Councilman Jim Graham Concerned About Sheltering D.C.'s Homeless in Winter

The cold air in the forecast is a reminder that homeless families overwhelmed city services last year, which has Council member Jim Graham worried about this winter.

At his hearing at the CCNV Snyder shelter downtown, Graham said he’s worried the city can’t show it’s better prepared this year.

“What we're looking at today is whether or not the city is prepared to respond to a crisis of homelessness during this coming winter,” he said. “Is the city ready to respond to its legal obligation to provide shelter for families and individuals?”

City law requires shelter for anyone when the temperature falls below 32 degrees.

Graham grew frustrated when city officials called to testify declined to specify any new shelter sites or what is being spent for them. He also said Mayor Vincent Gray instructed the deputy mayor for human services not to attend the hearing. He might hold more hearings before winter.

Human Services Director Deborah Chappelle did attend the hearing and said the city is signing contracts and won't repeat last year's mistakes.

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