Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DC where is our humanity? Why is this still okay?

2100 MLK Jr. Ave SE as of today at 10:00am

I want you to sit where you are for a second and just let this image settle in. The people and children in this line represent some of our most vulnerable residents.

And they are left to wait outside in the freezing cold.


I have written about this before on CHotR, the lack of adequate waiting areas for social service agencies in Ward 8. You can go HERE to see long lines from this past summer at 2100 MLK. The Washington Post has even covered this problem. Despite that coverage, DC residents (some with small children in tow or in strollers) are still forced to wait outside in long lines in front of 2100 MLK before getting access to the lobby. Regardless of the burning heat of summer or the biting cold of winter they have to wait outside.

And to add insult to injury: they have to wait in lines while looking into storefront windows of empty offices. 

Forget for a moment that this looks terrible for our communities. Forget that this only fosters the belief by most that east of the river doesn't matter. Forget that this is why east of the river residents get so anxious when they learn of plans to open a new social service center in their neighborhoods.

Let's look at this purely from a human standpoint.

Why is this still okay? Why do I have to get on my little soap box (at great personal cost) and shame a DC government agency or politician into doing the right thing? Most of the tenants in this building are DC agencies! Department of Health and Human Services has their Anacostia branch here and this is the constituent services office for Councilember Marion Barry. People in need of assistance are being forced to wait in the heat and the cold just to request help! What is next? Flaming hoops?

If 2100 MLK can not handle all of these social service and government agencies then why do they keep adding more? I know for a fact that the Office of Returned Citizens was just relocated here.

So I ask again, "why is this still okay?"

Or is it just okay here?

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Anonymous said...

Yes, this is shameful. No other word for it.

h st ll said...

Same thing on H St NE today.

Eh, not as bothered by it as ya'll though. DC spends (thankfully) billions on support for these folks. Hard to categorize that as heartless.

Anonymous said...

Have you heard about this?

A meeting about the black crisis of gentrification at ground zero in Anacostia. Seriously?

The Advoc8te said...

I just read the press release.

And I think it is probably best if I keep my thoughts to myself. :)

I might have heard something about this -- might.

G said...

I agree that people should not have to wait in the cold/heat for an extended period of time, but I disagree that this is an intentional slight on the under-served.

To enter most government or private office buildings, you must first go through a security check of some sort and/or show ID. If there are large crowds of people attempting to enter, then there will inevitably be a bottleneck at some point.

What do you suppose would be a viable solution in absence of removing the security/ID check?

SeymoreSaymore said...

You can't be serious. Look at depression-era pics.

The Advoc8te said...


I was thinking the same thing! I had really been thinking about posting a side by side comparison.

The Advoc8te said...


This is an ongoing problem going back YEARS. This is not an occasional bottleneck. This is not a recent oversight. This has been business as usual.

At that location they only allow a certain amount of people in the lobby at at time and with the services they are offering there...

You know what? I was going to write an extended explanation of how this is not acceptable and include several solutions for this problem and then I realized it would have been as effective as blowing on my cold hands.

Either you think this is acceptable or not and it sounds like you think this is okay -- with an explanation. I don't think it is acceptable - ever. Definetly not every single month.

There is a solution here -- someone just has to care enough to find it.

This wouldn't be acceptable at law firms, at the DMV, or any other office where people were getting service. It shouldn't be okay here.

And from the looks of it when I drove by this morning someone realizes it because the line was inside the lobby. :)