- The Washington Times - Friday, January 28, 2005


Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday moved to ensure that homeless people in the District are able to find shelter more quickly.

Mr. Williams presented his “Homeless No More” plan, which is the result of work by a wide range of people — from homeless advocates to business leaders. Among the initiatives will be developing or subsidizing 6,000 new permanent housing units.

“Our goal is to transform our housing accommodations for displaced or homeless people” said Mr. Williams, a Democrat. “Emergency shelters will be replaced with homeless assistance centers.”

The goal is to end homelessness in the District by 2014.

Mr. Williams said the city will emphasize preventing homelessness and moving people into permanent housing quickly, rather than keeping them in temporary shelters.

One center for homeless assistance will be based at the renovated Gales School near Union Station, where Mr. Williams made his announcement.

That central location “makes a statement,” said Ed Orzechowski, president of Catholic Charities.

“It’s a recognition that the homeless and disadvantaged are part of us,” Mr. Orzechowski said. “They are part of a community.”

Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, called the mayor’s program an important step from emergency shelters to affordable housing.

“The mayor has provided the leadership, and now it’s up to us to work with him to get it done,” Miss Roman said.

But not all in the mayor’s audience were impressed.

“To be practically honest, we’ve been hearing that for a long, long time,” said Phyllis Brown, 53, who is staying in a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

More than 20 women and children from the shelter interrupted the mayor’s announcement with questions about why they were being forced to move from a downtown center to what they called a “drug-infested area” of Southeast.

Miss Brown said the women received letters Thursday notifying them that they would be moved Monday. The mayor’s aides planned to meet with the women to sort out their grievances.

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