The Coalition for the Homeless has asked the federal government for permission to open another shelter for homeless men adjacent to a new 386-bed shelter in Anacostia because that facility is not sufficient to handle the need, according to the coalition's director.
In another development, Thomas Denson, director of the Anacostia shelter, resigned Tuesday afternoon and is no longer working at the shelter for homeless men, coalition director Pat Macon confirmed yesterday.
"It was obviously personal reasons," she said.
Elisabeth Huguenin, head of the coalition's board of directors, noted that there may be other personnel changes at the shelter.
"Some individuals don't realize the amount of work needed to be done," she said. "It is not a 9-to-5 job. People may be required to stay there extra time and not be paid for it."
Denson could not be reached for comment.
Macon said she asked an official of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this week for permission to open another men's shelter in a vacant building next door to the Anacostia shelter, at 1900 Anacostia Dr. SE.
That building, like the current shelter, is owned by the Navy Department and had been used most recently as offices for President Reagan's inaugural committee.
Macon said she made the request of James Hunter, acting deputy undersecretary for intergovernmental affairs, because of "rumors" that more homeless men than expected need shelter. The current shelter has 386 cots set up, but has been described by federal officials as having a potential capacity of 600.
Macon would not elaborate on whether more beds would be added to the Anacostia shelter.
Mitch Snyder, director of the Community for Creative Non-Violence, which is trying to prevent the federal government from shutting down its shelter for the homeless at 425 Second St. NW, said the request for more space means the CCNV facility should stay open.
"The Anacostia shelter has been full since the seventh night it opened," he said. "If another one opens, it will be full in five days. The federal government is going to have to keep this up to absorb the 4,000 to 5,000 homeless people the University of the District of Columbia says are out there."
Macon said a second shelter, which could house 400 men, could be readied in "two to five days."
Huguenin said the coalition also plans to open several smaller shelters to house about 40 more women in the coming weeks. The coalition currently operates shelters at 455 and 457 Florida Ave. NW for 60 women.