Emotional Testimony Highlights DC Council Hearing on Homeless

The D.C. Council listened to emotional testimony on the city's strategies for sheltering the homeless, including the practice of housing families in motels.

The city is required to provide shelter to those in need and uses motels, including some outside the district, when shelters are full. Advocates say that as of Jan. 15, there were 280 families at the district's general shelter and 349 in motels.

"I did not see myself in a situation like this," one woman testified. "For a long time, I was in a domestic violence situation. If I had a shelter, a place to go, I could get a job and get out of this situation. Everyone from transitional housing [says they're full]."

The woman's testimony got even more emotional when she said she would have stayed in the domestic violence situation had she known she wouldn't have anywhere to live.

Councilmember Tommy Wells visited a motel in Maryland last week and questioned whether it was the best place to house homeless families. A spokesman for Mayor Vincent Gray dismissed the move as a political stunt. Wells is running for mayor.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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