October 10, 2008

This Week's News: What's in it for You?

~The Franklin Shelter may be closed, but discussion in the Council is still open and, apparently, belligerent. Councilmember Evans took Councilmember Barry to task over the shelter, saying some things that aren’t exactly the model of sophistication. Equally strange, but slightly more welcome, was the reporting on Franklin from a blogger based in California. I don’t know how the story got around, but I’m all for it.

~Californians must really want to give us a going over because another blog out of California also felt compelled to mention DC's homeless population. They quote our own David Hilfiker as stating: “Poverty is not nearly so simple as people have made it…We must not use [government assistance program’s] failure as a rationalization that relieves us of our responsibility to our fellow citizens.” I’m unfamiliar with Mr. Hilfiker personally, but he's worked at Community of Hope and Christ House (two very good organizations), and he's currently at Joseph's House.

~Our blog is a leading disseminator of information, and now we can prove it. After we broke the story about the Access to Justice Commission’s report, “Justice for All?,” it was picked up by both The Examiner and The Washington Post. There’s no way these reporters could have possibly known about this very famous and well-respected Commission’s report unless…you know, I can’t even finish that sentence. The articles are good, and they cover some of the details Greg reported two days ago.

~The Washington Times has a pretty good report on the rising number of DC residents trying to get help with utility bills. Bread for the City is one site from which these emergency funds are distributed to eligible, very low-income residents. They predict these numbers will soar during the winter months because heating costs have spiked 23%--we’ll be able to tell you from personal experience if that’s true.

~The Washington Post also has some scary news—apparently many New York non-profits are scaling back their services in the wake of the financial crisis. Everyone has been predicting that stuff like this would happen, and it looks to be only the beginning. New York has an estimated 7,000 homeless residents. D.C. has 9,000. We are also many times smaller than New York.

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