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News ::
Washington, DC: Housing activists arrested
10 Aug 2002
Mayday DC, a coalition for the homeless, occupied the Franklin School in downtown Washington this morning. They released six demands to the City Council and Mayor's Office.
Washington, DC: Housing activists arrested - please call mayor, council
Friday August 09, 2002 at 12:34 PM

Activists who occupied Franklin School now at Fifth District police station. How to call Mayor, City Council.

Mayday DC:
http://www.infoshop.org/maydaydc/index.html

August 9, 12 p.m. - A group of Washington, DC housing activists who occupied the Franklin School in downtown Washington this morning were arrested and escorted out of the building at 11:30. The four activists entered the unused building early this morning and locked themselves in to protest a series of recent decisions by the city government that have aggravated the mounting problem of homelessness in the district. These include the closing of La Casa, which provides services to Latina women and families and the eviction of Olive Branch House, an activist and service community that fed and provided other services to the city's homeless.

The Franklin School occupation attracted a crowd of some 25 people, who chanted and shouted support for the four activists who barricaded themselves in the building. The occupation brought a large crowd of police and firefighters, including a police helicopter.

Mayday DC, the coalition that organized the protest, said the arrestees were taken to the Fifth District police station.

Mayday DC is encouraging the public to call the station to demand release of the four, and also to call Mayor Anthony Williams at (202) 727-2980, District Council chair Linda Cropp at (202) 724-8085, and District Council member Harold Brazil at (202) 724-8156 to express opposition to district policies that are destroying services for the homeless. Washington DC has failed to maintain an adequate level of low-income housing and is instead turning over properties like the Franklin School as well as city office buildings and even DC General Hospital to private developers. Meanwhile, the district's homeless population is growing steadily into the tens of thousands.

# # # # #

Mayday DC Coalition Occupies Franklin School, Issues Six Demands to City
by by Eric Laursen 2:20pm Fri Aug 9 '02

Mayday DC, a coalition for the homeless, occupied the Franklin School in downtown Washington this morning. They released six demands to the City Council and Mayor's Office.

Mayday DC Coalition Occupies Franklin School, Issues Six Demands to City

by Eric Laursen 10:18am Fri Aug 9 '02 (Modified on 1:41pm Fri Aug 9 '02)
laursene (at) earthlink.net

Mayday DC, a coalition for the homeless, occupied the Franklin School in downtown Washington this morning. They released six demands to the City Council and Mayor's Office.

August 9, 2002, 9 a.m. - A group of activists from Mayday DC, a coalition for the homeless, occupied the Franklin School, an abandoned school building in downtown Washington, early this morning and issued a set of six demands to the City Council and Mayor's Office. The activists are former occupants of Olive Branch House, an activist and service community that fed and provided other services to the city's homeless for decades before undergoing a politically motivated eviction two days ago.

The Franklin School occupation is the first event in a day of action that will include a march to City Hall by activists for housing and the homeless. Participants include Washington Intercity Self Help (WISH), the National Coalition for the Homeless, and Adam Eidinger, Green Party candidate for U.S. Representative to Congress.

Occupying Franklin School highlights the severe shortage of low-income housing in Washington - a problem the city is making worse rather than alleviating. The school has been empty for over 20 years, yet is situated across the street from a park where Olive Branch fed an average of 125 homeless people a day throughout the past fall and winter. Mayday DC estimates well over 300 homeless frequent the eight-block area surrounding Franklin School, which nevertheless remained chained shut until this morning.

"Poverty and gentrification are overwhelming the residents of Washington, DC," says Jamie Lougher, a Mayday DC organizer and former Olive Branch resident. "Over the past 10 years the number of children living in poverty in the district has increased 29%. Hundreds of families in Columbia Heights alone have been forced from their homes by housing inspectors for living in overcrowded substandard housing. Meanwhile, the city has done nothing to create and preserve affordable housing as thousands of units are lost to gentrifiers - developers of luxury buildings. The city is cutting back human services like hospitals and shelters, for instance by closing La Casa - the only bilingual shelter with drug treatment on-site.

Mayday DC has issued the following demands:

1) That the city commit to a program of at least one-for-one replacement of affordable housing lost to developers.

2) That the city immediately end warehousing of vacant, unused city property and instead place it in a land trust to protect it from predatory developers, real estate speculators, and parasitic "community development corporations."

3) That public officials commit to providing a full range of services including supportive housing for the disabled, treatment on demand for those with drug and alcohol problems, and assistance in locating and securing both housing and employment. An immediate commitment to right to shelter must be reflected in the 2002 Reform Act for Homeless Services.

4) That the city pass a living wage law guaranteeing working people a wage that allows them to support themselves and their children.

5) That La Casa remain open and be given a permanent site that will allow it to expand its services to Latina women and families.

6) That the city provide Olive Branch with a leased space that will allow it to restart the services it has had to suspend due to its eviction.

www.infoshop.org/maydaydc/index.html
See also:
http://www.infoshop.org/maydaydc/index.html
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