Don’t dis­place the home­less

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

Re­gard­ing the Feb. 15 Metro ar­ti­cle “Dis­trict de­mol­ishes en­camp­ment”:

I am puz­zled by the logic of re­mov­ing home­less peo­ple from their de facto res­i­dence — un­der the White­hurst Free­way. There have al­ways been peo­ple un­der the free­way. I first en­coun­tered the en­camp­ment when I was fresh out of col­lege and rid­ing my bike ev­ery­where 30 years ago.

The no­tion that the home­less who lived there were en­croach­ing on a pub­lic space is a joke — there was no easy way to ac­cess those tents be­cause they were dis­creetly sit­u­ated in a place with very few pedes­tri­ans. You had to go out of your way to get to them. Nor were most of the tents vis­i­ble from any road. There’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween re­mov­ing piles of trash and re­mov­ing peo­ple with­out a new place that is ac­cept­able to them. Guess which one the Dis­trict chose to do. So much for may­oral spokesman Kevin Har­ris’s logic: “The health and well-be­ing of all Dis­trict res­i­dents, in­clud­ing in­di­vid­u­als ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness as well as those who ac­cess the pub­lic space, is an im­por­tant prin­ci­ple.” Whit­ney Red­ding, Falls Church

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