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Commentary :: Human Rights
Ledge Sit in DC Government Building Needs Support
22 Dec 2004
Help Support DC fight for shelter. A homeless activist is currently doing a hunger strike while sitting on a ledge in the Wilson Building (city hall and mayor's offices), until there is shelter in SW DC. Join the fight
On November 3 yet another homeless shelter was closed down in Washington DC. MayDay DC and other activists have been fighting to have it reopened for over two months through lobbying, outreach, and direct action, including reopening the Randall Shelter themselves and occupying this same ledge in the Wilson building (city council and mayor's offices) once before. These efforts delayed the sale of the shelter and brought a lot of media attention to homeless issues in DC.
Today, December 21 the city council held their final vote. Before this happened a member of MayDay DC was able to get out on a ledge inside the Wilson building, at least 100 feet in the air. She is now doing a hunger strike on the ledge until there is shelter in SW DC.
Support is needed in DC at the Wilson Building, `1350 Penn. There is a lot of press there today because baseball is also scheduled for reconsideration today.

Come on out and support shelter for DC's poorest residents. We've already had one hypothermia death this year, let's not have any more!

Support is also needed in spreading the word and contacting the mayor and city council. All of their info can be found at and emails are below. We need as much help as possible in our fight.

Here are more details:
With little public notice, the DC Council Committee on Economic Development (Chair: Harold Brazil) this morning marked up and approved the public resolution to sell the former Randall school and shelter to the Corcoran. The Committee took this vote without holding a roundtable to explore any details of the deal to sell the 150,000+ square foot building to the Corcoran for $6.2 million.

The only member of the Committee to vote "NO" was Councilmember Adrian Fenty (Ward 4). COHHO thanks Councilmember Fenty for his support! "YES" votes were: Harold Brazil, Jim Graham, and Kevin Chavous.

The resolution to sell Randall will come up for final vote by the full Council tomorrow, Tuesday 12/21, at the Council's legislative session. The legislative session is preceeded by the Committee of the Whole, which is due to start at 10 AM but will most likely start late.

Please join MayDay DC, COHHO,and others at tomorrow's Council session. We will fight this vote- the deal should not pass as is, if at all.
(1350 Penn. Ave
NW, 5th Floor Counci Chambers)

Additionally, you can register your concerns with the DC Council by emailing the members at:

hbrazil (at); jim (at);
jevans (at);
kpatterson (at); afenty (at);
vorange (at);
sambrose (at); kpchavous (at);
sallen (at);
lcropp (at); sreich (at);
dcatania (at);
carol.schwartz (at); pmendelson (at);

Tell them you are disgusted by the sale of Randall and that shelter is desperately needed in the immediate area of Randall NOW!


On 11/03/04 DC Mayor Williams closed the 170-bed Randall Shelter for men (65 I St., SW) to clear the 150,000+ square-foot building for sale to the Corcoran Gallery of Art for $6.2 million. Randall was the only men's shelter near the SW waterfront.
With Randall closed, homeless men in SW are at increased risk of death and illness from the cold this winter.

PR 15-1019 lays out terms for the sale Randall School to the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The Corcoran plans to use Randall starting in May 2006 as swing space for its art school during construction of a new wing at its downtown site.

Key Provisions of PR 15-1019:

- Declares Randall "no longer required for public purposes;"

- Approves the sale of Randall to the Corcoran for $6.2 million;

- Requires that within 10 years the Corcoran must develop Randall into a "mixed-use development that will accommodate residential, museum and art school uses;"

- Requires that 20% of all residential units
developed at Randall be sold or rented to households with incomes at or below 80% of
the area median income (e.g., $68,320 for a family of 4); and

- Gives the District 40% of any profit realized by the Corcoran from sale of any part of any development or part of Randall.

Some Reasons Why this is Bullshit:
-There are still at least forty former residents of Randall who continue to sleep out in the cold near Randall Shelter. There is no shelter available for these men and a few women in the area in which they live. There is a public need for the Randall School- SHELTER.

-There has been no independent appraisal of the Randall School. $6.2 million is based on 5-6 year old assessments. The large building is right in the center of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, just a few blocks from the proposed baseball stadium and near many new condos that are designed to force low income communities out of the area.

-- The AMI (Area Median Income) covers DC as well as surrounding counties in MD, VA and WV. In 2004, 80% of the DC metro area's AMI is $68,320 annually for a family of four. This is $12,620 more than DC's 2004 median family of four income of $55,700. This means that "affordable" housing is not affordable at all.

The issues DC housing brings up are not isolated to DC alone. This tactic of gentrification is being used throughout the nation, our struggles are connected and we can support each other.
See also:

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