Dan Kerr, a founder of Food Not Bombs in Cleveland and writer of Derelict Paradise is now teaching at American University in Washington DC and working on a history project of the Center for Creative Non-Violence Shelter. Here are where the actual oral histories are kept about homelessness in DC. Professor Kerr cut his teeth in Cleveland where he would interview people after the meal downtown about homelessness. He learned a great deal about the conditions of the shelters in Cleveland and then wrote his book about the history of homelessness in the city.
Now, he has turned to a way bigger problem--homelessness in our nation's capital. Only San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City have a bigger problem with people living outside than DC. The problem is that the people who can end homelessness in America drive by the problem everyday on their way to work. Dan's students have been doing interviews and posting them on this blog. The other site gives a history of downtown including the closing of Franklin Circle shelter and the troubled history of the CCNV shelter. CCNV had all the high aspirations when it was created, but has had regular leadership issues. They have had confrontations with the City and federal government, and have seemed to be under threat for 35 years. Dan put together a nice look at the issues faced by activists in Downtown DC. The shelter founded by peace activists and Mitch Snyder is looking at a plan for the next five years and will use the information collected to put in place a strong platform.
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