Right on schedule on Wednesday morning, representatives of Department of Public Works, the Metropolitan Police Department and Department of Human Services arrived at 4250 Connecticut Avenue to remove the homeless encampment there.
Caseworkers helped the homeless resident move the belongings they could. One of the longtime residents, named Stan, and his Miriam’s Kitchen caseworker moved some of his belongings to the corner in front of the UDC Student Center.
DPW took the rest away. UDC workers cleaned and power washed the area and installed planters in the alcoves.
And with Van Ness Main Street’s approval, the planters that had been in front of 4340 Connecticut were moved to block the entrance to the Millennium Café’s outdoor patio.
Gloria Garcia, the executive director of Van Ness Main Street, said while necessary to protect public health, the cleanup was “sad and disheartening.”
“All of DC’s government and nonprofit support were there but as they have done during previous cleanups, the three residents did not accept the support offered,” Garcia said in an email.
By Thursday, Stan and at least one other resident had taken shelter behind the Van Ness Metro station’s west entrance. On that day, Jordan Julley and another caseworker from the Community Response Team of the DC Department of Behavioral Health were out checking up on them. UDC had requested the followup.
When asked what the team can do for them, Julley responded, “Not much.”
“With Covid-19, I wouldn’t want to go to a shelter either,” Julley said. “They feel safer out here, and there is nothing we can do when they are on public space until they present a public health and safety risk.”