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Volume 8: Issue 21 August 31 - September 13, 2011



Read more and get involved at | The D.C. Metro Area Street Newspaper | Please buy from badged vendors

Right across the DC border, Silver Spring has a homeless scene all its own... pgs 6-7

Comm u try to nity prog ra e has th nsure eve ms ry e to-sch best back one o exper ol ience pgs 4 -5

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.


Backpack drives and literacy programs get children excited to learn


Community organizations help the very poor in Silver Spring


August 29th marked 6 years since the disaster that was Katrina. Photojournalist Brett Mohar recalls...




The adventures of Stacy from Malibu continue, as recounted by vendor Ivory Wilson

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Comics & Games! Our vendors’ latest creative writing

Web Exclusive Local school libraries get a facelift with help from Target


Day care kids help Street Sense with their lemonade business

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

ADDRESS 1317 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 PHONE (202) 347 - 2006 FAX (202) 347 - 2166 E-MAIL WEB BOARD OF DIRECTORS Lisa Estrada, Ted Henson, Brad Scriber, Michael Stoops, Manas Mohapatra, Sommer Mathis, Kristal Dekleer, Robin Heller, Jeffery McNeil, Yebegashet Alemayehn EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Laura Thompson Osuri EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mary Otto MANAGING EDITOR Eric Falquero VENDOR AND VOLUNTEER MANAGER Allen Hoorn INTERNS Mary Clare Fischer, Hannah Traverse, Helen West VOLUNTEERS/WRITERS Rhonda Brown, 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, Andrew Gena, Steve Gilberg, Jane Goforth, Jonah Goodman, Roberta Haber, Elia Herman, Cherilyn Hansen, Adam Kampe, Trisha Knisely, Vicki Ann Lancaster, Elle Leech-Black, Lisa Leona, Sean Lishansky, Elsie Oldaker, Katinka Podmaniczky, Mike Plunkett, Willie Schatz, Jesse Smith, Lilly Smith, Mandy Toomey, Brett Topping, Melissa Hough, Kate Sheppard, Marian Wiseman, Kelly Stellrecht, Jane Cave VENDORS Michael Anderson, Charles Armstrong, Jake Ashford, Lawrence Autry, Daniel Ball, Kenneth Belkosky, Tommy Bennett, Reginald Black, Deana Black, Harmon Bracey, Debora Brantley, Andre Brinson, Floarea Caldaras, Conrad Cheek, Theresa Corbino, Avram Cornel, Anthony Crawford, Kwayera Dakari, Louise Davenport, James Davis, Charles Davis, Devon Dawkins, Michael Dawson, Chino Dean, Daivd Denny, Richardo Dickerson, Alvin Dixon El, Charles Eatmon, Richard Emden, Pieus Ennels, Betty Everett, Joshua Faison, Larry Garner, R. George, David Ger, Marcus Green, Barron Hall, Dwight Harris, Lorrie Hayes, Patricia Henry, Shakaye Henry, Derian Hickman, Vennie Hill, Anne Holloway, Phillip Howard, James Hughes, Patricia Jefferson, Carlton Johnson, Donald Johnson, Mark Jones, Evanson Kamau, Mike Leach, Michael Lyons, Johnnie Malloy, Kina Mathis, John C. Matthews, Authertimer Matthews, Charlie Mayfield, Robert McGray, Marvin McFadden, Jermale McKnight, Jennifer McLaughlin, Jeffrey McNeil, Kenneth Middleton, Gary Minter, L. Morrow, Jai Morton, Saleem Muhammad, Tyrone Murray, Darryl Neal, Charles Nelson, James Nelson, Sammy Ngatiri, Evelyn Nnam, Moyo Onibuje, Douglas Pangburn, Franklin Payne, Michael Pennycook, Ash-Shaheed Rabbil, Michael Reardon, Chris Shaw, Veda Simpson, J. Simpson, Patty Smith, Gwynette Smith, Franklin Sterling, Warren Stevens, Leroy Sturdevant, Beverly Sutton, Sybil Taylor, Paul Taylor, Archie Thomas, Larissa Thompson, Carl Turner, Jacqueline Turner, Joseph Walker, Martin Walker, Robert Warren, Terry Warren, Lawless Watson, Paul Watson, Wendell Williams, Edna Williams, Sherle Williams, Susan Wilshusen, Ivory Wilson, Mark Wolf, Charles Woods, Tina Wright

STREET SENSE August 31 - September 13, 2011



Legendary singer opens LGBT homeless shelter in NYC Singer and LGBT rights activist Cyndi Lauper will open a homeless shelter geared toward LGBT youth Sept. 1 in New York City. The facility is named True Colors Residence after Lauper’s 1986 song and will be the first permanent LGBT shelter in the state of New York. Young adults 18 to 24 will live in 30 energy-efficient studio apartments and will have access to educational programs and employment assistance based on their personal needs.

Mobile shower gives Washington homeless a way to stay clean Bremerton Rescue Mission, a nonprofit that serves the homeless and low-income residents of Kitsap County, Wash., dedicated its first mobile shower trailer Saturday at the New Life Assembly of Bremerton. The Rescue Mission plans to drive the trailer to various patches of woods where homeless people are known to live. The trailer is funded by New Life Kitsap, a partnership between several local congregations, the Rotary Club of Silverdale, chaplains with South Kitsap Fire and

Rescue and the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management, which will use the trailer in emergency situations. Consisting of two showers, a toilet and a sink, the trailer can operate by using two onboard water tanks or by hooking up to water lines.

United Nations says homeless deserve more human rights U.N. investigator Catarina de Albuquerque has found that poor and homeless Americans often do not have access to clean drinking water and restrooms, a fact that violates international human rights standards, according to a report issued this month. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights includes the right to safe drinking water and restroom facilities. The report states that the U.S. is failing to comply with these regulations by the way it handles homelessness, often criminalizing practices such as sleeping in public or taking water from fountains in order to stay hydrated. The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty is planning to bring forward several cases that challenge these biased ordinances.

Homeless man saves boy from fire A fire in the Bronx claimed one less victim Thursday night after a homeless man grabbed a child from a second-story window in a burning building. Jeffrey Richards, 40, climbed onto the awning of a nearby building in order to reach the 2-year-old child, whom he handed to safety. Richards set another little boy, age 5, on the awning, but it began to burn, dropping the child to the ground. The 2-year-old was taken to a hyperbaric chamber at New-York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell. Five others who were injured were transported to Jacobi Medical Center. Flames and smoke were first seen coming from the windows of the threestory Bacyhester building at 3:45 p.m. The cause of the fire is unknown, and fire marshals and police were investigating to see whether it might have been set deliberately.

Gales School approved to become a downtown shelter The D.C. Council has approved a long-term lease of the abandoned Gales School so it can be used as a homeless shelter. The dilapidated building, located at 65 Massachusetts Ave. NW, will

THE STORY OF STREET SENSE Street Sense began in August 2003 after two volunteers, 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. They saw it as a means of empowering the area’s poor and homeless and decided the paper would cover homelessness and other social issues. After bringing together a core of dedicated volunteers, Street Sense published its first issue in November 2003, printing 5,000 copies. About a dozen vendors sold the first issue of the paper. For the next three years, it was

published monthly as a project of the National Coalition for the Homeless. In October 2004, the organization incorporated and moved into its own office space. In March 2005, Street Sense received 501(c)3 status, becoming a nonprofit organization. In October 2005, Street Sense formed a full board of directors, and in November, the organization hired its first employee, a full-time executive director. A year later, Street Sense hired its first vendor coordinator and began partnering with several service providers. In February 2007, the paper increased the frequency of publication to twice a month.



Vendor Code of Conduct

In order to support the increased production, Street Sense brought on its first full-time editor-in-chief in April. Today, Street Sense has four professionals, more than 100 active vendors and nearly 30,000 copies in circulation each month. The newspaper has become a major source of news for Washingtonians, providing content on issues which often go uncovered by the mainstream media. Street Sense is a member of the National Association of Street Newspapers (NASNA).

YOUR DOLLAR Each vendor makes a personal investment in Street Sense, by purchasing is- Directly sues at a rate of 35 cents per copy. This aids the money helps cover our production and vendor printing costs for the paper, while still allowing the vendors to sell the paper at a low price and substantial profit.

provide a permanent home for a shelter run by the Central Union Mission the Georgetown current reported. The nonprofit will lease the building from the District for $1 a year for at least the next 40 years. In their lease contract, the Mission promises to spend about $12 million to convert the historic former school into a usable space. Renovations must be complete by October 2012, at which point the building should be able to accommodate some 150 homeless men. With a new space, the Mission will also be able to expand its addiction counseling services, job and literacy training and food and clothing distribution. Tentative renovation plans for the building include adding a 4,200 squarefoot addition, a commercial kitchen, a fitness center and office space for dental, medical and legal aid. It would cost the District roughly $850,000 a year to maintain the 130-year-old building as a homeless shelter, according to the report. The Central Union Mission promises to operate the shelter without any D.C. government subsidies. The District will maintain ownership of the building.

35% Supports costs

1. I agree not to ask for more than $1 or to solicit donations for Street Sense by 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 others respectfully. 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 to sell no additional goods or products when selling Street Sense. 7. I will not sell Street Sense under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 8. I will stay a block away from another vendor. 9. I understand that my badge is the property of Street Sense and will not deface it. I will display my badge and wear my vest when selling papers. 10. I understand that Street Sense strives to be 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.

Program backpacks are kept organized for easy pick-up by participants. PHOTO BY MARY CLARE FISCHER

Registration forms turned in to volunteers are usually accompanied by a special thanks from each child. PHOTO BY MARY CLARE FISCHER

Backpack Drive By Mary Clare Fischer Editorial Intern

Little girls like Heaven (above), are especially excited to receive their own personalized backpacks from Capitol Hill Group Ministry. PHOTO BY MARY CLARE FISCHER

For children, the end of summer means earlier wake-up calls, higher expectations and less free time. And the start of school can mean daunting challenges for parents as well, including the price tag for necessary back-to-school supplies. But Capitol Hill Group Ministry (CHGM) has them covered. Through its annual Back-to-School Back Pack Program, CHGM provides hundreds of children with personalized backpacks filled with everything they need to start the year off right. Now in its fifth year, the program allows donors to choose the grade, gender and number of children they wish to sponsor. Donors fill backpacks with new products and drop them off at a designated location—this year, it was Shirley’s Place, a daytime hospitality center for homeless families on G Street Southeast—where they are then distributed to the children in need. “Backpacks are small, but they’re also extremely large because we’re talking about education here,” said Shelah Wilcox, CHGM’s special events coordinator. “This is one way to lighten the load and allow parents to make a choice for their child’s future.” About 160 children were on the list to receive backpacks during the Backto-School Back Pack Distribution Event on Aug. 20. Another 60 remained on a waiting list. In past years, the event has been larger, serving between 200 and 250 children, but fewer donations came in this year. Times have been hard, and Wilcox believes some donors

have just realigned their priorities, donating instead to more prominent events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas meal programs. “It’s one of those forgotten events,” Wilcox said of the Back Pack Program. “But the need is extraordinary.” Though the contents of the backpacks are tailored to the ages of the children, Wilcox said the ideal backpack holds two reams of paper, two composition notebooks, five folders, a ruler, a pack of pencils, a pack of pens, a highlighter, some glue sticks, some erasers, blunt scissors and the always essential brand-new box of crayons. “We’re going to give the community the best we can give,” Wilcox said. “Presentation is everything. It’s not just the backpacks but the attitude; that’s why people come back. That’s what they remember.” Volunteer DaSean Jones said the best part of the event was the thank-you cards the children made for CHGM. “I think it’s really special that they show their appreciation,” he said. “It’s simply expressed; they can just draw.” But Wilcox and most of the staff would likely run this and other programs even if they didn’t receive any recognition. “It’s worth all the time and energy when you meet the need for even one person,” Wilcox said. “It could be me. It could be any of us. We’re reaching out to those who are out of reach.”

STREET SENSE August 31 - September 13, 2011


Back to School

Secretary Arne Duncan visits Horton’s Kids, the Department’s on-site tutoring activity. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Everybody Wins: Lunchtime literacy programs for DC youth By Hannah Traverse Editorial Intern Any kid can tell you that lunchtime during the school day is more than just a chance to get in a meal; lunchtime is time to put down the books and chat with friends. Though many kids cherish this daily respite from schoolwork, kids in the Everybody Wins! DC program will happily tell you that lunchtime is reading time. EW!DC, the largest literacy and mentoring organization in the D.C. metro area, operates in nearly 40 underserved elementary and middle schools in all eight wards of the city , as well as in Arlington County, Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland. The organization, which currently serves some 4,000 low-income children, is based upon the idea that the most important aspect of helping children become successful readers is to give them a chance to read aloud with a mentor, even if it is just once a week. The first Everybody Wins! program began in New York City in 1991 with just a handful of volunteers reading with children at one Manhattan school. Now the program has expanded to serve 16 states plus the District. The D.C. branch of Everybody Wins! got its start in 1995 when former Sen. Jim Jeffords, (R-Vt.) who had heard of the New York program, began reading with other senators and their staffs at Robert Brent Elementary. EW!DC helps underserved children

experience reading with caring mentors through three distinct programs: StoryTime, Readers are Leaders and Power Lunch. Operating in 16 local schools, the StoryTime program sends local authors, performers and storytellers into underserved schools to help bring books to life. The Readers are Leaders program, which operates in nine schools, pairs kindergarteners, first-graders and second-graders with reading mentors in the third, fourth and fifth grades. The two children meet during lunchtime to read and eat together in a casual atmosphere. And then there is the Power Lunch program, the cornerstone program of EW!DC. Power Lunch pairs adult reading mentors with children in 12 different schools. These adult readers are employees from more than 200 Congressional offices, government agencies, businesses and local organizations that are partnered with EW!DC. More than 1,200 mentors currently participate, joining their elementary or middle school-aged reading partners for one hour at least once a week during the child’s lunch to read books. “There’s nothing more rewarding than connecting with a child, than letting them know you care…It fills you with a glow that lasts the rest of the week,” said Mark Young, chair of the EW!DC board of directors and a Power Lunch reading mentor for the past 14 years. Mentors in the Power Lunch program come from workplaces including NASA, C-SPAN, The Washington Nationals, embassies and the Department of Defense.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has read for the past 15 years. The late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) read for 14 years. “What we’ve seen is that people in Washington have big hearts and really want to help,” said Mary Salander, EW!DC executive director. “For the kids it doesn’t really matter who the mentor is as long as they have someone reliably there.” Schools are only eligible to participate in EW!DC if they receive Title I funding; government money allotted to schools serving a high percentage of poor students. As noted on the EW!DC website, the typical middle-class child enters first grade with 1,000 to 1,700 hours of picture-book-reading time. The typical low-income child enters first grade with just 25 hours of picture book reading time. EW!DC helps bridge this gap. “The skills vary. All the children can read, but most need the confidence and encouragement to use that skill,” said Young, has read with six different children during his time with EW!DC. “I’ve seen all of them improve. They improve in the quality of their reading, their confidence in themselves…I know this works. It makes a big impact.” According to the National Assessment of Education Progress, among D.C. fourth graders eligible for free or reduced price school meals, over 70 percent read at a below average level. A U.S. Department of Education evaluation found that children in EW!DC who were reading below grade level showed

increased enthusiasm for books, improved behavior and improved academic performance. Students are selected to participate in EW!DC by their teachers and principals, and then must receive parental permission. Some selected students might struggle academically and benefit from extra reading time, while others could use a reliable role model. Unfortunately, according to Young, there is such a high demand for Power Lunch adult mentors that there is usually a waiting list of some 200 to 250 students who want to participate. Many children continue to read with the same mentor year after year. And EW!DC does more than provide reading mentors. Last year the organization received about $140,000 worth of donated books. Every child in EW!DC receives three books each year to help build a home library. EW!DC also works with such corporate sponsors as Pricewaterhouse Cooper’s and Bank of America to fund the improvement of school libraries. For this school year, Target is building or renovating libraries in three EW!DC schools. EW!DC also acts as a leadership program for student mentors involved in Readers are Leaders. “Our goal, our lofty goal, is to serve as many children as could benefit from this program,” said Salander. “If you can stimulate a child to want to read and want to learn, you know their opportunities are greatly expanded.”

Silver Spring’s Safety Net

In the face of progress, churches and neighbors help those left behind

On August 9th, about 180 people waited in line over a period of several hours to receive food from Marvin Mobile Food ministry. PHOTO BY MARY CLARE FISCHER

By Mary Clare Fischer Editorial Intern Step off the Metro at Silver Spring and you step into a world of wealth, progress, revitalization and yes, great poverty. You are at the heart of a sprawling suburb in Montgomery County, Maryland in one of the wealthiest counties in America. There’s the sleek headquarters of Discovery Communications, with its ever-changing light display, fountains, cafes, an art theater with a sparkling marquee. Workers hurry and shoppers stroll. And there are homeless people too, some dragging their belongings behind them. They’ve been seemingly left behind by Silver Spring’s revival. In 1998, the sleepy and dingy business district began to change when Montgomery County signed a contract with a major developer to create the 22-acre downtown Silver Spring town center. Since then, about $1.37 billion in new private investment has arrived in the area. With extensive renovation of the Metro station and the blocks around it, including the formerly failing City Place Mall, traces of the shabby old Silver Spring are hard to find. “Silver Spring has reinvented itself around the Metro station, drawing companies, employees and residents from within the region and across the country, and setting the standard for suburbs-turned cities seeking economic development and smart growth,” the

International Economic Development Council stated in a 2006 case study. But then again, there are still significant problems that need to be solved. The county’s main year-round emergency shelters are located in Rockville, an hour-long bus ride from Silver Spring. Some argue Silver Spring needs more year-round intensive emergency services of its own. Many homeless advocates say that shelters are not the answer and want to shift the emphasis to finding a permanent solution to homelessness, through the development of affordable and supportive housing countywide. Yet walking down the street in Silver Spring, it’s hard not to be reminded of immediate needs. “I will never forget the day my daughter and I were going into CVS, and we met a woman who asked if I could get her some deodorant or something so she would smell sweet,” Shannon Parkin said. “So my 9-year-old daughter and I went in and bought her a bottle of deodorant and a fragrant body spray. The woman who had waited outside was delighted as a child on Christmas morning… Other times the people asking for money on the street really want someone to listen to them, to show they care.” And many of the people of Silver Spring do care. Led by the efforts of churches and nonprofits, they have been busy shoring up a safety net to help their needy neighbors hang on for another day in Silver Spring. Thanks to the Silver Spring United Methodist Cooperative Parish, made

of the Woodside and Marvin Memorial churches, two food pantries have been growing over the past five years: Arleeta’s Pantry and Marvin Food Ministry. Then there is Shepherd’s Table, a program that for 27 years has offered the homeless basic services and necessities from an aid facility near the metro that is known as Progress Place. Community Vision, also located in Progress Place, provides more extensive services to the homeless and runs an emergency winter shelter for men and women. There is also Carroll House, a permanent men’s shelter.

Arleeta’s Pantry “If you tell me you need food, you can have it,” Woodside parishioner Rebecca McGinnis stated simply as she walked through the two-room space known as Arleeta’s Pantry. Shelves of cans line the walls, with a small shopping cart holding non-food items placed toward the back. Pamphlets sit in organized stacks on a table in the corner. A colorful chart divides food into categories with cards that remind viewers to bring in vegetables or fruits. Named for a benevolent woman who wanted to reach out to the community, Arleeta’s was first founded years ago— based off the First Baptist Church’s food pantry, which requires interviews—but was only revitalized recently. “It started out really grand,” said fellow parishioner Linda Jamison. “We were giving a lot to a lot of people, and

we just couldn’t sustain it. The reason why small businesses fail is because they grow too fast, and we really wanted to see what it would feel like to do this again.” Arleeta’s collects food from donors and buys more from Capital Area Food Bank, with whom they’re a partner organization. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday mornings, volunteers pack bags for those who wait in the line, which consists mostly of low-income black and Hispanic families. “It’s interesting to see the ebb and flow [of the people who come to the pantry],” McGinnis said. “It’s been a learning experience for all of us as to how to interact with people. Some of them are just so happy and effusive. You know, they’re down in the dirt, but they’re happy. Others are like, ‘I have nine people in my family, and my grandmother’s living with us, and she can’t eat this, and we need extra.’” “You wonder what they do the other times they need food,” Jamison added. Technically, one bag is given to every two people, as the food inside should feed two adults for two days. Furthermore, each family/individual is only supposed to be given food once a month, so Arleeta’s maintains lists of names and optional addresses to keep track of the shoppers. But the pantry’s compassionate attitude means they end up feeding whoever arrives at its door. “I think hunger is a scourge in such a wealthy country, and it’s a hideous thing,” McGinnis said. “It’s just not acceptable.”

STREET SENSE August 31 - September 13, 2011


Silver Spring

Silver Spring Cooperative Parish A United Methodist community with open hearts, open minds, open doors and a place at the table for all God’s people. Join us for worship on Sunday mornings at either of our locations: 9:30am at Marvin Memorial UMC 33 University Blvd. East, Silver Spring, MD 11:00am at Woodside UMC 8900 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD

Arleeta’s Pantry distributes cards to their parishioners featuring the community’s needs as a reminder of what items to bring next time. 301-587-1215

Food pantries offered by the Silver Spring Cooperative Parish All are welcome, no referrals necessary: Arleeta’s Food Pantry at Woodside UMC: Serving non-perishables, canned goods and home staples Open Every Saturday 9am-11am Mobile Food Pantry at Marvin Memorial UMC: Serving fresh produce and food provided by the Capital Area Food Bank Open 2nd Tuesday of Every Month 3pm-5pm


Yet both McGinnis and Jamison said the pantry and Silver Spring in general could improve the way they operate by focusing on the long term instead of the short term and improving communication. “I don’t know what services exist [in the area],” McGinnis said. “There needs to be a general awareness, a continuing awareness of what is needed in the community.”

Shepherd’s Table One of the most established programs in the region is Shepherd’s Table, which welcomes all for dinner from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every night, including holidays. Rev. Reynolds, who serves on the board of directors, said the nightly average is 120 people. Most of these men and women are homeless, but some are retired senior citizens who just come for conversation. “When you open up a place, and there are no rules, just come here and eat, it’s neat to see a community form that you wouldn’t expect,” Rev. Reynolds said. Shepherd’s Table also offers limited food and clothing as well as free eye care, laundry facilities and mailboxes as well as legal services that assist with everything from criminal cases to immigration issues. But food has always been the most important resource for the program. A client once handed everyone homemade thank-you cards during dinner stating, “Thank you so much for volunteering. I

really appreciate your graciousness and civility. I particularly appreciate your treating me and the other folks with dignity and respect.” The volunteers were moved, and grateful in return. “There’s actually a relationship being formed there and a mutual need and investment in each other,” Reynolds said. Five full-time employees and several core volunteers are at the heart of the program, but several Silver Spring churches help out, with each church serving dinner two nights a month. The volunteer network, convenient services and steady stream of customers have helped Shepherd’s Table attain a four out of four-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s most prestigious charity evaluator. “It’s amazing, the machine of this organization,” Reynolds said. “To start, run and shut down and the next day, it’s ready with a whole new set of hands and blood to do it all over again.” Shepherd’s Table also has its challenges however. Some of the loitering on and near the side street where Progress Place is located has devolved into violence. In addition, despite the need for the services Shepherd’s Table offers, the program does not truly get people off the streets. “We’re good at band-aids,” Reynolds said. “It’s that thing of giving a man a fish or teaching him how to fish. We’ll pull people out of the river, but we won’t ask who threw them in.

Systemic changes are much harder to attain. “It’s a question of how can we address the system issues that cause poverty and homelessness and ask the harder questions?” he added. “What causes the physical hunger and not just the spiritual hunger that leads people to us? How can we speak up for people who are marginalized and oppressed? And we don’t know yet.”

Marvin Mobile Food Pantry Though the Marvin Food Pantry doesn’t give out food as often as Shepherd’s Table, the two hours it runs once a month are filled to the brim with chaos and kindness. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month, volunteers from Woodside, Marvin and elsewhere are involved in an assembly line, handing whole onions, loaves of bread, bottles of sparkling water and massive bags of carrots, as well as other groceries to hundreds of people. “Most of the time, the stuff is all gone by the end, and it only takes a couple hours,” Marvin parishioner Lynne Waters said. Many customers wait for hours for the distribution, taking numbered tickets as they arrive. Customer Mel Ostach, who had No. 114, decided to take out the trash being produced during the process, “just to help out.” “I probably won’t get food, but that’s

okay,” Ostach said. “There’s people who need it more than I. I just hope there’s one watermelon left for me.” And 12-year-old Chelsea Ledesma, 12, volunteers with ticket distribution although her own mother is a customer at the Marvin Food Pantry. Ledesma speaks English, Spanish and American Sign Language, which fulfills an immense need as Marvin sees many Hispanic and deaf customers. She thought Marvin should allow the elderly to receive their tickets first. “The elderly have a lot of injuries, and they’re always like, ‘Ooh, my elbow hurts or my knee hurts,’ so I think they should go first and then everyone else,” Ledesma said. The Marvin Food Pantry has been operating monthly since October of last year, but might shift to weekly dates, according to Rev. Reynolds. The weekly visits might ease the stress seen on Aug. 9, as the sun beat down on the produce, and arguments broke out over the arrival of some watermelons, a sought-after commodity that wasn’t available when volunteers first started giving out food. Desire for bread and pastries also exceeded the supply and volunteers watched the crate closely, ensuring that customers only took one package. Ultimately, though, everyone did receive food, and the Marvin Mobile Food Pantry survived another day. “This is grace,” Rev. Reynolds said. “And grace can be really messy.”


his home.


ing behind only the wooden poles that houses stood on. PHOTO BY BRETT MOHAR


STREET SENSE August 31 - September 13, 2011


A Grim Anniversary Remembering Katrina... Volunteer Photojournalist

Nearly seven years ago, a friend and I took a road trip from Colorado to New Orleans to photograph the aftermath of the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Completely unprepared, naïve, and intoxicated, we set off to the Gulf Coast to see the greatest natural disaster in American history but what we witnessed on the journey was like no America either of us have ever seen or even could have even imagined. I am certain that for as long as I live, I will never be able to erase from my memory the destruction and devastation, the emptiness, the military assault rifles, the duct-taped refrigerators and most of all, the inescapable smells of the stale water and stagnant death left marinating in the sweltering Louisiana sun. In a matter of minutes, nearly every person living in or around New Orleans became homeless. After eight days of sleeping in a rented Subaru, homes without roofs and even a patch of grass in the Louisiana State University parking lot, it was time to go, leaving my last memory of New Orleans as resembling a third-world country that just got thrown into a giant washing machine with a pile of rocks. Yet I think I came to understand what we saw on that trip. What I still cannot make sense of is how so many people that lost their homes directly because of Katrina are still without homes, six years later. The New York Times says the homeless population in New Orleans has doubled since the hurricane, while 60 percent of New Orleans’ current homeless population list Katrina as the main reason they are still living on the streets. The blunders and unresponsiveness of FEMA following the storm were well-documented and rightfully so but who is to blame for the problems still facing the city so many years tantly, how can it be prevented in the future? While I am typing this on Friday afternoon, Hurricane Irene is bearing down on East Coast and it threatens a great deal of damage from Florida to Maine. And once Irene passes, there will be other storms. Sitting here in the crosshairs,I cannot help but wonder if we as a country have learned anything from the mistakes made post-Katrina? PHOTO BY BRETT MOHAR


Domestic Disillusionment By Jeffery McNeil Vendor/Board MEmber With the toppling of Gadhafi, the crowning gem in Obama’s international showcase, it is now without question that Obama is one of our greatest presidents when it comes to foreign policy. While this is political vindication for Obama and for Democrats in general, who have always been stereotyped as weak on foreign policy, it hasn’t done much for those who are struggling, especially the African Americans still waiting for meaningful change at home. I wonder why he doesn’t use the same war tactics when it comes to domestic issues. I am proud of Obama and hope this victory gives him a bump in his reelection bid. But I am still not happy with him. I feel like I’m stuck in a bad marriage, where you know things are bad, but you stay because you don’t want to be alone. And frankly, the dating prospects in the 2012 pool are pretty terrible. I am disillusioned on the domestic front not only with Obama, but with black politicians in general. I recently had a discussion with my father and a group of older African American men and women about a recent comment by Rep. Maxine Waters of California that black people are reluctant to criticize the President. Waters suggested that Obama has left the black community behind in his attempts to appeal to moderate and independent voters. My father and his friends were upset with Waters’ criticism, arguing that if Obama is criticized by the people he is supposed to represent, it provides the Tea Party with even more ammo to declare open season on him. But was she wrong to speak out? Should Obama be exempt from criticism because he is our first black president? I think Waters was right on target. I remember when he was a senator, and before that, when

he was just a lowly state representative. He was involved and concerned with issues related to the poor and the homeless in DC. I remember Obama going to Ben’s Chili Bowl with then Mayor Fenty to get a half smoke. He was a community organizer, he was a favorite on Oprah, and when he spoke about hope you cheered him and said you were proud he might be our first black president. Now he seems to have distanced himself, almost to the point where it looks like he’s ashamed to be associated with the black community. Ronald Reagan once said, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left me.” I feel the same way not just towards Obama but towards our African American lawmakers in general. The policies under this administration are similar to those of both our last and current mayors of Washington DC. They bus us to the polls with hope and promises, then push us under the bus once they get elected with court room convictions and race based evictions. The only change we get is locks on our doors with a thirty day notice because we cant get a living wage. All of this done by black politicians One thing the Tea Party has proven is that street fight politics work. Its belowthe-belt strategy has pushed America to adopt its extreme ideology. Maxine Waters might be the Rosa Parks of this generation, who might provide the spark for not only the black community, but also the progressive movement. She wants to stop catering to the extremists wanting to turn the clock back to Jim Crowe and break labor. They use the rhetoric of divisiveness rather than equality. Although Obama’s cerebral approach may be understandable, the black community would like to see some more fight and passion when it comes to the Tea Party. I applaud Maxine Waters for making the black community aware that in trying to appeal to moderates Obama is losing those who most want him to succeed.

By Gabriel Myers Reader, In memory of Lucy B. Walton I belong to a vowed religious community and live as a religious brother in the Washington area. The vows include poverty, but I am well provided for. I have a beautiful room, and access to elegant community rooms. We eat well; my social security and insurance are paid. I have access to a car but mostly ride a nice bike. I can concentrate entirely on prayer and creative work. My standard of living is above that of my dairy farm childhood, when my mother cooked wonderful food and the children had lots of love. In my 30-year post-college adulthood, I have feared the homeless, brushing past their signs or calls for money. I sometimes said, “I have no cash,” even though my community gives me about $65 pocket money each month. I felt the handouts given at our front door, and charity contributions to SOME, were partly given by me. But in June, several things rocked my complacency. A friend ended his life in despair. Another friend needed my help, requiring me to make a trip south. I came to terms with my mother’s death. I lost my teaching job. I rejoiced in the passage of a piece of significant legislation. Just after reading the wonderful legislative headline, I was sitting in our community’s car and reeling in joyful delirium. A handsome young man in a neon vest and hard hat knocked on my window. I was so startled that he said, “Sorry, I won’t bother you.” Getting out of the car, I said, “No, tell me; I don’t have much cash, but look at this amazing headline. I want to give back something in appreciation.” He and his cousin (in the same attire) said they were raising the first man’s six-year-old son and had no groceries. They would not get their first paycheck from a large public institution till the following Friday. I realized I had just bought a loaf of bread, and I had several other food items in my backpack. I gave them to the men, saying, “I’m doing this because of this headline, and trust you don’t mistreat people who are different from you.” “Oh, no,” came the answer, “we go to church and try to set an example for my son.” I offered $10, saying, “the two of you can share one

beer, but the rest is for groceries.” They responded, “We don’t drink.” I asked a few questions about their situation and volunteered a phone call the next day. I offered to bring them some groceries the next day after work. I was house-sitting and there was far more food than I needed. I actually packed three boxes, including paper plates, napkins, dish detergent; there was some candy and treats for the boy. When I met the cousins, I said, “I don’t want this thrown out. If you won’t use it, I’ll take it back and use it myself.” We went through the items and one or the other cousin wanted each thing. A homeless woman tried to butt in. “Step aside, sister; we need these things for my boy,” said one of the cousins. “You are being conned,” she told me, “they aren’t in true need as I am.” “I checked them out at their employers,” I answered, “an am satisfied they have a real need.” “Well, if you checked…,” she mumbled, walking away. I haven’t heard from the young men since but I am taking that as a good sign. I trust they have kept their jobs and are finding financial independence. I enjoyed this experience so much that I occasionally pack a second sandwich, with fruit, or buy an extra doughnut. When I have offered these things, saying, “this is a duplicate of what I just ate for lunch,” I have been answered with dignity, appreciation and even blessing. Once, a man in the park said, “thank you for the sandwich, but I don’t really eat yogurt.” I said, “I will take it and the banana to the next guy over there.” Arriving, I said, “I’m sorry I don’t have a spoon, and this is really a snack, not lunch.” He gallantly showed me the spoon kept in his breast pocket, and said, “I like yogurt very much. Thank you.” One person selling Street Sense at a corner admitted he hadn’t had lunch (it was 5 p.m.), then asked, “Are you sure you have enough for yourself?” Then I gave him a sandwich, protein bar and half bottle of water. The gratitude is touching, but I sometimes say, “I’ve had tragedy and great joy this month, and I just have to make some thank-offering to the universe.” I get the feeling that tokens, however tiny, do help.

STREET SENSE August 31 - September 13, 2011




e h t f o e s a C The s e i t n a P d n a a r B 0 0 $100,0 By Ivory Wilson Vendor Summary of Part 1: Stacy is in his office in Chinatown at 9 a.m., drinking gin and talking to Tamika, his secretary, when a woman named Cherry Jones calls and offers him $10,000 to provide security that night at a fashion show featuring expensive lingerie. He accepts the job and while he’s wondering why anyone would pay that big a sum for one night’s work, Misty, a drop-dead gorgeous redhead, arrives at his office.


here is another knock at the door. Stacy cocks his pistol and asks Misty if she was being followed. Misty, staring at the pistol, says, “I don’t know, but I hope it’s not my husband following me around the city.” Stacy pulls the door open quickly, pointing his pistol at the open doorway. There stands Mrs. Kim, holding Stacy’s clean suits. She screams, tossing the suits into the air, and runs away down the stairs shouting, “No shoot! Please, no shoot!” Stacy picks up his suits in the hallway and closes the door. He could hear Misty chuckling. Then Tamika walks back into the office asking what all the noise was about. Smelling expensive perfume, she turns and sees Misty, still smiling at all the craziness. Stacy asks Tamika to please hang up his suits. He walks back to his desk and sits down. Misty is still laughing, showing all of her teeth. Tamika takes Stacy’s

suits as Stacy introduces Misty to Tamika. “Misty, this is Tamika, my secretary.” Misty smiles and says, “Hello, Tamika.” Tamika responds with “hey” and leaves the room. Stacy returns his Colt pistol to its holster hanging on the coat rack. He puts the bottle of gin back in his filing cabinet, looks closely at Misty’s dewy eyes, and asks with a pleasant smile, “Now tell me, young lady, how can I help?” Misty explains that “tonight I’m modeling a very expensive and very sexy bra and panties set worth over $100,000. I’ve been getting strange phone calls. When I ask who’s calling, they just hang up.” Stacy asks if Misty knows who might be calling. Misty tells him she doesn’t have any ideas. Stacy then asks if Misty knows a Cherry Jones. “Yes,” says Misty. “I met her for the first time this morning over at the Hotel Monaco.” Stacy asks what they talked about and Misty says that “Cherry Jones wanted to know if I was ready for tonight. She asked if I have any tattoos on my body. When I told her that I did, she asked where it was. When I told her it was on my ass, she told me she needed to see it.” Stacy has a flash of Misty stripping for him and showing off her tattoo. When the thought has passed, he asks Misty why Cherry Jones wanted to see the tattoo. “She told me,” Misty replied, “that if the tattoo was too big it would show out from under the pant-

ies and ruin everything. But she said it wasn’t too big and told me to put my clothes back on.” Stacy changes the subject quickly and asks Misty about her husband. “My husband’s name is Larry,” Misty tells him. “He’s a loving man. I love him for that, I really do, and we’ve been together for 19 years. But he’s sort of old-fashioned in some ways, and he’s not too happy about me modeling lingerie.” Stacy listens and realizes there is a lot going on here that he doesn’t yet understand. Then it is Misty’s turn to change the subject. Staring with her doe-like eyes directly at Stacy, she says, “Mr. Stacy, I need you to be there tonight.” “And why is that?” Stacy asks. Misty pauses and takes a deep breath. Stacy realizes she is definitely hiding something. “I need you to protect my husband Larry at the show tonight. Larry does a lot of business in the Middle East for the government, and I think he’s in trouble.” Signaling that this was all she was going to say about the situation, Misty asks Stacy about his fees, and he tells her he charges $500 plus expenses. Misty smiles again, opens her purse, and takes out an envelope. “Here is ten grand,” she says, dropping the envelope on Stacy’s desk. Misty rises from her chair and tells Stacy that “it’s getting late and I need to get back to the Hotel Monaco. Don’t worry about the change. You can earn that by keep-

ing Larry alive.” With that, she walks out of Stacy’s office, closing the door behind her. Stacy leans back in his chair, trying to sort through what has happened in the last few hours. Thinking of Misty, he knows how attracted he is to women who know what they want. But then he considers that Misty wasn’t chosen randomly by Cherry Jones and that something very strange was going on between these two women. While these thoughts were percolating, Tamika walks in and asks Stacy which color suit he plans on wearing to the fashion show. Stacy smiles and says, “I haven’t decided yet, but why do you want to know?” Tamika says, “Because whatever color you wear, you’d better wear your bullet-proof vest underneath it!” “That’s exactly what I plan to do. Now go home and stop worrying about me. I’ll see you in the morning.” “Just remember,” Tamika says, “I don’t trust either of those women and you’d better be careful.” What Misty fails to tell Stacy is that she has traveled to the Middle East with Larry many times and that the tattoo on her ass hides the number for a Swiss bank account that currently contains about $90 million in stolen Saudi Arabian assets. (to be continued…)

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STREET SENSE August 31 - September 13, 2011


Vendor Thoughts DEATH


By David Ruben Vendor

By De Rutter Jones Vendor

The recent earthquake and hurricane make me think about how society deals with the death of a homeless person. Death is defined as cessation of all bodily functions. This means life has ceased in a person. When I speak to people about homeless people dying, nobody ever has a solid solution for how to make the frequent deaths of homeless people less commonplace, less informal. All I ever see is faith without action.

Perhaps donating the body to science is what is in store when a homeless person dies. Perhaps this is the best outcome. I find myself falling out of contact with all my loved ones whom I trust can bury me when I die.

He has outlived Xizong of Jin and will outlive Hailingwang. Cannot remember the day he lost his potentiality the day he became the last of his bloodline no one will remind him. Was raised to think it a gift to be one of the few allowed to take hold the tiller guiding the tide of empire an honor to permanently serve with no distractions.

The shock is no longer felt. The memory has folded over for the mind has cleansed itself of the unclean. He wonders what it was like when he was a baby but no one will answer his question Still all is as it should be. Somebody has to keep the ledgers of the kingdom.




By Chris Shaw Vendor

By Chris Shaw Vendor

By Chris Shaw Vendor

Mister Buffett sat on a tuffet Waiting for Righties to budge; For a beat he took the heat Stepped away/From Berk Hathaway, instead Bestowing not owing A heavy 5 Bil In Bank Amer’s private Till. Now, corporate idolaters Sing Warren’s praises Not having such resource T’wouldn’t even daze us. Meanwhile, scrape on, with rusty Spoon A last bite of Ken-L-Ration A hungry Nation thanks you for scarcely a proper meal deal.

Every citizen has the God given right to give way, in creation’s sight (WITH NO MIGHT!) As the walls and floor buckle round And the ground starts to simmer like a bucking marimba Neighbors never seen from next door greet on the street below the level of a scream (what kind of dream) Is This? Is, this the way we now should meet Nearly laughing, almost gasping (with mad delirious joy) In the dirt One appears without a shirt! Next time, alone in the cricket chirping night There’s a private temblor of unmitigated fright The heart goes thump thump thump thump At imagining or un-masking A vision of that loosened chunk of crocketed finial, fallen Landing heavily, sharply, “Shuunk,” on your own skull During the blaze of a bright sunny day.

1) Little ian Desmond tied a Hopeless score up to four, Then we Loaded ‘em well/ For Ryan Zee’s ball then fell/ over the far left wall -A big grand slam/For ALL!! Damn, drink the Hemlock Look, we can play such Havock Wit’ dose vaunted Phillies! 2) second half of a weird Weekend/was another FreakEnd, for Phils phans/Wished they yet rule our stadium seats over Again/my friend, At the end(this time), Men filled the Bases/One by one. Oh if you’d have seen (The shock) Our face displayed, As’Gombs’mugged “Gawrsh Goofy” style, For their pitcher Lidge nudged him with shoulder hit squarely, To first, by a country mile Pushed the balance around the horn To Home, all in fun. (Was Nix the winning run?) 3) -But that was six whole days Ago, an eternity in the free agent Farrago, So. Have we then a Fresh NATS Hero? -Nichts-- Zero!

Our Page

Bright Horizons Donation By Sarah Hogue Photography Intern

Street Sense vendor Tommy Bennet (right) accepts a $100 dollar donation from Nazaree Horton, whose Bright Horizons class elected to donate from their lemonade stand profits.

At 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue, the children of Bright Horizons Day Care are learning a valuable life lesson: A business should give back to the community that supports it. The children of Bright Horizons were told to choose a group to help with the profits from their lemonade stand business. They chose Street Sense because they liked the newspaper’s mission of helping the homeless to help themselves. And the children took their goal seriously; they logged hours for who manned the stand, gave out business cards, and even advertised to the offices upstairs. Their teacher, Nazaree Fulton, wanted to impart upon the children that something they are passionate about can become a business. “You have an obligation to those who support you because you cannot be a successful business without them,” said Fulton. The total profit from the Bright Horizons lemonade stand totaled $100. Awardwinning Street Sense writer and vendor Tommy Bennett accepted the check on behalf of Street Sense on Aug. 24.


Women of Street Sense By Nikki Conyers Volunteer, Women of Street Sense special events coordinator

The primary goal of Women of Street Sense is to help our female vendors voice their needs within the D.C. homeless community. We hope that through their participation in the group, they will find some of the support they need in their journey toward secure housing and better lives. Domestic violence is very common for women in the state of homelessness. Nearly half the cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a leading cause of homelessness. In addition, rape and sexual assault are more prevalent among homeless women than among women with homes. To help address the security challenges facing homeless women, Women of Street Sense recently hosted Mary McGregor, a life skills coordinator at Calvary Women’s Services. Calvary offers homeless women a range of assistance, including training in social and decision-making skills as well as health, mental health and substance abuse services. Calvary also offers programs in creative art, nutrition, healthy relationships and job readiness. In the spring, Women of Street Sense offered a self-defense workshop conducted by Sarah Wolf, a senior instructor at the DC Self Defense Karate Association. The workshop focused upon verbal strategies to evade physical conflicts in possible lifethreatening situations. Another self-defense karate workshop is scheduled for Sept. 21, 2011, to further address the challenges of safety and security for women who are part of the D.C. homeless community. Women of Street Sense meetings are held every third Wednesday of the month from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Church of Epiphany on 1317 G Street, NW. Street Sense would like to thank vendors Louise Davenport, Michael Lee Matthew, Patricia Jefferson, Patricia Henry, Susan Wilshusen and Gwynette Smith for their continued involvement in the Women of Street Sense.

Mary McGregor is the Life Skills Coordinator at Calvary Women’s Services, a nonprofit organization in Washington, DC that provides housing and support services to women who are homeless. Mary is leading the growth of Calvary Women’s Services Life Skills Program. She brings over six years of experience in working with special needs populations. She received her Bachelor’s of Social Science degree in Sociology in 2007 from Indiana University, Bloomington. PHOTO BY NIKKI CONYERS

The Welcome Table Breakfast and Outreach Program By Mary Clare Fischer Editorial Intern On weekends, those with jobs during the week go home to relax with their families. Even homeless shelters close their doors to give staffers some free time. Yet The Welcome Table Breakfast and Outreach Program at the Church of the Epiphany in downtown DC runs on Sundays, giving the homeless a place to go as well. The Welcome Table starts with a hot meal for the guest while the staff determines which area he/she needs assistance in: Mental Health, Physical Health, Loss of Employment or Education. Through partnerships with SOME, Coalition for the Homeless, Samaritan Ministries, Catholic Charities and DC General, The Welcome Table facilitates care for the mentally ill. The mentally ill who come to the church for the program on Sundays often attend its free Tuesday con


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

certs, which often produce improvement in patients. Christ House and DC General provide much of the treatment for guests of The Welcome Table who have physical illnesses. Staff reports job opportunities and career fairs in an effort to help their guests find employment. The Welcome Table works with the Washington Literacy Council and the Martin Luther King library to provide services for those learning how to read or trying to pass their GEDs. The church also has its own library full of donated books that their guests can take to further their studies. Donations are always welcomed, especially food, travel-size toiletries and detergent samples. To contact The Welcome Table, call (202) 3472635 or go to

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

Samaritan Inns 2523 14th St., NW (202) 667 - 8831 New York Ave Shelter (Men 18+) 1355–57 New York Avenue, NE (202) 832–2359



Community Services

St. Stephens Parish Church 1525 Newton St, NW (202) 737–9311,

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

Food and Friends 219 Riggs Road, NE (202) 269–2277,

Rachel’s Women’s Center 1222 11th Street, NW (202) 682–1005,

Miriam’s Kitchen 2401 Virginia Avenue, NW (202) 452–8089,

Sasha Bruce Youthwork 741 8th Street, SE (202) 675–9340,

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;


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

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

OUTREACH CENTERS N Street Village (Women) 1333 N Street, NW (202) 939–2060,

STREET SENSE August 31 - September 13, 2011

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

Charlie’s Place 1830 Connecticut Avenue, NW (202) 232–3066

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

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

Friendship House 619 D Street, SE (202) 675–9050,

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


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

SHELTER HOTLINE: 1–800–535–7252



By Zachary Davidson Editorial Intern

By Laura Thompson Osuri Street Sense Co-Founder,

Clifton Davis, or Cliff, is a Street Sense first. Joining Street Sense in April as vendor number 400. He grew up in Montgomery County, Md., and attended Richard Montgomery High School, home of the Rockets. At age 19, he went on to Marshall University in West Virginia with the help of a track scholarship. He planned to pursue a degree in sports medicine, but during his freshman year, Davis began experiencing mental health problems. He suffered what some called a nervous breakdown. Later he was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. By the end of his freshman year, Davis returned home to continue his education at Montgomery College, the local community college. He worked hard and nearly graduated. But his mental illness remained a challenge. During bipolar episodes, he spent periods living on the street and sometimes turned to drugs.

But ultimately, Davis’ love for sports helped sustain him. He found stability and fulfillment in volunteering with students on the track and field. Davis said Street Sense has also played a role in his journey back to a stable life and housing. He started selling the paper after what he describes as “the hardest winter I’ve ever had”—the winter of 2010. “I hit rock bottom. I didn’t want to be homeless anymore.” He is now in housing, sharing the rent with a roommate who also sells Street Sense. The two plan to move to College Park, where Davis hopes to one day attend the University of Maryland and finish his degree. He still faces obstacles. Though he sells Street Sense, receives a small stipend for volunteering with track and field, and receives social security benefits, money still worries him. Davis has a small college loan that he is still struggling to pay off. He said he is optimistic though. “I thank God for Street Sense for giving me a chance and a job.”

Favorite Things: Movies: Forrest Gump Books: Romeo and Juliet Food: Steak, medium rare Dog: Pit Bull Hobbies: Watching sports, zodiac signs

August 31 - September 13, 2011• Volume 8 • Issue 21 Nonprofit Org US Postage Paid Washington, DC

Street Sense 1317 G Street, NW

Washington, DC 20005

Permit #568

Mail To: Remember, only buy from badged

vendors and do not give to those panhandling with one paper. Interested in a subscription? Go to page 14 for more information.

I’m back. Well not really back. Just here on a very part-time basis until Street Sense finds a permanent executive director. Just taking a 10-hour break from playing trains and peek-a-boo to dig through financial reports and implement fundraising strategies every week. Several people have been quite surprised to see me back in the office, after 19 months away. And many asked why I decided to return. My answer is simple: I care too much for this organization to see it fail, particularly if there is something I can do to help. Funny, it sounds like something I would say about my two babies (Isaac, 3; Andrew, 9 months). But it’s true. At one time long ago before I had a husband, house or children, Street Sense was essentially my baby. I stayed up with it at all hours, making sure it got big and strong; I worked hard to make sure it had

lots of friends and was accepted by all; I made sure it always had money in pocket. And then one day, Street Sense grew up and was able to go off into the world on its own, without me (or its daddy, Ted Henson) intimately involved. But like parents of young adults know all too well, at some point you will get that 3 a.m. call. And because you care too much, you drive to the middle of nowhere to pick up your broke, bleary-eyed child, and then let him crash in your basement for a few weeks. So I guess it’s out of some strange unconditional love that I am back at Street Sense. But with the help of longtime editor Mary Otto, our new interim vendor manager Allen Hoorn (Robert, the previous manager, was called up from the Army Reserves), and our brand new managing editor Eric Falquero, it seems that Street Sense is getting back on its feet sooner than later. While some have seemed nervous about where Street Sense is currently at, I am confident all is well and is in fact on the upswing. I have been with Street Sense since the beginning. I know what it’s capable of— and I am not just saying that because I’m its mother.

HIS LONG DREAM: HOW MARTIN LUTHER KING’S DREAM HAD AN IMPACT ON A LOT OF PEOPLE By Tommy Bennett Vendor Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream impacted a lot of people. Personally, his dream gave me a lot of inspiration and strength. The first time I saw Martin Luther King Jr. was down at the Ellipse. When I saw all those people coming together, like sisters and brothers, it was a miracle. And God moved through people. This impacted my life. I saw something. A great man like that speaking to all races and colors alike. I’ll never forget what he said. He said we could all learn to live together, all races, all colors. I understand what Martin Luther King Jr.’s purpose was, and it has made a big impact in my life. I learned a lot from his speeches and what he said. And I try to carry it on and have other people hear the message too. His dream still lives on now, through the people who help others. I do that too. And I love what I do.

Because I know he loved what he did. If all of us learn to love each other, to reach out and help each other, the dream Martin Luther King had will come true for everyone. Not only for me, for everyone. Not only for me, for you too. If you open your heart up to God and let God guide you, dreams will come. That’s what Martin Luther King Jr. did; he opened up his heart and helped other people. Seeing the statute at the Ellipse made a big impact on my life. I saw all kind of people from around the world there. And I see his dream still lives on, inside of people. Hearing Martin Luther King Jr. reminded me of Jesus Christ and his seven disciples when all of them were sitting around the table, from different nations, different people. Martin Luther King Jr. was like a disciple too—he spread God’s will. That’s why I love him so much. He spoke the truth. God bless you, Martin Luther King Jr. Keep the dream on!


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