The quorum: Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Jerry Sroufe (6B02), James Loots (6B03, Parliamentarian), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04, secretary), Steve Hagedorn (6B05), Nick Burger (6B06, treasurer), Kelly Waud (6B07), Chander Jayaraman (6B08, vice-chair), Daniel Ridge (6B09, Chair) and Denise Krepp (6B10).
Department of Human Services Chief of Staff Larry Handerhan spoke on the infrastructure and services available to homeless people in the District as well as reforms to family shelter services.
Handerhan asked everyone present to enter and save the number for the shelter hotline (202-399-7093) in their mobile phones. He said that it was appropriate to contact the shelter hotline for any DC resident outside needing shelter, transportation to a shelter or a welfare check. Callers are not required to engage with those for whom they request a welfare check, nor are they required to wait for officers to arrive. If a person does not seem to be safe, Handerhan said, call 911.
The District is one of only three regions in the country with a right to shelter, he said, meaning a bed will be found for anyone who wants one. At the same time, it is not illegal to be homeless in the District, and people have the right to refuse shelter. He said in winter shelter for couples is available. There is also an arrangement with animal shelters to keep pets safe, although for everyone’s comfort they are not permitted to remain with people.
The Chief of Staff responded to questions from Commissioner Denise Krepp (6B10), who on the morning of Nov. 11th found Helen Buchanan in a state of distress on a bench near to Union Station. Handerhan said he was unable to provide Krepp with details for reasons of privacy, other than to note that her cause of death had not yet been officially determined.
Handerhan said the Oct. 30th closure of DC General (1900 Massachusetts Ave. SE), the former District hospital turned homeless shelter, is more of a means to an end than the goal itself. He noted that every family that was in DC General went to long-term family housing, aside from the 10-12 families that were moved into apartment-style shelters for reasons of accommodation. He said the goal is ward-based apartment-style short-term housing, such as the three sites open in wards 4, 7 and 8. These shelters host 50 families (rather than 260, as at DC General) allowing for better and more specific attention to their needs.
Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA)
ABRA Resource Officer Sarah Fashbaugh appeared before the ANC to remind the assembled of the ABRA Complaint Hotline (202-329-6347), which she said is answered 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. seven days a week. Three teams of investigators can be dispersed to quickly respond to concerns about trash, noise, licensing or a business not following a settlement agreement. She added that if callers are unsure if a concern is under the jurisdiction of ABRA, operators would be happy to confirm or redirect.
She reminded the commission that 2019 is a big year in terms of license renewal, as in March 2019 all licensees for on-premises liquor sales with the exception of taverns and night clubs are up for renewal; the latter are up in September 2019.
In the course of the conversation with ABRA, Daniel Ridge (6B09, Chair) noted that the Office of the DC Auditor reached out to ANC 6B to do a random audit of the application of the ‘great weight’ clause of DC Code, which states that issues and concerns raised in recommendations of the ANC should be given great weight during deliberations by government entities. The Auditor gave the ANC a list of cases heard by the commission and asked 6B to respond as to specific elements of the clause, such as if the ANC was notified properly, when they were notified and the response from the relevant party. The ANC had responded to the survey.
Tim Underwood informed the meeting about Hope One Source (hopeonesource.org), a text-messaging service that can customize text alerts for available District services. Underwood said that despite the abundance of assistance available in the community, many people he had met sleeping outside were there because they had been unable to connect with one or more services, such as access to affordable housing or legal support. The Hope One Source service is part of the official DHS outreach strategy.
Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04) announced the establishment of the ‘Friends of Virginia Avenue Park’ (FVAP) organization to provide oversight and support for the park, including the community garden and dog park. The next meeting will be held Wednesday, Jan. 23, when officers will be elected. To join or get more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Friends of VA Park section of Oldenburg’s website, kirsten6B.org.
Hill East Task Force
In regard to a Washington Post article which reported that the Mayor was in negotiations with Republicans to slip funding to bring the NFL back to RFK Stadium into a federal spending bill, Hill East Task Force (HETF) Chair Denise Krepp said DMPED said they knew nothing about such plans. In regard to questions about Reservation 13, Krepp said representatives assured her the city would revert to the Master Plan now that the location for Amazon HQ2 had been selected.
DMPED is expected to attend the March 2019 HETF meeting together with Office of Special Victims Services and Justice Grants (OVSJG) to discuss outreach in regard to the DC Jail. That outreach will be citywide, Krepp said. Outreach is to begin January 2019, and Hill East residents have questions about timeframe and next steps once responses are delivered.
Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee
ANC 6B representative to Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) Chander Jayaraman said that a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was negotiated with Stanton-East Banc prior to construction at the Hine Project (700 Pennsylvania Ave. SE). The agreement called for a minimum of 50 spots to be provided to vendors at Eastern Market. Jayaraman said that the developer claims that a promised trust was not established, eliminating the obligation to provide parking to market vendors; instead, parking was provided to flea market vendors. EMCAC has asked Jayaraman to collect documents related to the MOA in order to determine the spirit of the agreement when made.
He said EMCAC will need to re-establish conversations about budget lines, South Hall merchants lease agreements due to the appointment of former Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Keith as Director of the Department of General Services (DGS), the agency overseeing operations at Eastern Market.
Finally, Jayaraman said that EMCAC is beginning to plan for the ten-year anniversary of the re-opening of Eastern Market after the 2008 fire.
The next meeting of ANC 6B will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, January 15 at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE). Visit anc6b.org for more info, or find @ANC6B on Twitter.