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Volume 8: Issue 26 November 9 - 22, 2011

Street

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Traveling Players Bring Theatre to Unexpected Places

Reachi Distric ng out to psychiat patien tric ts pgs 3, 6&7


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.

you fight poverty 4 Can with your old keys?

North American Street Newspaper Association

(Street Sense economics)

8 DC Occupiers getting to

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Saturday 11/12, followup on the Storytelling & Design for Good festival

13 Nina the Detective

makes a comeback in Ivory Wilson’s latest!

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@streetsensedc /streetsensedc OUR STORY 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.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mary Otto MANAGING EDITOR Eric Falquero

VOLUNTEERS/WRITERS Rhonda Brown, Jane Cave, Margaret Chapman, Tracie Ching, James Clarke, Nikki Conyers, Bobby Corrigan, Irene Costigan, Sara Dimmitt, Joe Duffy, Lilly Dymond, Ashley Edwards, Garrett Epps, Rachel Estabrook, Sarah Ficenec, Grace Flaherty, Andrew Gena, Steve Gilberg, Jane Goforth, Jonah Goodman, Roberta Haber, Cherilyn Hansen, Elia Herman, Melissa Hough, Adam Kampe, Maurice King, Trisha Knisely, Vicki Ann Lancaster, Elle Leech-Black, Lisa Leona, Sean Lishansky, Elsie Oldaker, Katinka Podmaniczky, Mike Plunkett, Willie Schatz, Kate Sheppard, Jesse Smith, Lilly Smith, Kelly Stellrecht, Mandy Toomey, Brett Topping, Charlotte Tucker, Marian Wiseman

PHOTO COURTESY OF WANDERING SOULS

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 Laura Thompson Osuri

INTERNS Mary Clare Fischer, Sarah Fleishman, Jill Frey, Sarah Hogue, Nicole M. Jones, Case Keltner, Randy Meza, Hannah Morgan, Anna Katharine Thomas, Hannah Traverse

Wandering Souls theater troupe shows their enthusiasm by posing as a cast of bears.

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VENDOR/VOLUNTEER MANAGER Allen Hoorn

COVER ART

A New Issue Comes Out Every Two Weeks, but You Can Stay Connected to Street Sense Every Day!

International Network of Street Papers

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 and wear my vest when 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.

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STREET SENSE November 9 - 22, 2011

3

NEWS IN BRIEF Members of dixon class-action Suit asked to comment on possible settlement In letters and legal notices such as the one printed on pages 6 and 7 of this issue of Street Sense, thousands of District residents who have received public psychiatric services over the years have been invited to comment upon a settlement agreement that could end decades of court oversight over the city’s mental health system. In September, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas F. Hogan gave preliminary approval to the settlement agreement that would end the longstanding class-action lawsuit now known as Dixon v Gray. The lawsuit was first filed in 1974 on behalf of William Dixon and other patients at Saint Elizabeths Hospital, who were seeking treatment options beyond those offered at the large public mental institution. The case was later expanded to cover all the District’s mentally ill residents. City officials have hailed the tentative settlement as evidence of the progress made by the District in improving its public mental health system. Today, they point out more than 98 percent of District residents who receive services from the public mental health

system are treated in community mental health clinics. The hospitalized population includes less than 300 patients. Hogan has set Dec. 31 as the deadline for public comment on the agreement. After reading comments, he will make a final ruling on the fairness of the settlement. -Mary Otto, Editor-in-Chief

Study finds rising number of homeless young veterans According to a recent joint study conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. is seeing a rise in the number of homeless Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans In 2010, there were about 13,000 veterans between the ages of 18 and 30 experiencing homelessness. While young ex-service members make up about five percent of the veteran population, they disproportionately comprise about nine percent of the homeless veteran population. The Department of Veterans Affairs blames the rise on the poor economy and the length of the wars in the Middle East which have necessitated deploying service members multiple times. With the wars winding down,

there is concern the problem could only get worse. The Army plans to cut its forces by about 50,000 in the next two years. - Taken from USAToday

Over 100 people removed from under New Orleans overpass On Oct. 27, the city of New Orleans forced about 115 homeless individuals to vacate their campsite under the Pontchartain Expressway. Eighty-five individuals were placed in temporary housing to await placement in permanent supportive housing, 20 were placed in local shelter, and 10 were given bus tickets to cities where they have friends and family. The area under the overpass is now closed off, barring people from camping there in the future. The Department of Sanitation is coming to remove mattresses, chairs and other items left behind by the squatters and to pressure wash the site. This year, New Orleans’s Mayor Mitch Landrieu created the Homeless Service Working Group to develop comprehensive solutions to the city’s homelessness issue. The group is made of representatives from New Orleans businesses, schools, philanthropies, jails and other

institutions. The ousting of the 115 individuals is part of the city’s plan to find clean, safe housing for all its citizens. - Taken from The Times-Picayune

Stopping food supply for homeless at Occupy Wall Street Volunteer chefs providing prepared, organic food for Occupy Wall Street protesers are frustrated by the number of “professional homeless” individuals posing as protesters to get free meals. The chefs have downgraded from serving elaborate treats to providing simple brown rice dishes. The volunteers hope that limiting the amount of food available will discourage “freeloaders.” While New York attempts to turn squatters away, other “Occupy” protests across the country have welcomed the homeless. In Atlanta, homeless individuals have contributed to maintaining the Occupy Atlanta campsite, while the protestors are working to save a local shelter from shutting down. Occupy Austin is pushing for affordable housing and the legalization of tent cities. - Taken from The Huffington Post


Boston-based Organization Unlocks New Funds for Local Food Pantries By Sarah Fleischman Editorial Intern In the past, there were few things more useless than a broken or old key that no longer could open a door. Then came Key for Hope, which is harnessing the power of obsolete keys to fight poverty. Instead of collecting monetary donations, Key for Hope runs key drives in schools and businesses. The old keys are melted down and sold as scrap metal. The money benefits local food pantries in the communities where the keys are collected. Founder Ralph Greenberg got the idea for Key for Hope traveling to remote and poverty-stricken parts of the world for his company, Technology Management Corp., which buys, sells and refurbishes laboratory and medical equipment. His work offered him the chance to think about unmet needs and waste in the world. What about old keys? He estimated that 400 million are thrown away each year. What if they were collected and

recycled and used for something good? He started Key for Hope in 2006, with the help of Bennett Resnick, a high school friend of his daughter’s. The first test run key drive was at their high school. After expanding to hold key drives in universities, elementary schools, hardware stores and Staples locations all over Boston, Key for Hope has recently branched out to Washington, D.C. because Resnik moved to the area. Georgetown University and American University have both held key drives. Now, Key for Hope has its first official Washington, D.C. drop off location at Frager’s Hardware at 1115 Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast. Since its founding, Key for Hope has collected more than 420,000 keys. This has translated into $16,000 worth of food donated to food pantries. “One key can help. One key can make a difference,” said Resnik. Resnik calls the organization a “recession proof” nonprofit. Many nonprof-

its have faced a decline in monetary donations. Key for Hope simply asks people to give something that is already worthless to them—an old key. “Everyone’s got an old key they could throw away,” Greenberg said. To raise one dollar, Key for Hope must collect 44 keys, depending on the state of the markets. “Giving that one dollar is more than that food pantry already had,” said Resnik. Greenberg said that if every student in the United States in first through twelfth grades donated one old key, $4.5 million worth of food could be donated. Each key drive chooses which food pantry receives the money from the keys. This way, the people can see the money directly benefit their community. In this way, Key for Hope isn’t just benefiting one large national organization. “We call ourselves the free world. There should be no hunger . . .with all the technology advances we’ve come to I don’t understand it. It shouldn’t be,”

said Greenberg. Frager’s Hardware makes around 250 keys each day. Now, there is a drop off location in the store where people can drop off their old keys. When an employee makes a mistake on a key, the faulty keys are donated to Key for Hope as well. “We’ve saved them for years and now we have a good use for them,” said Ed Copenhaven, owner of Frager’s Hardware. In the future, Greenberg and Resnik hope to get more Staples stores on board with a “One key, that was easy” philosophy to fit with the office supply store’s own slogan. Resnik says Key for Hope will always have a local focus. The money from the key drives will go to local organizations no matter how much Key for Hope expands. He wants the people running the key drives to see their food pantries filled. “We’re focusing on the smaller successes,” said Resnik.

NUMBER OF KEYS NEEDED OT MAKE ONE POUND OF SCRAP METAL

50 keys

NUMBER OF KEYS COLLECTED BY KEY FOR HOPE THIS YEAR

428,750 keys

1 million keys

NUMBER OF KEYS THROWN AWAY EACH YEAR

400 million keys


STREET SENSE November 9 - 22, 2011

One Night Stand for Homelessness

5

HOPE

By Anna Katharine Thomas Editorial Intern

I

f the homeless didn’t exist, we would have to invent them, according to Lionel Foster’s

tongue-and-cheek article, published in the Baltimore City Paper. Foster wrote the column, “Please Don’t End Homelessness,” to draw the public’s attention to The Journey Home, Baltimore’s 10-year-plan to end homelessness. The column not only raises awareness, but also challenges Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other public officials to spend at least one night under the stars. “Wouldn’t it be great to live in a city where the elected officials and just your common man on the street really felt like, ‘You know what? None of us is okay, until all of us is okay,” said Foster. On his website, OneNightStandforHomelessness.com, Foster urges the mayor’s constituents to sign up to join him and the mayor for the night, as well as send the mayor a letter encouraging her attendance at the event. “It is without question an indecent proposal,” Foster wrote, “asking the city’s highest representative to sleep outside, but it’s nothing compared to what some 3,000 people in Baltimore experience every day.” When writing the article, Foster said he wanted to be provocative and move his readers to anger or at least aggravation. While playing the devil’s advocate, he sadly found a bit of truth in what he said about homelessness serving important functions in society. “Perhaps part of the reason that we are not so disgusted that there are so many homeless people and we haven’t already done more is because in some sad and perverse way it already fits into the logic of how we live,” said Foster.

Foster believes, that though it should not be true, the homeless serve the purpose of making others feel good about themselves. The Journey Home began in 2008, and since then has been working to make homelessness in Baltimore “rare and brief.” The city’s point-in-time homeless count this year included a total of 4,088 homeless men, women and children living in the city. . “The 10 year plan is our blueprint,” said Kate Briddell, director of the city’s homeless services program. “However, it is not where all the work gets done.”

over the past three years has included leasing of 626 units for the Housing First program, and the opening of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center on July 5, 2011, which is a 24-hour housing and resource center that shelters 275 homeless men and women . The plan focuses on the four big issues of homelessness which are income, affordability of housing, health care and emergency services. While Foster agrees that the framework of the plan is “wonderful”, he wonders if it goes far enough. For this reason, he said he has joined in with all

- Kate Briddell Director of Baltimore Homeless Services

The plan is carried out by different agencies throughout the city that are working to complete the goals set in The Journey Home. In light of the economic challenges, many aspects of the plan simply cannot be accomplished, and are being rewritten, said Briddell. “The document itself wasn’t meant to be a bound book, but a binder that needs to be refreshed,” said Briddell. Some of the plan’s accomplishments

those who have been working to fight the issue over the years. “Within 24 hours [of publishing the article], I had either phone or email conversations with representatives from four different non-profit organizations that are already...doing this work,” said Foster. These conversations led Foster to student leaders at local colleges and universities who are planning a sleep out in front of City Hall on November 19. Originally Foster told the mayor to chose a date, but since joining forces

with the students, Foster decided to invite the mayor to accompany the group on the lawn. When OneNightStandforHomelessness.com launched, it received an immediate response. As of October 19, Foster had received 42 requests to join him on the streets. The article went live on October 12, and before Foster left work the next day he had received a written response from Briddell regarding ways he could collaborate with her department to raise awareness on the homelessness issue. “It was a very good response. A very positive response....she asked if we could sit down a little later this month and work that out,” said Foster. Though Foster has not received a response from the mayor affirming or denying his request for her to join him on the streets, he gave credit to the office for its quick response to the article. “That was impressive, and I imagine part of it was due to the fact that other constituents, and not just a columnist... felt deeply about that and were getting in touch with her,” said Foster. Foster and Briddell briefly discussed events to raise awareness, that would take place during the coming year. These events would culminate next November with a massive sleep out during the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week, according to Foster. “In my response so far, I have proof that there are a lot of people who really care about this issue, and it would be such a beautiful and wonderful statement for the highest elected official in the city to put herself almost in the shoes of our most vulnerable residents,” said Foster.


LEGAL NOTICE: William Dixon, et al - v - Vincent C. Gray, et al Why did you get this notice? 1. The purpose of this notice is to inform you about a proposed settlement in the Dixon lawsuit. The settlement may affect the rights of certain people in the District who use or need public mental health services. The settlement is not final. In order for the settlement to be final, the judge in this case, the Honorable Thomas Hogan, will hear from different people and decide if the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If this notice applies to you, you will have an opportunity to tell the judge what you think about the settlement before the judge decides whether to approve it. The rest of this notice explains the Dixon lawsuit, how to determine whether this lawsuit applies to you, the key terms of the proposed settlement, and how you can give the judge your opinion about the proposed settlement.

Does this notice apply to you? 2. This notice may apply to you if you are in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric residential treatment facility. This notice may also apply to you if you are a resident of the District of Columbia with a serious mental illness or serious emotional disturbance and you are receiving, want to receive, or are on a waiting list for mental health services and supports in the community.

What is this lawsuit about? 3. The Dixon lawsuit was brought in 1974 by a group of people who had serious mental illnesses and wanted to receive mental health services and supports in the community and not in a psychiatric hospital or institution. The people who brought the lawsuit, called the “named plaintiffs,” were William Dixon, Sarah Crenshaw, Oscar Holt, Robert Archibald, Willie Maw Rogers, Mary Wood, Lillian Saunders, and Betty Truitt. They filed the lawsuit on their behalf and on behalf of all other persons like them (“plaintiffs”). 4. The plaintiffs sued state and federal officials responsible for running Saint Elizabeths Hospital and responsible for the development of

community-based mental health services and supports for people who need them. The people who were sued are called “defendants.” Today, the defendants are the District of Columbia, including the Mayor and the Director of the Department of Mental Health. 5. In 1975, the judge who was assigned to this case decided that the named plaintiffs and their lawyers would fairly represent all people who want to live and receive mental health services and supports in a community setting, making this case a “class action.” Because this is a class action, the people to whom this notice applies are also called “class members.” The judge also ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and directed the defendants to create a community-based mental health system so that class members could receive mental health treatment and supports in the least restrictive setting. 6. From 1980 through 1997, the parties agreed to various plans to develop a community-based mental health system. The judge approved those agreements, which are called “Consent Decrees” and have the force of law. 7. From 1997 to 2002, the judge appointed a receiver and a transitional receiver to make sure that the plans were implemented. 8. In December of 2003, the judge approved the most recent agreement between the parties. The 2003 Consent Decree contains what are known as the “Exit Criteria.” The Exit Criteria measure the District’s performance in 19 different areas related to community-based mental health services that the District agreed to improve. According to the Consent Decree, if the District met the goals in these 19 Exit Criteria, the judge would dismiss the case and end court supervision. 9. Starting in 2003, an expert was approved by the Court to ensure that the defendants did what they agreed to do. This expert, called the Court Monitor, made regular reports to the judge about the defendants’ progress in meeting their obligations, and he worked with the defendants to achieve the goals in the Exit Criteria. 10. By July 2009, the defendants had

met the goals in 6 of the 19 Exit Criteria. 11. In September of 2009, the defendants filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss the case. The defendants made three primary arguments to support their motion: (1) that they had remedied the original violation of the law that plaintiffs complained of in 1974, and so it was no longer fair to require them to meet the remaining goals; (2) that they were very close to meeting many of the remaining goals (or that they were in “substantial compliance”); and (3) that children and youth were no longer class members and, so, the goals related to children/youth were no longer applicable. Plaintiffs’ lawyers opposed the motion, arguing that the defendants had not fulfilled their obligations under the Dixon Consent Decree. There has not been a hearing, and the judge has not decided the motion. 12. As of the Court Monitor’s report to the judge in July 2011, the defendants had completely met or came very close to meeting the goals of 15 of the 19 Exit Criteria. 13. Given the progress that the defendants made on meeting more of the goals in the Exit Criteria, the challenges to meeting the goals in the remaining four Exit Criteria, and the uncertainty of not knowing whether the judge would grant or deny the defendants’ motion, the parties decided to discuss whether there was a way to resolve the remaining issues without more litigation. 14. The plaintiffs and the defendants have written down their agreement in a document called the “Settlement Agreement.” Although, on September 12, 2011, the judge preliminarily approved the agreement, the settlement is NOT FINAL. The settlement will be final only after the judge approves it after holding a public hearing called a “fairness hearing.” Before the judge decides to approve it, you can tell the judge if you do not like any part of it and you can ask the judge to let you speak at the fairness hearing.

What are the key terms in the Settlement Agreement? 15. The Settlement Agreement requires

the defendants to take several steps designed to improve the provision of community-based mental health services and supports. The defendants have roughly two years to meet their obligations under the agreement. The key terms of the Agreement are:

Supported Housing •

The Department of Mental Health (“DMH”) will ensure that at least 300 new supported housing slots will be available to class members. Of those 300 new slots, at least 200 will be in the form of vouchers or subsidies for supported housing. DMH will also seek funding to build or renovate housing units that will be set aside for DMH use for the supported housing program. DMH will ensure that those who need supported housing are given the appropriate priority based on the most urgent needs. DMH will make a plan to learn about the need for supported housing and to learn about ways to obtain resources to meet that need. The plan will be written after obtaining the opinions and ideas of class members and their advocates.

Supported Employment •

DMH will require Core Service Agencies (“CSAs”) to follow a specific procedure to determine whether adults with serious mental illnesses need supported employment services. DMH will ensure that 60% of those who need supported employment services are actually referred to those services, and DMH will increase the provision of supported employment services by 10% in the first year and 15% in the second year.

Services to Children and Youth •

DMH will reduce the total number of bed days that children/youth spend in Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (“PRTFs”) 30% by September 30, 2013. DMH will also track and report important information about children/youth in PRTFs, such as: length of stay, reasons for discharge, community-based services after discharge, and outcomes.


[ Civil Action No. 1:74-cv-00285 (TFH) ] •

DMH will increase the provision of certain evidence-based and promising practices to children/youth over two years. DMH will increase the provision of Multi-Systemic Therapy and Functional Family Therapy by 20% in the first year and 20% in the second year. Multi-Systemic Therapy and Functional Family Therapy are evidence-based practices. DMH will increase the provision of High Fidelity Wraparound services, a promising practice, by 10% in the first year and 20% in the second year. These evidence-based and promising practices are ones that have been proven to be effective in the past to help children/youth and their families manage behavioral and mental health challenges and receive appropriate treatment in the community. DMH will continue to conduct Community Services Reviews (“CSRs”) for children/youth for two years, and will achieve an overall system performance score of 70%. DMH will also provide coaching and targeted interventions to providers in order to improve their practices and their CSR scores.

Continuity of Care •

DMH will ensure that at least 70% of children, youth, and adult consumers who are discharged from an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization receive a non-crisis service in a non-emergency setting no later than 7 days after discharge. DMH will ensure that at least 80% of children, youth, and adult consumers who are discharged from an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization receive a non-crisis service in a non-emergency setting no later than 30 days after discharge. DMH will ensure that CSAs follow certain performance guidelines designed to improve the follow–up mental health services provided to children, youth and adult consumers after discharge from an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.

Other Key Provisions •

The District will restore $3.5 million of the funds that were cut from the DMH Fiscal Year 2012 budget. The District will provide progress reports to class counsel every

three months during the twoyear term of the Agreement. The judge will retain jurisdiction over the case to decide any disputes about compliance with the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement contains more detail about each of these service-related commitments, and includes various enforcement provisions.

16. You may obtain a copy of the entire Settlement Agreement on the Department of Mental Health’s website at www.dmh.dc.gov. 17. Plaintiffs’ lawyers believe that this Agreement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and is in the best interest of the class because it substantially increases the resources for community-based mental health services and supports, and eliminates the possibility that the judge will grant the defendants’ motion to dismiss. 18. The lawyers for the plaintiff class are: Mark H. Lynch, Iris Y. González, and Christian J. Pistilli. They are lawyers at the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP. Class members do not pay any fees to these lawyers. If you have questions for the plaintiffs’ lawyers, you can write to them at: Dixon Settlement Inquiry Attention: Iris Y. González Covington & Burling LLP 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20004

Now that you know the key terms of the Settlement Agreement, what can you do next? 19. If you agree with the Settlement Agreement, you do not have to do anything. 20. If you disagree with any part of the Settlement Agreement and you want to tell the Judge, you have to do these things: • You must write a letter to the judge telling him what you do not like about the Settlement Agreement. Include your name, address, phone number, and signature in the letter. • On the first page of your letter write in large or underlined letters: “Civil Action No. 1:74-cv-00285: Objections to Settlement Agreement in Dixon v. Gray.”

Mail your letter to: The Honorable Thomas F. Hogan U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse 333 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001

You must also mail copies of your letter to the lawyers for the plaintiffs and defendants at the following addresses: Dixon Class Counsel Attn: Iris Y. González Covington & Burling LLP 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20004 Attorney General for the District of Columbia Attn: Grace Graham, Chief, Equity Section 441 Fourth Street, NW, 6th Floor South Washington, DC 20001

If you need help writing your objections, you may ask someone to object on your behalf. The representative must state in the objection that he or she is your representative and explain the nature of the representation and the name of the class member. If you have a guardian or you are under the age of 18, your parent, guardian or court-appointed representative may object on your behalf. The guardian must state in the objection that he or she is your representative, the details of the appointment by the probate court or relationship to you (if parent) and explain the nature of the representation and the name of the class member.

21. You must do all of this to be sure that the judge will read your letter. You must send your letter on or before December 31, 2011. 22. DO NOT CALL THE COURT. THE COURT WILL NOT ACCEPT PHONE CALLS ABOUT THIS. YOU MUST SUBMIT YOUR OBJECTIONS IN WRITING.

When and where will the judge decide whether to approve the Settlement Agreement? 23. A final fairness hearing will be held on February 16, 2012, at 10:00 AM before the Honorable Judge Thomas Hogan of the U. S. District Court

for the District of Columbia, at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse. The courthouse is located at 333 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20001. The hearing will be held in courtroom 25A. 24. At the final fairness hearing, the judge will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The judge will consider any objections that were made according to the procedures described above. Plaintiffs’ and defendants’ lawyers will be available to answer any questions that the judge may have. 25. You may speak at the hearing only if you sent your objections to the judge in writing. 26. If you would like to speak at the hearing, you must also request in writing the judge’s permission to speak. To do this, send a letter to the judge and send copies to the lawyers for plaintiffs and defendants with the following on the first page in large or underlined letters: “Civil Action No. 1:74-cv-00285: Notice of Intention to Appear at Final Fairness Hearing.” In the letter, you must include your name, address, notice of intention to appear, and signature. You must also include a statement indicating why you oppose the terms of the settlement and demonstrating that you are a Class Member. If your letter is sent on your behalf by your guardian or representative, the letter must include proof of the person’s status as your guardian or representative. Any request to appear at the Fairness Hearing should be made on or before December 31, 2011. 27. If the judge decides to approve the settlement, his decision is final and the lawsuit will end. The defendants will withdraw their motion to vacate and dismiss and class members will no longer be able to petition the courts for the same thing that they sued about in the Dixon lawsuit. 28. If the judge does not approve the settlement, the 2003 Decree will continue in effect and the judge will decide the defendants’ motion to vacate and dismiss. It is possible that, if this settlement is not approved, the judge will grant the defendants’ motion and dismiss the case. If this happens, the defendants will not have any obligations under the 2003 Consent Decree or any other Dixon court order.


OCCUPYING HOMELESSNESS

STREET SENSE November 9 - 22, 2011

PIC N’ POEMS

By Sarah Hogue & Anna Katharine Thomas Photojournalism Intern, Editorial Intern Some are camping in Freedom Plaza by choice, but others have been drawn there out of desperation. As the Occupy DC movement enters its second month, the relationship between the protest campers and local homeless people who have joined the encampment has continued to evolve. It was in early October that the Occupy DC protesters first arrived at Freedom Plaza; jobless college kids, middle-aged people who could clearly remember the 1960s and angry artists. They formed their encampment as a political statement. Since then, the Occupiers have begun to fuse with the city’s local population of homeless people, folks including Darlene Warren, who said she was already living outdoors when the Occupiers arrived. She did not start sleeping in the park to protest, but because she lost her apartment after falling behind on her rent. As the protest continued, increasing numbers of additional homeless people have been drawn to the Occupy compound. Food is served regularly, camping supplies and other necessities are available, and there is safety in numbers. “I didn’t feel secure where I was sleeping so I came over and mingled in with the people,” said Warren. “I feel safe there because they have what they call security walking around.” James DeVoe, a 51-year-old Occupier said that he is glad to provide help to his homeless fellows. But he wants them to join the movement. “If they’re homeless, we want them to join our community and contribute something to the community, to the cause,” said DeVoe. “I cannot give every homeless person a tent. But I will give a sleeping bag out, a tent out, warm clothing, if you could donate something.” Often, when a homeless person comes to DeVoe asking for a tent, he or she is reluctant to sign on to the movement’s larger goals. DeVoe finds that some of the homeless people who are asking for help have given up hope and see the movement as useless. Still, he tries to convince them to stay. “Be a part of this community because your voice counts too,” he tells them. “Everybody’s voice counts.” Warren said the Occupiers message has begun to ring true to her.

“I feel as though what they are doing is right,” said Warren, who said she has been thinking about the unfairness of the system since she became homeless. “Where I was staying I was paying straight-out rent, and every year my rent kept going up and I had been livfor SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) I couldn’t get it, but they said I could get social security income. When I got it, the landlord said, ‘Well I don’t want it. All I want if for you to vacate my premises.’” To the original Occupiers, stories such as Warren’s represent a powerful symbol of their movement which is calling for the reform of the social welfare system. “The homeless people are a symptom of our social system,” said Joe Poca, a digital media freelancer. He argues that the place of the homeless within the Occupy community makes sense and adds depth to the movement. He believes that people coming from all walks of life to join the cause can make a stronger whole, in spite of their differences. “I see it as being symbiotically ben-

within the Occupy movement who have an equal part in keeping the protest going as anyone else. “If they come in from another city and want to take part, or if they’re college students who are skipping class to come do this, or whether they usually sleep on the steps of a statue at night, you’re welcome to come in, so long as you help out...that’s really the only line we draw, but we draw it for everyone,” said Mace, speaking for Occupy DC Through Occupy DC, homeless people like DeVoe and others have found a place, though without a roof, that they can call a home. Though they don’t have jobs yet, they are getting prepared for a life after Occupy DC with the skills they glean from their responsibilities within Freedom Plaza. I t i s i m p o r t a n t , s a i d Po c a , n o t t o judge or treat the homeless differently. “They’re part of the 99 percent, so they have as much right to be here and express themselves regardless of any kind of handicap,” said Poca. “Just because you’re homeless, you haven’t lost your vote.”

all different dichatoms of society together,” said Poca. The encampment is supported by donations and generally, the homeless of the District aren’t able to donate as much to the Occupy cause as their voluntarily houseless counterparts. But they give back where and when they c a n , m e m b e r s o f t h e m o v e m e n t s a y. Poca and DeVoe have seen the homeless of Occupy do some of the chores and inventories for the camp in lieu of donations like money or supplies. “When they can [give back], they will,” said Kay Schaner, an Occupier who has oscillated between homelessness and having a home. But Schaner qualifies that with a warning; she thinks that anyone, homeless or not,who isn’t contributing, should be kicked out. “If they’re not productive, if they’re not looking for a job, if they’re not volhope, then I don’t know what will.” Benn Mace and his wife Kit LaCroix occupy on and off while living with their parents in Annandale, Va. They welcome and treasure the homeless people

Gravity means a lot to me, More perhaps since The concrete on my block, So shudderingly Rocked. ZZZ, zzz, SNURFLE!! Whoa! Snore no more-

Darlene Warren PHOTO BY ANNA KATHARINE

Then all these places that offer you assistance, it takes years and years and years and years, because you are put on a waiting

the right person or the right and helps you out. - Darlene Warren,

Homeless Camper

Temporarily house-less occupiers and the local homeless begin PHOTO BY SARAH HOGUE

By Veda Simpson Vendor The time has come for bad things to end The time has come for life to begin Lucifer, Lucifer you are the God of Evil, the God of Hate. We see you every day, on every side, you made men die. When the light shines on you, run and hide, God is waiting for you. Master of Hate, you are one and the same Master of Pain, you are the one who has to change Lucifer, Satan…the Devil is your name. Do you have time to get your armor ready? The time has come for bad things to end The time has come for life to begin. The time has come for the War of the Gods. God is just a title. It’s like calling somebody father, preacher. It is in the Bible. Jehovah, just to mention a few Some people call him Jesus, God too. Love, peace, eternal life is what I want. To anyone who knocks on your door There is only one God and he is true. One day the people of the world will know your great name You are the strong and the mighty. I hope to be with you

Not a bore, So I’ll toss the couch, Rise up from my prolonged Fat slouch. My chronology May have crossed its Bifurcation point, for me. St. Louis Redbirds, however Still have special value Come World Series time. In ’67, loved clipping my scrapbook Articles (during the conclusion, Of a winning game- or three!)

FOR VETERANS’ DAY:

Sunrise: a Poem? Or reminiscence? By James Fetherson Vendor Sunrise over the South China Sea, It’s about 0600 hours. It’s been a long hot night, The bugs were out and so was the enemy. Looking at the sunrise over that very blue sea, And the crystal blue water ends. It’s majestic, to say the least, looking now;

The War of the Gods. Love, Peace and Eternal life are what I want. God, you are the strong and the mighty. I hope to be with you

Just beyond the water. And of course behind the choppers is the beautiful sunrise.

God, Lucifer, Satan, the Devil have you had time to get your armor on? Lucifer, God of Evil, we see you every day The boil of the night, the blood starts running hot, Because it didn’t work, because you lie. We are going to talk about you Lucifer. You didn’t pay your rent! God you are the strong, the mighty and I hope to be with you

That was the sunrise I remember

9


OCCUPYING HOMELESSNESS

STREET SENSE November 9 - 22, 2011

PIC N’ POEMS

By Sarah Hogue & Anna Katharine Thomas Photojournalism Intern, Editorial Intern Some are camping in Freedom Plaza by choice, but others have been drawn there out of desperation. As the Occupy DC movement enters its second month, the relationship between the protest campers and local homeless people who have joined the encampment has continued to evolve. It was in early October that the Occupy DC protesters first arrived at Freedom Plaza; jobless college kids, middle-aged people who could clearly remember the 1960s and angry artists. They formed their encampment as a political statement. Since then, the Occupiers have begun to fuse with the city’s local population of homeless people, folks including Darlene Warren, who said she was already living outdoors when the Occupiers arrived. She did not start sleeping in the park to protest, but because she lost her apartment after falling behind on her rent. As the protest continued, increasing numbers of additional homeless people have been drawn to the Occupy compound. Food is served regularly, camping supplies and other necessities are available, and there is safety in numbers. “I didn’t feel secure where I was sleeping so I came over and mingled in with the people,” said Warren. “I feel safe there because they have what they call security walking around.” James DeVoe, a 51-year-old Occupier said that he is glad to provide help to his homeless fellows. But he wants them to join the movement. “If they’re homeless, we want them to join our community and contribute something to the community, to the cause,” said DeVoe. “I cannot give every homeless person a tent. But I will give a sleeping bag out, a tent out, warm clothing, if you could donate something.” Often, when a homeless person comes to DeVoe asking for a tent, he or she is reluctant to sign on to the movement’s larger goals. DeVoe finds that some of the homeless people who are asking for help have given up hope and see the movement as useless. Still, he tries to convince them to stay. “Be a part of this community because your voice counts too,” he tells them. “Everybody’s voice counts.” Warren said the Occupiers message has begun to ring true to her.

“I feel as though what they are doing is right,” said Warren, who said she has been thinking about the unfairness of the system since she became homeless. “Where I was staying I was paying straight-out rent, and every year my rent kept going up and I had been livfor SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) I couldn’t get it, but they said I could get social security income. When I got it, the landlord said, ‘Well I don’t want it. All I want if for you to vacate my premises.’” To the original Occupiers, stories such as Warren’s represent a powerful symbol of their movement which is calling for the reform of the social welfare system. “The homeless people are a symptom of our social system,” said Joe Poca, a digital media freelancer. He argues that the place of the homeless within the Occupy community makes sense and adds depth to the movement. He believes that people coming from all walks of life to join the cause can make a stronger whole, in spite of their differences. “I see it as being symbiotically ben-

within the Occupy movement who have an equal part in keeping the protest going as anyone else. “If they come in from another city and want to take part, or if they’re college students who are skipping class to come do this, or whether they usually sleep on the steps of a statue at night, you’re welcome to come in, so long as you help out...that’s really the only line we draw, but we draw it for everyone,” said Mace, speaking for Occupy DC Through Occupy DC, homeless people like DeVoe and others have found a place, though without a roof, that they can call a home. Though they don’t have jobs yet, they are getting prepared for a life after Occupy DC with the skills they glean from their responsibilities within Freedom Plaza. I t i s i m p o r t a n t , s a i d Po c a , n o t t o judge or treat the homeless differently. “They’re part of the 99 percent, so they have as much right to be here and express themselves regardless of any kind of handicap,” said Poca. “Just because you’re homeless, you haven’t lost your vote.”

all different dichatoms of society together,” said Poca. The encampment is supported by donations and generally, the homeless of the District aren’t able to donate as much to the Occupy cause as their voluntarily houseless counterparts. But they give back where and when they c a n , m e m b e r s o f t h e m o v e m e n t s a y. Poca and DeVoe have seen the homeless of Occupy do some of the chores and inventories for the camp in lieu of donations like money or supplies. “When they can [give back], they will,” said Kay Schaner, an Occupier who has oscillated between homelessness and having a home. But Schaner qualifies that with a warning; she thinks that anyone, homeless or not,who isn’t contributing, should be kicked out. “If they’re not productive, if they’re not looking for a job, if they’re not volhope, then I don’t know what will.” Benn Mace and his wife Kit LaCroix occupy on and off while living with their parents in Annandale, Va. They welcome and treasure the homeless people

Gravity means a lot to me, More perhaps since The concrete on my block, So shudderingly Rocked. ZZZ, zzz, SNURFLE!! Whoa! Snore no more-

Darlene Warren PHOTO BY ANNA KATHARINE

Then all these places that offer you assistance, it takes years and years and years and years, because you are put on a waiting

the right person or the right and helps you out. - Darlene Warren,

Homeless Camper

Temporarily house-less occupiers and the local homeless begin PHOTO BY SARAH HOGUE

By Veda Simpson Vendor The time has come for bad things to end The time has come for life to begin Lucifer, Lucifer you are the God of Evil, the God of Hate. We see you every day, on every side, you made men die. When the light shines on you, run and hide, God is waiting for you. Master of Hate, you are one and the same Master of Pain, you are the one who has to change Lucifer, Satan…the Devil is your name. Do you have time to get your armor ready? The time has come for bad things to end The time has come for life to begin. The time has come for the War of the Gods. God is just a title. It’s like calling somebody father, preacher. It is in the Bible. Jehovah, just to mention a few Some people call him Jesus, God too. Love, peace, eternal life is what I want. To anyone who knocks on your door There is only one God and he is true. One day the people of the world will know your great name You are the strong and the mighty. I hope to be with you

Not a bore, So I’ll toss the couch, Rise up from my prolonged Fat slouch. My chronology May have crossed its Bifurcation point, for me. St. Louis Redbirds, however Still have special value Come World Series time. In ’67, loved clipping my scrapbook Articles (during the conclusion, Of a winning game- or three!)

FOR VETERANS’ DAY:

Sunrise: a Poem? Or reminiscence? By James Fetherson Vendor Sunrise over the South China Sea, It’s about 0600 hours. It’s been a long hot night, The bugs were out and so was the enemy. Looking at the sunrise over that very blue sea, And the crystal blue water ends. It’s majestic, to say the least, looking now;

The War of the Gods. Love, Peace and Eternal life are what I want. God, you are the strong and the mighty. I hope to be with you

Just beyond the water. And of course behind the choppers is the beautiful sunrise.

God, Lucifer, Satan, the Devil have you had time to get your armor on? Lucifer, God of Evil, we see you every day The boil of the night, the blood starts running hot, Because it didn’t work, because you lie. We are going to talk about you Lucifer. You didn’t pay your rent! God you are the strong, the mighty and I hope to be with you

That was the sunrise I remember

9


Cover Story

Wandering Acting Troupe Finds Fellow Travelers at Saint Elizabeths Nicole M. Jones Editorial Intern For Wandering Souls, a drama troupe built upon the belief that the transformative power of art should be readily available to all, one good play has a way of leading to another. Last fall, the players brought free productions of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” to 15 homeless shelters, senior programs, and hospitals around the city. The players came away from Saint Elizabeths Hospital feeling a special bond with the city’s historic public psychiatric institution. So over the course of this past summer, Wandering Souls Andy Wassenich and Elissa Goetschius returned to the hospital. With the help of Saint Elizabeths staff, they led an intensive playwriting workshop with patients there. Out of their soul-searching and hard work came “Reflections: Plays From

Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital,” a production woven out of ten-minute meditations on themes of recovery, overcoming adversity, and hope. The short plays include “Depression” by Walter Logan, “Broken Promises” by Alane Patterson, “Help” by Walter Logan, “Help Me and My Friends” by Kevin McCain, “Hope” by Walter Logan, “Life Beyond Alcohol” by Lewis Ecker, and “Happiness” by Walter Logan. A central theme that binds the separate small plays is a deep sense of humanity and kindness, said Becky Peters, artistic director of “Reflections.” “In the plays themselves I was always struck every time I watched the show by the overwhelming desire to help someone else. The playwrights were told they could write about anything they wanted and they chose to try and help

Wandering Souls performs “Relfections” for patients at the DC Veterans’ Hospital. PHOTO COURTESY OF WANDERING SOULS

Wandering Souls’ thespians explain their props to children attending a Catholic Charities production. PHOTO COURTESY OF WANDERING SOULS

someone,” said Peters. “Here’s a group of folks who we might be inclined to think need the help - but that’s not how they see themselves. Instead they want to give as much as they can.” This was the third year that the Wandering Souls toured with free performances With each of their projects, they have hoped to open channels of communication and community. So after rehearsing “Reflections” at Saint Elizabeths and the Church of the Pilgrims, near Dupont Circle, the troupe, including Luke Cieslewicz, Lex Davis, Melissa Hmelnicky, Maya Jackson, Julie Roundtree and Akil Williams took their show on the road. On October 1, the show premiered at Saint Elizabeths and after performances at Bloombars, a nonprofit community space, and Church of the Pilgrims. At the last performance there October 30, the crowd was small but the laughter filled the church to its high ceilings. And once again, the Wandering Souls were living out their mission, shaped by convictions that the arts have the power to fuel the imagination, encourage personal growth and unite individuals and communities, and that the arts offer riches that should not be seen as luxuries, but freely available to all. “The play was mainly accessible to every and anyone, but mainly those

who have silenced stories,” said actress Maya Jackson. “We brought a different perspective, especially those considered fringe stories. “ Creating, producing and watching the play had a strong impact upon the people in care at the hospital said Wandering Souls co-founder and executive director J.J. Area. He said the hospital staff found that patients began connecting more after seeing their experiences mirrored in the production. “The project was very therapeutic for the playwrights,” said Area. “One woman began communicating more after the production of the play.”. And the production team reveled in watching their audiences react and reading different emotions. “I love watching the audiences connect with the work and hearing their immediate, visceral reactions and after the shows having this common experience as an immediate connector between us,” said Peters. “This gives us a wonderful jumping off point to get to know one another and eliminate that sometimes awkward thought of ‘what do we have in common’ with this person I just met.” Anyone interested in bringing Wandering Souls shows or classes to his or her community organization should contact Becky Peters directly at becky@wanderingsouls.org


STREET SENSE November 9 - 22, 2011

11

EDITORIALS

By Jeffery McNeil Vendor James Madison warned of the dangers of the factions and special interests that would subvert democracy in his Federalist Papers. He was no big fan of partisan politics in general, or of using money and power to influence elections. This same sentiment is often what spawns third party movements. Those movements are nothing new. They are as American as the flag waving on the flagpole outside the White House. There have been both good third-party movements, like the labor movement and the civil rights, and bad movements like the Tea Party and the Ku Klux Klan. But whether you sympathize or disagree with their cause, third parties can have an impact on society. The approval rating of Congress is at 9 percent, the Republican Party is to the right of planet Zoltron, and disappointment with Obama is pretty high. It is no accident that people are protesting in the streets. They are red-hot with anger at the establishment and its inability to understand the discontent of everyday Americans. That, combined with the callous attitudes of the super wealthy, has brought our country to the brink. When you go to an Occupy Wall Street rally and see the type of people who are out there protesting, it changes your mind about the Occupy movement. It includes laid-off workers, college students, the middle class, and people who are living in actual poverty. Many people that I talked to in the D.C. occupations feel that the game is rigged against them, both on Wall Street and on K Street. They feel like we live in an upside down system where those who steal get rewarded and those who have been robbed are punished. It astounds and baffles many that Wall Street executives sent the world economy into a tailspin and still walked away with millions (if not billions).

Meanwhile, a homeowner can miss one mortgage payment and get tossed out on the street. When Wall Street gets in a jam, they can go to that golden goose called Capitol Hill and ask for a handout courtesy of the American taxpayer. The protests show how upside down our country is right now. An Iraq war veteran protesting for a job gets knocked unconscious with a tear gas container by the Oakland police. But those who ran our country into a ditch got new Ferraris, and still have their million-dollar homes and meals at fancy restaurants, all paid for with taxpayer money. I spoke recently at the “Enough is Enough” rally here in DC. The people I met there were not left-wing revolutionaries by any means. They were regular old Republicans and Democrats. But they are becoming the new left—as in, those who have been “left out” of the what they were told was the American Dream. They are looking for moderate leaders who are willing to compromise and solve problems. They find it infuriating that not one Republican believes you should increase taxes on the rich, and no Democrats who are willing to talk about the need to reform elements of our government programs. They were not looking for a hand out. They were just asking their representatives in Congress to look out for them. They are sick of the bickering and partisanship in Washington, and they want solutions, not excuses. Average Americans keep getting poorer. We need a leader who has the cajones to tell his corporate buddies that the handouts are over. The time is ripe for a third party that is looking out for regular Americans.

By Frosty Bibbee Vendor I have been homeless for a short period of time, just three months. I’ve met some good people and some very strange people. I tried staying in a men’s shelter but I don’t deal well with a lot of people in a small enclosed area. Having to go through a metal detector, put my bags through an x-ray machine, and getting patted down by the special police just to get a hot meal and a place to sleep was not exactly working for me. So I started hanging out in one of the local parks and sleeping outside, where I am to this day. While there, I met a group of younger homeless people and a young lady. She adopted me as a grandfather type. She gave me a blanket and showed me a couple of places to crash for the night. Besides, I had always assumed there was safety in numbers. One place was a park when it wasn’t raining. Another was a building on the back steps that was covered and sheltered from the wind. This was great but the only drawback is being woken up between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. every day. By whom you may ask? None other than Homeland Security, yelling rudely for us to get up and get moving. They say it is for our own safety, so off we trudge, every morning, into the cold, windy, wet and not-so-safe streets of Washington, D.C. I’ve been mugged and had all my clothes stolen, yet I survived. The Army taught me well. Why didn’t I call the police? Not having a cell phone was the primary reason, and besides, why would they pay attention to a homeless veteran. I think all the homeless people living on the street should be given a cell phone with only 911 installed so we can call for help. Also, they could give each of us a Louisville Slugger baseball bat for our safety and security. Homeland Security doesn’t bother with the homeless. Because we don’t have a home!

all people are

Welcome

here

Join us in worship on Sundays at 9:30 am, 11:00 am, 5:30 pm Homeless Outreach Hospitality Fridays at 9:00 _____________________________

Foundry United Methodist Church A Reconciling Congregation th

1500 16 Street NW | Washington DC | 20036 202.332.4010 | foundryumc.@foundryumc.org

www.foundryumc.org


Nonfiction

Staying Clean By Vennie Hill Vendor

Have you ever been addicted to anything? You see, addiction is not just with drugs. It could be anything. But unfortunately, mine was drugs. This addiction took me through hell and back. I had been raped, molested, robbed, and almost killed. When I first realized I was strung out on drugs I tried my best to quit. I knew this drug wasn’t for me because of the way it made me feel. No matter how many times I said, “I quit,” I just couldn’t put it down. And I did a lot of trash to get it. I was on crack cocaine for about 17 years of my life. I quit but I will always be an addict. Every day I wake up and remind myself that I used to be a smoker and I am not one today. It’s one of the reasons why I smile so much and am as happy as can be. I’m blessed. I tried everything to quit that drug. At the beginning, no one ever told me. I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into. I used to travel alone at night by myself. That drug told me I would be OK. Just carry a weapon. So I tried that for a while, until I got tired of the knife cutting through every pair of pants I had. I had a friend that I used to get high with. One day I took the knife out of my pocket. She said, “If you need to carry that, you shouldn’t be out there.” So I stopped carrying it. She passed away from the virus, but not before introducing me to the right people to know and the right places to go. Because I knew no one. So after losing my job and having no money, I began to steal, not from everybody but from my mom. As if she wasn’t letting me live with her rent-free and bought my food, my shoes, my clothes (and also washed them). Today, out of everything I did, I wish I could change that. But as mothers do, they forgive and forget, and also still love with all their heart.

The first time smoking I was messing with this dude that I had known for over ten years. I knew exactly what he did and I decided to join him. My

some help. You know, sign myself into detox. But by that time I had a habit and I was depressed about the incident with my boyfriend.

mistake. He ended up robbing someone in my car, shooting and killing them. I remember one night, laying in the bed with him. And he said, “Whatever you do, don’t trick.” What an understatement. He received 65 years to life. I walked outside after his trial with the idea of going into detox. The first night I ever thought about helping myself was the first night I ever thought about tricking. It was a burgundy station wagon with tinted windows. I got inside. I proceeded to tell him I was trying to go get me

So he mentioned it and I agreed. He pulled into this dark parking lot and locked the doors. He pulled out a knife and began to rape me over and over again. We were in there so long that the windows became totally and completely fogged up. I tried to write “help” on them. I had never been so scared in my life. I was scared that he was going to kill me. He knew somehow that I wouldn’t tell on him, that I would blame myself. After he finished with me he dropped me off at DC General detox. He told me I was too pretty to be

out there and pulled off. I still held my head up and walked inside and enrolled in detox. I stayed for the entire seven days, cleaning out. I then went home and told my family half of the truth. That I was raped. I had nightmares but they eventually went away. But again, that drug wouldn’t let me stop. I had been threatened and raped and I still went back out. My first arrest was trying to get over on a white dude that I thought had money. In return, I got arrested for solicitation. First arrest. Not knowing no better, I didn’t return to court and I had a bench warrant out on me. In the course of my run with drugs I received about four of those, until I finally realized you have to go back to court or you will be caught and arrested and do time. The longest time I ever received was six months. But now I wouldn’t want to do one day. So anyway, about ten years passed by and I found out God could help. So every day I prayed to be clean. Every day for about seven years. In 2007 I finally was able to walk away from the drug. I moved in with my sister and got me a job and didn’t look back. After being two years clean I met my husband. After four months he proposed. I accepted. We were married on my birthday, July 4, 2009. All hell broke loose. Problems with the marriage, he lost his job, financial problems and problems at work. I broke down June of last year. I packed my bags and went back to doing something I was used to doing. It was very easy to do, slowly killing myself. By the end of June I was locked up again. But this time I took advantage of the programs that are out there and I paid attention. I believed, I listen, and I prayed. Today, I’m one year clean again and praying every day for the rest of my life to stay that way.


STREET SENSE November 9 - 22, 2011

13

FICTION

s k r a h S at

the Detective:

part 1

By Ivory Wilson Vendor

N

ina rolls down Lexington with her Ford 429 engine humming. Her car phone rings. It’s Captain Newton. “Where are you at this moment?” “I’m near the harbor, coming up on Lake Shore Drive,” she replies. “What’s up, Captain?” “I’ve got three dead at the warehouse on the dock.” “I’m almost there.” Nina drops the car into third gear, presses it and shifts back to fourth. She drives to the warehouse, pulls to the curb, gets out of her car and walks up to Officer Dennis, who is standing by the door. “Are you the first officer on the scene?” she asks. “Yes, Detective,” he replies. “It looks like a deal gone really bad. There’s one over here, lying on the dock, and two more dead beside the warehouse.” Nina surveys the scene and sees empty bullet casings scattered all over the ground. “You need to block off this area,” she tells Officer Dennis, “and see that no one enters the area without a badge.” Nina walks to the first body, turns it over and sees that he has been shot in the face. She opens his coat pocket and removes his wallet. The driver’s license says Gillton Lucker. Nina moves to the two other dead men, who are riddled with bullets. She opens their coats, removes their wallets and looks at their IDs. One reads Ben Austin; the other, Charles Johnson. There is still money in the wallets, and all three carry business cards that identify them as owners of Sharks Nightclub. Nina knows that

Sharks is a serious Irish gangster hangout, and she quickly realizes that this was not a deal gone bad. It has all the signs of a serious takeover move. Nina returns to her car and heads to Sharks Nightclub. At Sharks, she looks through the window and sees the bartender behind the bar, cleaning up. She opens the door and walks to the bar. “What’s your drink, pretty lady?” the bartender asks. Nina smiles, pulls out her badge and says, “What’s your name?” “Mitchell.” “When was the last time you saw the owners of this place, Mitchell?” “They were here just before closing last night, talking together, and then they left.” “Did any of them say anything to you before leaving?” Mitchell seems a little nervous, but he shakes his head no. Nina thanks him and walks out. Remembering the pictures of a family in Ben Austin’s wallet, Nina uses her computer at the office to get Austin’s address, drives to his house and knocks on the door. When the door opens, Nina announces, “Ms. Austin, it’s the police. May I come in, please?” Ms. Austin says, “Of course. But where is Ben? Is he in trouble?” “No, Ms. Austin,” Nina says slowly. “Unfortunately, your husband was found shot to death this morning on the dock near the warehouse.” Ms. Austin retreats to the nearest chair, tears welling in her eyes, muttering, “I’ve been telling Ben to get out of that nightclub business.” When Nina

asks her why, Ms. Austin replies, “Charlie and Gillton have been dealing with some Irish gangster, but I don’t know his name. You’ll have to ask Charlie or Gillton. They’ll know.” Now it’s Nina’s turn to explain: “Charlie and Gillton were also found dead, not far from your husband. I’m sorry for your loss.” Handing Ms. Austin her business card, Nina asks her to call if she can remember the gangster’s name. It’s dark, and Nina wonders who would be running Sharks. She drives back to the club, parks across the street and sits watching the front door, deciding what to do next. Two local hoods whom Nina busted a few years ago for cashing bad checks appear to be guarding the door and checking IDs of people entering the club. After making sure that her Colt, the one she calls Harry, is loaded, Nina walks across the street to the club. At the door, one man tells his partner, “Look at this broad packing a piece. Who does she think she is, Dirty Sally?” As he starts to laugh at his joke, Nina cocks Harry and aims a few inches south of the man’s navel. “What’s my name?” she asks. Detecting no smile on Nina’s face, the man answers, “You’re Detective Nina, and I’m sorry to have bothered you.” Nina holsters Harry, thanks the man and enters the club to a typical scene of talking, drinking and dancing. Nina walks to the bar and, out of the corner of her eye, sees the two men from outside heading to the back corner of the club. Turning to see where they were

going, Nina sees two unfamiliar Irish gangsters dressed in suits, sitting at the back corner table. Seeing this dance, Mitchell approaches and says, “Lady, I hope you got backup.” Nina opens her coat, showing Mitchell the butt of Harry, and asks, “So, who’s the new owner of the club?” Before Mitchell can answer, one of the suited men from the back table walks up and says, “Detective Nina of Homicide. What can I do for you, detective?” Mitchell retreats to his work at the other end of the bar, and Nina smiles. “You can tell me how you got this club,” she says. “You can tell me here, or you can tell me downtown.” The gangster peers at Nina, his face tightening. “I paid for it. I have all the legal paperwork and all the correct signatures. Everything is back in the office.” When Nina asks to see the paperwork, the gangster asks her to follow him. As they’re walking, Nina asks, “Where were you last night when Charlie and Gillton were murdered?” “I was right here. All night.” In the office, he hands Nina all the papers. She looks through them, noting that everything seems to be in order. She returns the paperwork, starts to leave, then turns to the gangster. “Don’t leave town,” Nina warns.

To be continued...


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Our vendors will see you at school!

By Anna Katharine Thomas Editorial Intern Tommy Bennett’s life has followed a challenging course, from high-school athlete to soldier in Vietnam, to troubled war veteran to drug counselor. Along the way he has also become a devout Washington Redskins fan, active Narcotics Anonymous (NA) member and successful Street Sense vendor. And he is still growing. After the death of his mother, Bennett said he gave up on life. He had a good job, but he decided he did not need to work anymore and lost his apartment. “The first day I became homeless, in 2nd and D, the shelter...I had to get used to being homeless, cause you know being around a lot of people, all types of people...at first I was uncomfortable, then I got complacent.” This attitude helped plunge Bennett into addiction. “I got busted...what woke me up was I was in jail,” said Bennett. It was while he was incarcerated that Bennett was introduced to NA and Alcoholics Anonymous, twelve-step programs that help addicts to confront the substances that control them. Attending the meetings helped shorten Bennett’s time behind bars. But meetings alone could not change his mindset. He realized he had to do that himself. After his release from jail, he was put into a voluntary treatment center. “The first day I went there, the dude told me, ‘Hey you know what? I am going to tell you something good...they got the door right there man. You can leave anytime you get ready.” Bennett recalled. “But I know if I would have left that place I would have gone back to jail.” A motto that Bennett relied upon during those days helped him stay on track. It went: “Nobody does nothing to me. I do it to myself.” His role with the rehabilitation program deepened. He entered training to be a junior drug counselor to help other people with the struggles he knew so well.

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Bennett moved to an aftercare drug rehabilitation program and became a junior drug counselor. He said he felt that with the program’s help, he was removing a false image or mask he had been hiding behind. It was then that Bennett realized he could not be in charge of helping others until he was more fully invested in himself. As his sponsor in recovery told him, “You do what you do, you get what you get.” At about the same time Bennett started to focus on taking charge of his life, he found Street Sense. He found he was good at selling the newspaper and advocating for the homeless. He even was named top vendor three months in a row. His key to success, he said is prayer. He lets the Lord carry him through the day. “If I pray in the morning and give it to God,” he said, “I don’t worry about it no more.” He carries this positive attitude with him when he sells his newspapers, usually near the intersection of G and 14th streets. “I like going out and selling this paper,” said Bennett. In addition to selling Street Sense, he is going to school now through the Literacy Volunteer Advocates working to get his GED and wants to become a full time drug counselor. He wants to help others come back to their lives like he has come back to his. “Everybody is somebody,” said Bennett. “I’m Tommy, that’s who I am.”

George Washington University Marvin Center 3rd Floor Amphitheater Monday, November 14 7:30 p.m. Georgetown University Leavey Center Uncommon Grounds Coffee Tuesday, November 15 8:00 p.m.


Service Spotlight: Bread for the City By Jill Frey Editorial Intern Bread for the City (BFC) seeks to aid the vulnerable throughout Washington, D.C. by providing numerous services such as food, clothing, medical care, legal and social services. At BFC, clients, volunteers and staff all work together to better improve humanity and all that individuals are responsible for. BFC envisions the district as a “nurturing community where all residents have access to the basic material resources they need for survival and growth, and the prosperity of their social, emotional, and spiritual lives.” BFC offers not only services to better their clients but a community in which their clients can live and grow. Originally BFC consisted of two separate organizations. The Zacchaeus Free Clinic, a volunteer-run medical clinic, founded in 1974, merged with the original Bread for the City,

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

which was a church coalition to feed and clothe the poor founded in 1976. The merger occurred in 1995 and since then, the two organizations have grown to serve the wide community of the district. In early 2011, the Northwest location held its grand opening. Complete with ornate architecture the new Northwest location’s main focus will be the medical center. BFC will now be able to aid their clients’ health needs easier due to the large venue they’ve created. Adults will be able to schedule an appointment beginning at 9 AM on Mondays through Thursdays. To schedule pediatric appointments call during business hours Monday through Thursday. Business hours in the new location are 9am-5pm Monday-Thursday and 9am-12pm on Fridays. BFC is closed during the weekend. To contact Bread for the City Northwest call, (202) 265-2400 and the Southeast, (202) 561-8587 or visit www.BreadForTheCity.org. My Sister’s Place PO Box 29596, Washington, DC 20017 (202) 529-5261 (office) (202) 529-5991 (24-hour hotline)

STREET SENSE November 9 - 22, 2011

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


THE LAST WORD: CHARLES By Jill Frey Editorial Intern Over the years, homeless people in America have been stereotyped as dirty, alcoholic drug addicts who lack life experience and education. This misinformed generalization lasts even today, but Rabbi Sid Schwarz has led a movement that is helping Jewish teens look deeper. The Panim Institute is the Jewish learning institute of B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO Inc.) Panim holds seminars in Washington, D.C throughout the year to educate high school students about advocacy and social justice. About nine years ago, Schwarz was leaving a Panim seminar when he found a man “jamming out” to a fake boom box. The rabbi asked this man his name and if he could hear the music; the man replied that indeed he could hear the music. He said his name was Jesse and that he was the mayor. Schwarz replied, “I’m sorry, sir, I know the mayor of this city, and you’re not him.” But Jesse took the rabbi down below a Federal Reserve building where Schwarz discovered Jesse was the mayor of a homeless community. From then on Schwarz brought his students to this community to form relationships with the homeless people and practice what came to be called Street Torah. Street Torah soon spread to a Panim summer program called Impact: DC

which gives teenagers the chance to come to the District and learn about activism and lobbying with leading activists and policy makers. In summer 2010, I was fortunate enough to participate. While the lobbying aspect of Impact: DC was exciting, it was Street Torah, and the chance to work with homeless people that truly struck me. Our group arrived at McPherson Square, carrying “offerings” of socks,

I walked up to a man and offered him my soap. He unfolded his hand and as soon as I could place the soap inside his grasp he turned

soap and shirts to help strike up conversations. Still, it was bewildering getting started. We divided up and headed off in several different directions but at first I was not sure where to turn.

and walked away. Not a word, not a gesture of gratitude. I wondered could Street Torah actually be genuine? Was the rabbi’s story complete fiction? Did homeless people actually fit their stereotype? Then, I met Charles. Because I had already used up all my offerings, I now had to use my instincts to connect. I took my best friend by the arm and we approached a man eating lunch on a bench. I introduced myself, “Hello, I’m Jill and this is my friend Merrit.” This man reached out to shake my hand; “Hi, I’m Charles.” He proceeded to ask, “Do you have a shirt? All I have is this sweatshirt and, well, you know how hot it gets here in the summer.” I grabbed a shirt from a staff member; I could not watch this man burn up in a Washington, D.C. heatwave. We asked if he was originally from the District. He has been here his whole life and would not have it any other way. We asked if he was a Redskins fan; he pointed to his chest with the Redskins

November 9 - 22, 2011 • Volume 8 • Issue 26

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logo. Charles told us that his nephew played football and had a chance to play college ball, but that in his first practice, the young man broke his knee and lost his scholarship to attend university. Then came Charles’ first words of wisdom for the day: “Once you get hurt, you ain’t never the same.” I empathized with Charles and his nephew. The previous year I tore my ACL and was unable to dance for my high school team. I went through surgery and rehab and even got to perform again, but I knew what he said was true. “Once you get hurt, you ain’t never the same.” Our conversation turned to telling Charles about the advocacy and service we were doing in the District. Charles listened attentively, and before it dawned on me, he made a second observation that struck me as profound and all I could do was nod my head in complete agreement. “You might come across some people who you might think are smarter than you, but they’re not. If you can do this, and you can do that, then you can do anything you put your mind to.” Normally, talking about the weather would be a last resort. However, the weather inspired a comment that I can only call Charles’ third stroke of genius. A large rain cloud threw an overcast aura over McPherson Square. After a long pause, Charles looked up and pointed to the large gray shadow in the sky. Then he took a breath and spoke. “It’s going to rain today and my clothes are going to get wet. But you know what? I’m going to put them in the dryer and tomorrow I’m going to put my clothes back on because it’s a new day.” With that I realized how to live my life. I might have a vision of where I want to be ten years down the road, but when it comes to enjoying the little things, like conversations in the park with those who really matter, it is then that you have to realize to take things one minute, one hour and one day at a time. If my purpose is about turning the next page in the book of life, nobody will ever be able to read between the lines...


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