WCP | DC Central Kitchen Loses the Bulk of Its Homeless Shelter Food Service Contract
The Advoc8te STRONGLY encourages her followers to read this article. For anyone who lives in Congress Heights you may be surprised to know that Henry’s claims they are based in Congress Heights — I know I was! And judging from the explosion of upset comments in the Great Ward 8 Facebook page it seems I am not alone in this shock.
This has got to stop.
But after the District finalized its master contract in 2018 with TCP and the group in turn re-opened the bidding process for its subcontracts, TCP didn’t award DC Central Kitchen what has typically been the full scope of its service.
Contracts to provide roughly half a million meals per year at the city’s largest shelter sites—including the Days Inn, Quality Inn, 801 East Men’s Shelter, and New York Avenue shelter, which DC Central Kitchen used to serve—were awarded to Henry’s, a small restaurant and catering business. It is a registered Certified Business Enterprise with D.C.’s Department of Small and Local Business Development, and is listed as a Ward 8 business with a registered address in Congress Heights. The Henry’s website does not list this address, instead advertising a location on U Street NW and in Oxon Hill, Maryland. (Henry’s co-owner Bernard Brooks did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A member of TCP’s contract procurement staff deferred comment to the Department of Human Services.)
In response to a detailed list of DC Central Kitchen’s concerns, a DHS spokesperson emailed this statement: “The process for selecting food vendors is an open, competitive process which included a bidder’s conference to review the solicitation and proposal requirements for greater transparency. Vendors for each shelter site were selected based on knowledge of food safety best practices, demonstrated experience with quality control protocols and meal preparation in large quantities, and other solicitation criteria such as past performance.”
Last year wasn’t the first time Moore heard of Henry’s. “Back in 2011 DC General’s meal service contract changed,” Moore says. DC Central Kitchen “had been delivering lunch, but then that contract was cancelled. It was awarded to Henry’s without a public [bidding] process. We were told that providing lunch wasn’t necessary, and then it was awarded to another vendor. That was the choice that was made.”