October 2015 Meeting Report

The following is a summary of ANC3B’s October meeting. The official meeting minutes will be posted after being approved at the November 12 meeting.

Panel Discussion on Homeless Services

In response to concerns about the needs of homeless people in and around Glover Park, Commissioner Brian Turmail (3B-05) gathered a panel of experts to help the Commission and residents better understand what is being done and can be done for the District’s homeless citizens.

The panel included: Rev. Dottie Yunger, Associate Pastor of Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church and director of St. Luke’s Mission Center; Dallas Williams, Deputy Administrator of Homeless Services, DC Department of Human Services (DHS); Judy Williams, Homeless Services Coordinator, DC Office of Behavioral Health (which deals with problems of addiction and mental illness); Jean-Michel Giraud, President and CEO of Friendship Place; and Capt. David Sledge of MPD’s 2nd District. Each one provided a unique view into a world of activity aimed at helping homeless individuals, families, and veterans get housing, jobs, services, and support.

If there was one clear message shared by all it was that being homeless is not a crime. It is an increasingly serious social problem, particularly for individuals and families in DC where housing costs are rising rapidly.

Much of the private sector work in our area to help the homeless is coordinated through Friendship Place in Tenleytown, in partnership with District agencies and faith-based resources like Metropolitan Memorial Methodist Church, of which St. Luke’s is part, Catholic Charities, and Georgetown Ministries. Mr. Giraud gave an impressive overview of Friendship Place’s work, including the fact that he expects all known homeless veterans in the District will be housed by the end of this year. Friendship Place aims to find jobs within 60 days and housing within 90 days for the people they help. Both Giraud and Dallas Williams of DHS asked people to let them know of available affordable housing units.

Rev. Yunger described how the St. Luke’s Mission Center has evolved from a church to the headquarters office of Friendship Place and a center offering a range of services beyond just housing a handful of homeless men. She noted that St. Luke’s can’t accept unsolicited food from neighbors, but that St. Luke’s welcomes home-cooked meals by pre-arrangement and that they are in need of men’s winter coats. She said there is now a women’s residence at Metropolitan Memorial Methodist Church and a Campus Kitchen project there in which students and other volunteers work with the chef to use food from restaurants and other substantial donors to prepare hundreds of healthy meals for homeless people.

But the most pressing problem by far is the approach of winter. The emergency hypothermia center at St. Luke’s will not operate this year for a variety of reasons. That means when the temperature falls into dangerous territory, the homeless men in Ward 3 will have to make their way over to the hypothermia shelter in Columbia Heights. Clearly there is a need to find another closer location as soon as possible, but absent that the District will be continuing its practice of running buses and vans to transport people from the streets to shelters when the weather is freezing. Capt. Sledge said that the best phone number to report people sleeping outside is 911.

He also said that if you call 911 to report a person on the street who is acting strangely or seems in distress or in need of help, MPD is trained to assess the situation and make referrals to the appropriate agency or resource. If a homeless person is acting aggressively or seems a danger to himself or others, MPD can remove him from the street, but the aggressive behavior must be observed by MPD. You can also use the contacts below to report a problem or request other help.

We strongly suggest that you acquaint yourselves with the vast amount of work being done to end homelessness in the District. Please take action if you know about people sleeping outside this winter. Here are some key links and phone numbers you can use to report problems or offer support and assistance:

Friendship Place
4713 Wisconsin Avenue NW

St. Luke’s Mission Center
3655 Calvert Street NW

District Government Homeless Services
Overall homeless outreach 202-698-4166
Dallas Williams direct line 202-698-4142 (office)

Mental health outreach

Report homeless encampments
202-727-7973 (office)

Metropolitan Police Department
CALL 911 to report homeless individuals sleeping outside in the cold or in need of assistance
Or contact 2nd District Watch Commander 202-438-4421 (cell)

Calls for Comment and Upcoming Votes RE ABRA Liquor License Issues

In November, the ANC will vote on two liquor license issues.

First, we will propose changing the moratorium on issuing liquor licenses in Glover Park to restrict only tavern and night club licenses; restaurant licenses would no longer be capped by the moratorium.

The Glover Park Liquor License Moratorium was established in the late 1990s to deal with out-of-control problems with peace, order and quiet due to nightclubs and bars. Preventing new liquor licenses from being issued is a tool offered by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration on a temporary basis to help relieve stress on neighborhoods from an over-concentration of licensed establishments. Right now, there are 24 liquor licenses issued for our small commercial center — nearly 50% of all storefront locations on Wisconsin Avenue. Our moratorium has been renewed four times and is due to expire in February 2016. At recent renewals the ANC has gradually been removing restrictions against issuing certain kinds of licenses and making more restaurant licenses available. With much stability returned to the commercial area on Wisconsin Avenue, we feel comfortable requesting that the moratorium be renewed for the maximum 5 year period and only prevent the issuing of new licenses for taverns, nightclubs, and full-service liquor stores.

Second, we will consider a request from Mad Fox Taproom for permission to have live entertainment on selected special occasions (maximum 6 per year) with the caveat that the sound must be contained within the building. The dates being requested include one this year, New Year’s Eve 2015, and six in 2016: Mardi Gras (February 13), Mad Fox Anniversary (August 19), Oktoberfest (October 1), Halloween (October 29), Thanksgiving Eve (November 23), and New Year’s Eve 2016.

The comment period on both proposals is open until November 12 at info@anc3b.org