Councilmembers discuss future of D.C. homeless shelter

D.C. councilmembers are meeting Thursday night to discuss the future of a shelter hundreds of families in the District call home.

Little Zion is not even two yet, and she is one of the nearly 600 children who live at the old D.C. General Hospital turned homeless shelter. The shelter is home for 284 families, and the numbers keep growing.

Resident Janay Boomer said, "It's a place to reside at, it's not a place you can live..."

With D.C. becoming more and more expensive, the poor have fewer options.

D.C. Councilman Jim Graham, who oversees human services, convened a council hearing at the shelter to look at conditions and raise issues of whether it's becoming a new dumping ground.

In a city with a budget surplus of $400 million, many are calling for the government to do more to move people to permanent housing.

"They been here like five months, and they ain't doing nothing yet," said one woman, whose daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren call the shelter home."But I hope so,"

Yet without the old D.C. General Hospital, Zion's father, 21-year-old Wade Patterson, said he doesn't know what they would do.

"Over a year and half pretty much, I been outside...As far as my girl and my kid, they get through the day...," Patterson said. "Hopefully, by the end of the night, they might have somewhere to lay their head."

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