Overcrowded, Dirty Conditions Reported at D.C. Shelter

Homeless shelter at near double its capacity

By Elaine Reyes
|  Friday, Mar 12, 2010  |  Updated 11:01 AM EDT
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Overcrowded, Dirty Conditions Reported at D.C. Shelter

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District officials are working to place dozens of homeless families in alternative housing to ease conditions at a local shelter. This week, close to 200 families called D.C. General home, but it's a family shelter meant for a maximum capacity of 135, according to the Washington Post.

They blame high unemployment, rising evictions and even the recent record snowfalls on the shelter’s overcrowding.

An article in this week’s Washington City Paper revealed more problems than just an influx of new people. Residents complained to the paper of mold, peeling paint, roaches and mice in the living quarters.

Councilmember Tommy Wells, who chairs the Committee on Human Services, recently toured the facility and told the paper, “I saw mold and ceiling damage was in the stairwells." Wells added that he heard concerns over cleanliness, plumbing problems, and called it “controlled chaos.”

D.C. General was once a hospital for indigent residents before it became a homeless shelter. Some families get a private room but others have to share living space with many others.

District officials already moved some families this week to temporary apartments and hope to re-locate more by the weekend. 

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