- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2016

D.C. activists are organizing online specifically to oppose Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan to address homelessness in the nation’s capital.

Several websites have appeared on the Internet since Ms. Bowser last month announced her plan to close the decrepit homeless shelter at the former D.C. General Hospital and establish new facilities in seven of the District’s eight wards. The new sites include HomewardDC.com, ObservatoryCircle.com and DCHomelessPlan.com.

The Bowser plan has been met with criticism and resistance by residents and activists who object to the administration’s lack of openness in detailing how the locations for the homeless shelters were chosen. Members of the public were not involved in the selection process, and Ms. Bowser presented the plan as a done deal.

At ObservatoryCircle.com, activists stress that do not oppose the closing of D.C. General — a sentiment echoed by opponents of the mayor’s plan around the city.

“The residents of the Massachusetts Avenue Heights neighborhood are united with the entire city in our commitment to helping address homelessness in DC. We have a track record of welcoming service centers in our neighborhood. We also know that the only way to truly solve this complex problem is by working openly and honestly with communities to develop financially responsible solutions that function for both the homeless and the residents,” the ObservatoryCircle.com site says.

“Unfortunately, the plan being advanced by the Mayor’s office falls short on all of these fronts. The more you look into this plan, the more ill-conceived it appears to be. If it is forced upon the District, it risks becoming a debacle that will fail to meet the needs of our homeless population, waste taxpayer dollars and harm communities citywide,” the site says.

The Washington Times reported last week that Massachusetts Heights currently encompasses about 50 percent of Ward 3’s homeless services. Under the Bowser plan, it would encompass 80 percent of those services, which residents said is too much.

Massachusetts Heights is a small triangle of mostly single-family homes bordered by Observatory Circle to the south and Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues.

Meanwhile, HomewardDC.com attacks Ms. Bowser’s plan as fiscally “irresponsible.”

“We deserve answers now. Not after the plan is in place and tax dollars are being spent,” the website says.

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