Nadeau Calls for Delay in McPherson Encampment Clearing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. — D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau, D-Ward 1, issued the following statement regarding National Park Service and District Government plans to clear the McPherson Square encampment of people who are unhoused:
“Clearing encampments before people are placed in housing is damaging to our shared goals, and doing it during hypothermia season is inhumane.
“Many of the residents living in tents at McPherson Square do not yet have alternative housing lined up. Some of them arrived there after being pushed out of other encampments cleared by the city. Even those who have obtained vouchers are highly unlikely to be able to move into new housing before they are forcibly evicted on February 15.
“Every time the government does this, we break down the little trust we have managed to build with people who are living on the street. After years and decades of false promises of help, it is no wonder that unhoused residents do not trust city workers and social workers who tell them we have a home for them.
“I am joining the voices of many others in asking the Mayor’s Office and the National Park Service to delay action until April, which was the original date. I am also asking NPS and the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services to devote resources and time to ensure that the residents of the McPherson Square encampment are given the support and encouragement they need to attain safe, permanent housing. Otherwise, we are simply traumatizing people and pushing them from one encampment to another and doing little to end homelessness.
“In addition to delaying the clearing of the encampment, I am asking National Park Service to do its part in dealing with public safety issues at encampments on their land. Neglecting the safety issues – most of which come from individuals who are not residents of the encampments – and then blaming residents for them is disingenuous and damaging.
“I want to thank Councilmember Robert White, the chair of the council’s Housing Committee, for visiting McPherson Square, speaking with residents there, and working to support them. I also want to thank the many advocates and nonprofit agencies that are bringing their voices to bear on this critical issue of dignity and safety for fellow residents.”