Inter-agency on Homelessness (ICH) Quarterly Meeting

December 12th, 2017 -- 12:30 to 3:30 PM

WHAT: QUARTERLY MEETING of DC Government’s Inter-agency Council on Homelessness

              (DC ICH: https://ich.dc.gov/)

WHEN: December 12th, 2017 from 12:30 to 3:30 PM

WHERE: 4058 Minnesota Ave NE at Department of Employment Services (DOES)

                 (Right next to the Minnesota Ave Metro Station)

DESCRIPTION: The DC ICH is an amalgamation of various government agencies, shelter providers, other homeless service providers and formerly or currently homeless people. It functions by committee and has a full council meeting each quarter. You can keep up with its MEETING SCHEDULE and various doings by visiting their WEBSITE. All meetings are open to the public. You can be placed on the listserve by e-mailing all three of the following addresses and indicating that you want to be placed on the listserv. You can specify which committee you want to receive e-mails concerning. Alternatively, you can go to the page on the website and e-mail the individual who heads that committee with your desire to receive committee updates.

ich.info@dc.gov   ich.dmhhs@dc.gov   theresa.silla@dc.gov

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The website never lists the 12:30 to 1:30 PM pre-meeting during which the homeless and the general public have the most opportunities to speak. The pre-meeting always takes place at the same location as the 2 PM meeting, with quarterly meetings rotating through different locations. Most government officials arrive between 1:45 and 2 PM during the 30 minute recess. The PUBLIC COMMENT period begins at 2 PM, with there only being a second public comment period at 3:20 PM if the rest of the agenda has been completed. IT’S HIGHLY ADVISABLE THAT ALL WHO WANT TO SPEAK TO THEIR GOVERNMENT LINE UP AT THE MIC AT 2 PM.

MORE ABOUT THE PRE-MEETING: Whereas the pre-meetings used to be sessions where the homeless and other attendees could raise any topic (pertaining to homelessness) that was of concern to them, that changed several years ago. The ICH now has set topics and guided discussions at these unadvertised pre-meetings which are attended only by meeting regulars and the few directly-affected people who are fortunate enough to find out about them. The 12/12/17 pre-meeting might be about homeless employment (a topic the Eric Sheptock has brought up often). If attendees complete the set topic early, an opportunity is sometimes given to raise other topics. It is conceivable that, if a majority of pre-meeting attendees were to firmly insist on a different topic, then the ICH would have to change course and discuss what they demand be discussed. This has never been tried since set topics became the norm.

BRIEF HISTORY: The ICH: DC Government decided in 2004, after counting 8,253 homeless people in Washington, DC, to work on ending homelessness. The Homeless Services Reform Act (HSRA) was enacted by the DC Council in 2005 and required that the ICH be formed and headed by the city administrator. The DC ICH held its first meeting in June 2006. Through a series of ups and downs, this body has helped to get DC’s homeless population down to 7,473 people in 2017 -- a full 780 people less than we had in 2004 (an average of 60 people less per year if you count from when DC Government decided to end homelessness. (DC had 5,757 homeless people in January 2007 -- seven months after this group began meeting and well before they actually began to enact any notable policies.) It’s safe to say that the ICH needs more input from the homeless and the general public.

HOMELESS HOMELESS ADVOCATE ERIC JONATHAN SHEPTOCK will not be in attendance on December 12th, 2017. He has admittedly given harsh critiques of the ICH and has been locked in a tense exchange with the ICH director since sensing the director’s passive-aggressiveness toward him in October 2015. (This person officially assumed the post of the first ever agency director on April 28th, 2014 and is the only DC Government agency director without a director’s profile on the agency website.) Eric has been taken up on a charge of sending this government official at least two undesired e-mails which qualifies as “harassment” according to DC Law and may not come in direct or indirect contact with this official during the course of the case which could stretch into July 2018. Don’t contact this person on Eric’s behalf or you’ll have him sent back to jail, with him having been locked up at the onset of this case. With the U.S. Constitution requiring that citizens be afforded “access to their government” for “redress of grievances”, the case will likely evolve into one that revolves around free speech and thereby helps many.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

1 -- You can help by informing many homeless people, poor people and concerned citizens about the meeting and taking steps to ensure that they and you attend. While there, use the pre-meeting and the 2 PM public comment period to say what YOU have to say to government and its poverty contractors about the issues of homelessness and poverty.

2 -- All commenters from the public, homeless and poor communities should line up at the microphone by 2 PM. The ICH generally expects to spend no more than 10 minutes on public comment; but, they must allow all who have comments to speak.

3 -- The BIGGEST WAY THAT YOU CAN HELP is by ensuring that there is RECORDED EVIDENCE of government not wanting to hear from its poor constituents. At least two people should be recording any time that a poor person or a member of the general public engages or tries to engage with the ICH. Any evidence that the ICH didn’t want to hear them might factor into the court case by helping to prove that Eric had to communicate in a certain manner in order to be heard and to obtain redress of grievances.

Thank you in advance for your support.