Covid and Shelter Disapproval, Vaccination and Housing Failures

Updated 12:30 p.m. 3/3/21 with recordings. “Pandemics and Economics #3: Cities, Health, and Growth” full text, citations, and recording can also be found on podcast page.

NOTE: Rev. Hagler’s church affiliation is listed properly below, but the host made an error in introducing him on air. Please note his correction regarding “United Church of Christ” and the importance of Liberation Theology to his congregation.

A shelter serving 35 DC families experiencing homelessness is in peril due to a disapproval resolution opposing extension of the existing provider’s contract. This resolution was filed without complaint against the current shelter operation or its existing provider. This resolution appears to be a tactic in a dispute regarding a completely separate contract with the same management company, says Rev. Graylan Hagler, long-time advocate for rights and justice in DC. Rev. Hagler brings his concerns to “Community thru Covid” on March 3.

Reverend Graylan Hagler is Senior Minister at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Northeast DC and director of Faith Strategies, a faith-based effort to protect human, civil, and workers’ rights. Also joining March 3’s program: Maurice Cook, Director of Serve Your City DC (SYC); Beth Wagner, organizer for vaccination and other efforts through SYC; and Ms. Minnie Elliott, president of Brookland Manor Brentwood Village Residents’ Association.

Ms. Elliott will provide us with an update on the Brookland Manor Coalition. See recent program outlining some of the issues in the loss of affordable, family-size housing.

NOTE from Ms. Elliott: People all over are invited to join the Residents’ association meetings and get to know Brookland Manor Brentwood Village area and neighbors. Here is an action page to sign up for more information, to sign on the action letter, and/or to provide direct support. Ms. Elliott also encourages participation in the citywide effort to take back activist control of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (to get involved).

The Horizon Shelter

This petition to Councilmember Gray describes current operations at The Horizon shelter, their importance to the community, and impact if they are disrupted, especially during this pandemic stress on the shelter system. In addition, this petition discusses use of this shelter contract as a tactic in another dispute (see below).

Mayor’s request of Feb 11 for extension of CORE DC’s contract for operation of The Horizon shelter. The contract — CA 24-0030— will be deemed approved on March 29, 2021 unless the Council takes an action on the disapproval.

The disapproval resolution — “PR24-0091 – CORE DC, LLC Contract No. CW69397 Disapproval Resolution of 2021” — filed by Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray, along with Phil Mendelson (Council Chair), Anita Bonds (At-Large), Brooke Pinto (Ward 2), Mary Cheh (Ward 3), and Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5). The proposed contract will be deemed approved on Monday, March 29, 2021,

City Paper report of March 1

NOTE PLEASE: Councilmember Vincent Gray’s office was asked for comment. A response was promised “as quickly as possible.” Nothing arrived by air time or at the recording update time, 12:30.

Another Dispute

Councilmember Vincent Gray has been adamant in his opposition to a halfway house for returning citizens, also in his Ward 7 and also to be run by CORE DC, and evidence points to this disapproval resolution as some kind of tactic in that fight, rather than opposition to the shelter. Gray’s office has been contacted for comment.

Meanwhile, Phil Mendelson confirmed to the Washington City Paper’s Mitch Ryals (“Loose Lips”/LL) that the two issues were linked through this resolution:

…The chairman claims Gray’s resolution gives the local government “leverage” in CORE’s contract with the federal BOP [Bureau of Prisons].

LL is skeptical that the maneuver will work, and the chairman could not explain specifically how jeopardizing a company’s local contract to operate a family homeless shelter, and therefore those families’ safety and wellbeing, will hold any sway over a federal contract, the terms of which are controlled by the BOP, not CORE.

Vince Gray Threatens…”

Vaccination Failures

DC has been experiencing a variety of failures in access to vaccines. Particularly disturbing to many are the statistics which show a preponderance of infections and deaths among Black people, but white people and “other” far outstripping Black people in vaccination rates.

full statistics at

See also, for more on this: “The Asymmetry of Covid-19 Access” at Hill Rag.

Tune in to We Act Radio or watch live on We Act’s YouTube channel Wednesdays at 11 a.m. EASTERN or check back for recording.


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