org Samaritan Ministry 1345 U Street, SE 1516 Hamilton Street, NW (202) 889–7702, www.samaritanministry.org

SHELTER HOTLINE: 1–800–535–7252


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VENDOR PROFILE: PHILLIP BLACK

LAST WORD:

A QUICK GLANCE AROUND FRANKLIN PARK By John “Mick” Matthews Vendor Some Sunday mornings, I swing by Franklin Park, which takes up an entire block off of 13th St and K St NW. Various churches and volunteer groups deliver food, clothes and hygiene items throughout the day to the poor and homeless who gather there. I personally don’t go there for the handouts anymore, although anyone who knows me knows I won’t turn down a free cup of coffee. I go there to check up on old friends and associates who still show up there every Sunday. I arrived there a couple weeks ago and noticed how some things have changed. The first thing I noticed was how many more people were in the park to be fed. That’s a sure sign that the homeless population in the District is rising, not falling. Whether this is due to the economy being worse than we think or more people are getting displaced by gentrification programs, I truly don’t know. Another thing I noticed was how many more of the recipients of the churches’ generosity were children. A

By Joel Barnes and Evi Mariani Editorial Interns

few years back, you may have a formerly homeless person who got off the streets come back to check up on people and socialize, bringing their kids along for a day in the park, but otherwise there weren’t many children. During my recent visit, I managed to count eight kids with just a quick turn of my head. This would seem to indicate that there are just that many poor and/or homeless families that rely on aid from these organizations. There was one more thing that stood out to me during my visit to the park. For the first time ever, I didn’t know a single person there, and I don’t think anyone there knew me. I pray that this means my friends are off the street and safe. What it really means is that, despite many individuals getting off the streets in the last few years thanks to some really good housing programs, the vicious cycles of poverty and homelessness are claiming more and more victims every day. In conclusion, it only takes a quick look around one of this city’s parks to see that the homeless epidemic in the District is getting worse as opposed to better.

Shernell Thomas - December 1 Beverly Sutton - December 2 Aida Peery - December 6 W December 5 - 18 , 2012 • Volume 10 • Issue 2

Street Sense 1317 G Street, NW

It was a couple of years ago on March 2, that Street Sense vendor Phillip Black first donned the jaunty red and white stovepipe hat. It was the birthday of Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel. And the hat, so famously worn by the storybook cat, seemed to suit Black just as well. “I put it on, and I liked it, and I started wearing it every day,” he said. Since then, the hat has become part of Black’s identity. Out on the street, when he is selling his papers, the sight of the hat makes his customers smile. “The Cat and the Hat,” has also becomes Black’s pen name, whenever he writes poems and stories for Street Sense. Black sells Street Sense for a living, but he is also a plumber. He went to school for plumbing and worked for a plumbing company for 10 years. But when got seriously ill, he lost his job and ended up homeless. His two daughters stayed with their mother while he got back on his feet. It was tough living on the street and not easy rebuilding his life. “But I’m a strong person, and Street Sense helped me so much,” said Black. “I believe in Street Sense.” He proudly shows pictures of his two daughters, Javonna, 15, and Rasheeda, 13. Now that he has a home again, a place out in Palmer Park his aunt turned over to him earlier this year, the girls are living with him again. Black says his daughters love to

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go to school. They love to read, do research online and go shopping. He tries to plan his days around their school schedules and other needs. “My main responsibility is to be a parent,” he says. “I want to be a good dad,” he said. When customers buy papers, Black divides the money he receives: left pocket for his daughters, right for his needs and for buying more papers. He has set up savings accounts for each of the girls. His plumbing skills are also a help. Some of his Street Sense customers know that he is a plumber, so sometimes he gets a call to do some plumbing work. “I still have all my tools; when I was homeless, my cousin kept all my tools,” he said. “Now I’m still involved with Street Sense, and I’m doing plumbing on the side. That way I can still spend time with my children.”

Happy Holidays to everyone at Street SenSe.

Thanks for all you do for our community!

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12.5.2012  

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