Closing of MLK library may harm homeless patrons

HOMELESSNESS | When the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library closes for renovation next month, many of its homeless patrons will have no place to go. The library, which was the second in the country to hire a social worker and prioritize assisting people experiencing homelessness, operated as an unofficial day center. Community advocates are looking for ways to help this population during the renovations, which will take three years to complete. (Street Sense, 2/22)

The MLK branch offers typing classes, clothing repair workshops, adult literacy programs and other special programming for people in those circumstances, not to mention simply a place to escape the elements. For this reason, city transport vans drop off and pick up shelter residents at the library every morning and evening.

…Using the library as a primary drop-off and pickup location for the shelter vans demonstrates that the government sees the library as a de-facto day center, according to [community advocate Eric] Sheptock. He has been working with the community surrounding the library to find ways it can offer services to homeless people during the renovations and has approached the D.C. Department of Human Services and the nearby Church of the Epiphany in hopes of arranging a place for homeless people to go during the day.

HOUSINGIs “Blight” Just Another Word for “Black”? Concentrating on Community Assets (NPQ, 2/22)

EDUCATION | Opinion: The success of for-profit colleges is based on inequality (Atlantic, 2/22)

TRANSIT | Metro needs $800 million in loans and grant by September or faces ‘a real problem’ (WaPo, 2/23)

WORKFORCE | A Maryland bill prohibiting counties and cities from increasing the minimum wage will die in the Maryland General Assembly. (WaPo, 2/24)

ENVIRONMENT | Opinion: Fairfax County falls behind in addressing the climate crisis (WaPo, 2/17)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE | The Department of Justice will begin enforcing a federal law criminalizing recreational marijuana, even in states that have legalized recreational use. (WBJ, 2/24)

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