More Homeless Women

I spent the early part of my Saturday night watching television in my luxurious home in Friendship Heights. My roommate was entertaining a guest on our porch. I heard screaming. The roommate and friend rushed into the house to tell me that a homeless woman was in front of our house and yelling at passers-by.

Indeed, there was an elderly woman with two shopping carts and a skirt that looked like it had been found in the dumpster behind a Wet Seal in front of my house. If anyone went near her carts she would screech "Gettttt Awayyyyyy!" at a volume usually reserved for rape whistles. The situation was exacerbated by her sluggish pace. It's one thing for an elderly crazy type to be slow, but this one was actually doubling back. She would take one cart 20 yards, stop, go back to retrieve cart #2, double back, and then go back again to retrieve whatever fell out of her carts on the long journey. This woman took over 15 minutes to make it down our very small block.

Naturally, a few of my roommates and the aforementioned guest went out to the porch to gawk. I mean, wouldn't you do the same?

The crazy homeless lady did not hesitate to tell me I was full of "dirty, filthy rot" and that I had to "get out; you don't own the place anyways." Although she was right, I'm only a renter, I didn't feel the need to abandon my suburban fortress. From there, she warned me of the many demons hiding in the weeds of our treebox.

By the time she was in front of our local cafe, she had screamed "Get Away!" a dozen more times and threatened to hit an older neighbor with a folded-up chair. Suffice to say, her addition to the neighborhood was very unwelcome. We just got rid of the last obscene homeless lady. Why replace her with one that actually threatens violence?

I know every city in the world has problems with the homeless. I also understand that ignoring the problem doesn't do anyone any good. As much as I hate making eye contact with someone asking me for spare change, I understand that the problem is there and it's not going away.

For me to admit that much, I think it would do the pro-DC crowd a lot of good to admit that the homelessness problem in Washington is drastic. According to Wikipedia, for every 100 DC residents, there's one homeless person. That's double the rate of New York City.

I'm sick of it. I shouldn't have to be yelled at on my porch by some gray-haired crazy lady in a miniskirt and I shouldn't have to apologize to people asking me for change when I'm fresh out of quarters.

Where am I going with all this? Well, I finally admitted to myself that I may be in DC for a while. So I registered to vote down here. As much as I will miss voting for murderers, it's time to move on. So, goodbye Congressional representation and hello 2006 mayoral/Ward 3 elections!

My primary concern as a voter isn't education, transportation, or how to properly apologize for assfucking taxpayers to the tune of $611,000,000. No, my primary concern is homelessness. I know there's no easy fix, but something must be done. If I'm having such a problem with it, I can only imagine how the people on the street feel.

So, um, who should I vote for? All advice appreciated.



    I have been bitching and moaning about homelessness since I moved to this hellhole 1.5 yrs ago. And sadly, neither of the two leading mayoral candidates (Fenty & Cropp) mention homelessness in their issues/vision page. It's like everyone just accepts it as an unfixable part of life, like the homeless as human pigeons.

    I hate being harrassed for change every time I leave my house, and I'm sure it's no picnic to be homeless. We apparently need more shelters and better enforcement of loitering, public urination, and vagrancy laws. It's for our safety and wellbeing as well as theirs.

    And the baseball stadium is probably my #2 gripe. Just give all district residents $1000 if you're itching to blow that kind of cash, that'd make me happier. Eff the Nats, let 'em move to NoVa.

  2. It is a huge problem. I think more shelters may help resolve at least part of it. There arent enough shelters in DC. Also rent is out of control here and that trickles down.

  3. I think we should give them change if we have it. It certainly wont kill us to do without a fucking five dollar frapaccino once in a while.

  4. AnonymousJuly 10, 2006


    Here's an idea up your alley: Homeless Women Gone Wild!

    Btw, I was always amused to see illegal immigrants from taking whizzes on my building when I lived in D.C. Sorry, the "undocumented" hoodlums took whizzes.....

    So please, let's make a bigger deal of public urination--unless it's homeless women.

  5. i used to know a guy who, intead of giving money to homeless people on the street, he gave them business cards for the shelter/kitchen he worked at.

  6. AnonymousJuly 10, 2006

    Ok, I can do one better than public urination ... I had one of the homeless take a public crap on my front porch last week! I walked out the door and WOW! there it was !

    Yep, VA is looking good again ... REAL SOON

  7. AnonymousJuly 10, 2006

    It's about time someone has taken a stand on this important issue!

  8. AnonymousJuly 10, 2006

    maybe you should vote for the homeless woman. ever think of that?

  9. huh. as much as I hate DC. it never crossed my mind that homelessness was much of a problem here. i mean. you hardly ever see them. and even my small midwest hometown had a crazy lady or two. that's called charm.

    i spent the last several years of my life (and pine for that place every day) in California -- where temperate weather, liberal handouts of cash, easy access to drugs, the ability to collect cans for deposit (and the rising price of aluminum) and counter culture anti-housing hippies all equals LOTS AND LOTS of homeless people. kids, adults, teenagers. there everywhere. in every neighborhood. there is a huge population of punk kids that decide to spend a summer living on the streets that descend on the Haight and Telegraph every summer.

    good times, i tell you. you learn to sort of love 'em. everyone has their neighborhood homeless person that they think of as their protectorate.

    but seriously, compared to all of that, DC doesn't have anything on California. DC seems positively homeless person free! (it also seems positively homeless person free for those of us that remember the 80s in DC. you'd think with the rising costs of housing here -- you'd have mpre homeless. and yet when DC was affordable, you actually had MORE.)

  10. AnonymousJuly 10, 2006

    I noticed you convinently forgot to mention that, acording to those wikipedia stats, the homeless rate in Boston is higher than in DC.

  11. AnonymousJuly 10, 2006


    How is he at all taking a stand. All Rusty did was point out an obvious problem that everyone was already aware of. Its not like hes actually going to do anything about it.

  12. 1. DC1974, we've obviously had quite different experiences. Where I'm from, Washington is notorious for its homelessness (even though Boston has the same rate of homelessness.)

  13. I don't know why I put a "1." there. There's no "2."

  14. AnonymousJuly 10, 2006

    There is a 2...vote for Barry! If the city is going to hell anyway, let's help it along.

  15. AnonymousJuly 10, 2006

    "even though Boston has the same rate of homelessness"

    No Boston has a higher rate according to the wikipedia numbers. That being said there are a lot of homeless people in this city. Does DC really have a national reputation for having a large homeless population?

    Also, I completely agree with DC1974. Anyone who has ever spent time in San Francisco has seen the extremely aggressive panhandling that takes place. Homeless people there will get right in your face. DC might proportionately have a higher homeless population but the homeless are a much bigger problem out there.

  16. San Fran's homeless population is way smaller according to the Wikipedia entry. I was pretty surprised at how much worse homelessness was on the Pacific compared to the better coast.

    And Boston has a transient for every 97 people. Worse than DC's, but not by a statistically signifigant amount.

    And Cape Cod has had its homelessness problems too. I've had homeless family members and homeless bff's, so I'm aware the problem is not DC-centric. But it's something I care about and something that I want to see progress on.

  17. Got here from a link on a blog that I got from a link on a blog.

    Right when I moved to DC to go to school, my family was approached by a homeless person. We gave him (or her? We honestly couldn't tell) two dollars, and all the food left over from the road trip. That, paired with a news story I've seen about the unwillingness of homeless people to work for money (I can't remember the report or the city), has led me to carry around extra granola bars and things, which I give to homeless people instead of money. That is, when they say they're hungry.

    I have no pity for those who have thrown it back at me, screamed at me, and even spit on me. I know I sound like a horrible person, but I can't believe that people could put drugs, booze, or whatever ahead of their own lives. But I'm a young idealist.

    And I completely agree with Taylor (nice name!). I personally think that unless the building poses a direct danger, that baseball building is the biggest waste of money I have ever seen.

  18. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    It is a national disgrace, and many of the homeless are war vets.

    Im basically o.k. with the lying,cheating and stealing of D.C.,It was a practical choice to face monetary and political fact.

    but the look the other way attitude of this City to some of those most in need of care and concern sickens me.

    D.C. Needs a Bea Gatty.

    Like the White House needs an actual President, accountable to the voters. Call me a pessimist, but I hold almost no hope for either.

    D.C. government may be the only city to rival New Orleans in terms of corruption.

    The poor of the city are being slowly driven out. I know; my husband has worked on their low income housing for years. The Tide it is a Changinnn.....

    The poor should flee and the middle class should shake in their feragamo's.

    And the beat goes on.

    We need a political party with the courage of its convictions and we need representatives OF the People to speak FOR the People again.

    PEOPLE (VOTERS) We may not send them on golf holidays in Scottland, but we DO pay their salary, and we DO NOT HAVE TO VOTE FOR THEM.

  19. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    Each and every one has a story to tell. The number of Nam Vets homeless in D.C. is epic, many have PTSD, still more were put out of mental hospitals when the Fedral funds dried up.

    Don't judge em until you hear their experience as patriotic Americans.

    PTSD is being routinely ignored in Iraq now. The soldier at the center of the rape and murder allegation, had some doccumented emotional issues before entering the military.

    If it breathes our armed forces will take it.

    Why do you think Amnesty is the only subject for discussion in D.C.?

    We need people so desperate they will serve a country that completely screwed so far; two generations of vets.

    I mean, really, who the hell cares of gays get married or some yahoo burns a flag? Not I.

    Straigh people everywhere need to get over the notion that these people mean to convert us.


    Congress shot down raising the minimum wage for a reason.

    (the infamous "jobs American's won't do)

    I wouldn't clean up vomit for $5 an hr, true. I have other options, not all Americans do.

    And letting our borders go unprotected (not to mention our Ports)...........is just STUPID.

    And the cost to those who EMPLOY undoccumented workers looks pretty silly when we compare what it cost Janet Jackson for her wardrobe malfunction.




    The ship of State is floundering.

  20. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    The homeless are not a problem, the are a result of a problem.

    Do the damn math, you can trace most of D.C.'s homeless to three wars.

    We let our Vets down BIGTIME..

    And as we type, we are letting our troops down. Torture, humilliation, rape and murder..........can you say........Viet Nam?

    It is the net effect of a flawed choice, the "Decider" is an idiot.

    And Chaney is freeking dangerous, to the whole freeking war. Research the Carlylse Group.

    I probably will not be back for awhile.

    Every single time I metion those guys I get serious red flags.

    Have big fun.

  21. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    Whenever I see a homeless man w/ a sign reading, "Vietnam Vet" I believe him.

    Don't believe Randy about the homelessness problem? Visit the men's room in the public library. I'm talking to you, Nadia.

  22. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    rusty, why don't you vote for the guy who would allow a convicted child molestor live next door to you, but not let you be informed? After all, you would have no problem with letting your kids (assuming you had some) play outside with a pervert living next door.

  23. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    Rusty -- Don't stop complaining about this issue. The homeless haven't had a truly great advocate for the homeless since Mitch Cnyder died in the 80's.

    DO encourage people to get off their asses and give some volunteer time. Yes, this is a problem the government SHOULD be fixing. But in the meantime, you can make a difference.

    And DC1974, I kind of sort of know what you mean, though I'm not sure I agree. I spent a lot of time in Santa Cruz a few years ago and was kind of know\cked out by the number of homeless kids on drugs. I'm not in much of a position to say that these kids has more options than the homeless people in D.C., but they do seem to be younger and more energetic and....oh, fuck it. Homelessness sure seemed to be a goddamn conscious choice for an awful lot of those kids. Wish I could say the same in these parts.

  24. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    Maybe there ARE more homeless people in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and even Boston than in DC. I'm from CA and I won't deny that homelessness is a HUGE problem there. But to say that it isn't a problem in DC simply because there aren't as many homeless people here as somewhere else is doing a disservice to us all.

  25. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    It's not doing a disservice to me.

  26. Who to vote for? Anyone but the incumbent.

  27. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    Rusty for president!

  28. If you are really interested in solutions to the homelessness and affordable housing problem, you should see what the Washington Interfaith Network is doing, including efforts to hold all the mayoral candidates accountable for promises each of them have made on this issue, including dedicating $197 million for affordable housing and transitional housing.

  29. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    One shoudl always assume that there is a pervert nmext door. Never think that just because they haven't been convicted doesn't mean they do't exist.

  30. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    Good lord look at the typos. I must have been on something when I typed that last post. Sorry.

  31. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    So you are saying that regardless of who lives next door, I shouldn't let my children play outside alone, not let the neighbor in the eye, and if he says something to them or approaches them, they should come inside?

    Are you as whacked as Rusty, or just another one of those who care more about the "supposed" constitutional rights of child molestors than the safety of our children?

  32. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    This Sucks,

    I don't think your post makes much sense at all. It's clear that that's not at all what the other chappie meant.

    I think you're a solution in search of a problem. You're just looking for a fight, but it's just not there.

    I think the chappie meant that you don't trust anyone w/ your children in an uncontrolled environment. Common sense, always.

  33. Stop your bitching, man! And where did you get the dough for the luxurious house? Blogging? Shit! I got an idea, which I'm sure you've heard a million times before: MOVE THE FUCK OUT OF MY CITY BITCH!

    That woman is my mom.

  34. I guess now would be the proper time to disclose that I have been paid $1,000 a month to write at least 15 posts a month by an anonymous donor. That's how I can afford my luxurious mansion and why I can never leave Washington.

  35. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    I'm not looking for a fight; I'm looking for an answer.

    I'm sick of these fucking hypocrites bitching about how Megan's law violates the constitutional rights of child molestors. Anyone who says they wouldn't mind living next door to a pedophile and not have a right to be informed is full of shit. I can guarantee you that 99% of those who fight Megan's law would be furious if one moved in next door to them, and they weren't notified.

    I realize Rusty cannot defend his stance against everyone who disagrees with him on this board, but if he makes a comment, he should be responsible for backing it up with his reasons.

    Liars and hypocrites.

  36. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    Why can't we just poison the homeless? Seriously, these bums poison our communities with their presence, public drunkeness, panhandling and offensive odors. Not all life is sacred. Ours would be a better world without them.

    It warms my heart to see bumcicles frozen solid in the wintertime- bonus points if the vodka bottle is still in their hands.

  37. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    Making fun of old women with obvious mental illness - always funny. I mean, I think you want to do something about these people, but it's pretty clear the motivation is not empathy. I suppose getting her off the street, so you don't have to be bothered, probably leads to a place where she gets help leaving her own private Hell. I suspect that, as long as she is somewhere else, everything is cool, no?

    Citing Wikipedia is fraught with peril. Here's what the report from which the numbers came says about itself - "This report presents findings from numerous, independent studies and reports conducted throughout the United States. Readers should be cautious when comparing them, since the analyses were conducted using a number of different methodologies. Differences may include varying definitions of homelessness, diverse research methods used to estimate the homeless population, uneven success finding homeless people, and different research time frames. Readers are encouraged to examine the actual reports to better understand how a particular count was reached. All counts represent the number of homeless people at a given point-in-time. Sources for this report may be found in Sources for Homeless Counts in Major US Cities and Counties. This supplementary report can be found on the Institute’s website, http://www.weingart.org/institute."

    It's not possible to make a direct comparison from that source.

    Take a walk up Broadway in NYC from 70th to 114th one day, and tell me if the anectodal, unscientific, small sample of evidence you gather doesn't make you question the relative magnitude of the problem in DC.

  38. Cranky septic, you make great points. Unfortunately, I use Wikipedia because it's the easiest thing there is. I agree, it's fraught with peril.

    As to your hypothesis that I only want the homeless out of my way; well, who doesn't?

    That being said, please don't underestimate my feelings on the issue. I've had friends who have lived in cars and a very close family member of mine was homeless for an extended period of time.

    The crazy Friendship Heights lady lives in MD now. Granted, she could have moved there under her own volition, but, let's assume she was moved there. (There is precedent for this with DC Police bringing prostitiutes into VA.) Is that the proper way to deal with the problem?

  39. AnonymousJuly 11, 2006

    In all seriousness, what is your D.C. breaking point? What will it take for you to say fuck it, I'm outtie?

  40. When my friends leave. I'm terrified in social situations where I don't know anyone, so this is easier. Yeah, laziness.

  41. AnonymousJuly 12, 2006


  42. One of the biggest issues with the homeless women that you are describing is mental illness.

    It sounds like homelessness is not her major problem.

    I was homeless for 8 years - on the streets of Berkeley and had to interact with some of the severely mentally ill homeless at the churches that serve meals and the places we went to get out of the rain. I'm here to tell you that funding for social services for the homeless are lacking. Shelter is not their issue.

    Add to that the predators that prey on them and you have a sure recipe for continuation.

    I am no longer homeless, I found services that enabled me to start to recover from drug addiction and mental illness and now live a stable, working, paying taxes, life.

    I know that very few of those I knew then are even capable of wanting that, not to mention being able to choose it.

  43. AnonymousJuly 20, 2006

    that wiki article isn't accurate. that's the lowest estimate i've ever seen for dc's homeless population. others estimate it to be as high as 50,000. most put it smack in the middle, at about 25,000.

    it's a tremendous problem. and you're right. for some reason, it gets ignored, not just by dc politicians, but in northern virginia and md too, where homelessness is rapidly on the rise.

  44. AnonymousJuly 26, 2006

    I've solved the problem