Demonstrators Demand Bigger D.C. Budget to Fight Homelessness

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Advocates gathered at D.C.'s Wilson Building, hoping to influence council members to put more money toward fighting homelessness. News4's Tom Sherwood reports.

    Dozens of demonstrators crowded the Wilson Building Thursday, demanding officials increase D.C.'s budget to combat homelessness.

    The group staged a face-to-face gallery of homeless people who need help following a brutally cold winter.

    Rising property values in the city have made it difficult for those trying to get back on their feet to pay for their own home. 

    Tamika Smalls, a mother of a 3-month-old, says she had to go to extremes to keep her and her family safe, even though she already has housing vouchers from the city.

    "We've been living place to place. In fact, I took out a loan to get a van just to have somewhere safe for us to sleep," Smalls said.

    The demonstration came as D.C. Council members prepare to vote on budgets for next year, with plans to finally close down the crowded shelter at the old D.C. General Hospital. 

    "We're starting to see people being housed slowly, but it's not enough," Samantha Davis with So Others Might Eat organization said. "We know there's not enough money in the budget for affordable housing. The best way for people to get out of homelessness is for them to find housing and be able to afford it."