For Immediate Release
December 9, 2021
DC Council At-Large Candidate Lisa Gore
Statement on Encampment Clearings
Washington, D.C. – Today, I am joining fellow advocates, community members, and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners in the urgent call to pause the encampment clearing process. The Council had an opportunity to temporarily halt this process but instead voted to delay its decision until December 21, 2021.
The city's stated effort to expedite placing unhoused residents into housing is appropriate; however, it is clear that the CARE pilot program's implementation has been problematic. Community leaders have called for the termination of "No Tent Zones," which criminalizes homelessness and does not help in securing housing. The heavy-handed approach to encampment clearings sows fear and distrust in our unhoused community members. Some residents leave encampment sites before the clearing process occurs, further complicating the housing process. This process has also proven to be unsafe, with one resident being lifted by a front-end loader while still in his tent.
There is a need for greater transparency and oversight of the pilot program to ensure a people-first and justice-first process. Program metrics should be easily accessible and District residents should be assured that factors driving the rise in encampments are addressed.
Federal guidelines from the CDC and HUD are clear: all encampment clearings should be suspended while residents wait for housing placement. At the core, homelessness results from a lack of affordable housing and systemic barriers to entering shelters and permanent housing. The city must use all available resources and reduce long-standing financial and social obstacles to maximize affordable housing opportunities and remove barriers that disincentivize residents entering housing.
Lisa Gore is a candidate for the DC Council At-Large Democratic seat and the current Vice-Chair of ANC 3/4G. She is a retired Special Agent in Charge with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, and has significant experience investigating and oversight of HUD federal housing programs.