DC Considers Asking Homeless For Proof Of Residency For Shelter

9:23 PM, Dec 13, 2010   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Just about every jurisdiction in the country requires you to prove residency to get access to social services, but should that apply to homeless people seeking shelter, especially as winter approaches? DC is considering doing just that.

Eric Sheptock is among the estimated 6,500 homeless people in DC. For nearly five years he's been a voice and a face for those invisible street people.

"I call myself a homeless, homeless advocate," said Sheptock.

He continued, "The city has a moral obligation to care for anybody within its limits who is in need."

Sheptock's latest battle is being waged online through two blogs and social media.

"On Twitter, I have 840 followers. On Facebook, I have 4,550 friends," shared Sheptock.

Erick is enlisting all of them in an effort to stop the District from
requiring proof of residency from anyone seeking access to a long-term homeless shelter.

"Communities have tried to balance their budgets on the backs of the homeless and have been unsuccessful," said Neal Donovan with the National Coalition for the Homeless.

And, according to Sheptock, if DC goes along with the proposal, "A lot of taxpayers dollars are gonna get wasted on lawsuits if people freeze to death."

DC Councilmember Tommy Wells, who introduced the measure, says many homeless people from Virginia and Maryland flock to DC shelters overwhelming city resources

Wells said, "Because we want to continue to provide this as a right to DC residents but we have to be responsible about it to the citizens and the taxpayers."

When asked if he thought anyone would freeze to death if the measure was approved, Wells replied, "Absolutely not."

The council is expected to approve the measure on December 21.

Written by Armando Trull
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com

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