WASHINGTON - Tempers were running high at the Wilson Building over plans to shut down D.C.’s largest homeless shelter while opening up smaller shelters across the city. On Tuesday, the D.C. Council voted on a different plan from the one Mayor Muriel Bowser has earlier presented.
Under the council’s plan, some shelter locations would be changed. The city would also buy or use eminent domain to acquire properties for the new shelters. D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said their plan would save taxpayers $165 million.
D.C. leaders are very passionate about this topic as they all want the D.C. General shelter closed as soon as possible. But they disagree on how that should happen.
Two reporters were in the press room at the Wilson Building when they heard a heated conversation nearby between Mayor Bowser and Mendelson about the closure of D.C. General by 2018. We asked the chairman and mayor about their discussion.
“Believe me, I've heard worse,” said Bowser. “And it was a private conversation.”
She also added, “What I conveyed to the chairman and I'll convey to everybody – that the council is going to make its own plan, which they voted on today, but they have to tell the people the truth, and you can't tell people that we can close D.C. General in 2018.”
“I think I'll only say this and that the mayor was upset over some of the legislation before the council,” Mendelson said.
The council chairman believes that his plan can be implemented right away and that they can close D.C. General by 2018.