About 100 homeless women are scheduled to move this weekend from the shelter at 425 Second St. NW run by the Community for Creative Non-Violence to a vacant District-owned building at 16th and Q streets NW, according to CCNV and District officials.
Final plans have not been completed for the temporary move to the former Jewish Community Center building, which would free space at the current CCNV shelter for renovations that are to begin Monday.
Some $965,000 for renovations to the dilapidated shelter was released by the White House late last week after a four-day hunger strike by advocate for the homeless and CCNV leader Mitch Snyder.
Snyder said he would meet today with City Council member John Wilson (D-Ward 2) to discuss the plan, under which the women would be housed at the 16th Street building for four to six months.
Snyder said yesterday he does not expect community opposition to the planned move. "John Wilson is a pretty civilized guy," said Snyder, "I don't envision any difficulty. I don't even think people will know they're there, to be perfectly honest."
"We can't put women out on the street," Snyder said. "That would be crazy."
In March, a proposal to use the vacant former community center for emergency housing of District inmates was blocked by Wilson and other community leaders. The building is located in Wilson's ward.
Wilson could not be reached for comment last night.
According to Robert A. Malson, senior policy adviser to the D.C. Department of Human Services, people living in the neighborhood of the proposed temporary shelter have not received formal notification of the plan. He called the transfer of the homeless women "a very temporary plan."
Malson said the community center building was proposed Wednesday as a temporary shelter for the women by the D.C. Department of Administrative Services.
Later that day, Malson said, Snyder and city officials toured the three-story structure, which was partly refurbished earlier this year when the city considered housing imates there.
"It arose pretty quickly," said Malson. He said City Administrator Thomas Downs had approved the transfer of the homeless women. He said the former community center building is exempt from zoning requirements since it is owned by the District government.
Malson said he said he did not know if the building had passed health and fire inspections.
Snyder said he "would be really shocked if any neighborhood objected to the presence of homeless women, many of whom are elderly [and] tend not to create any problems." He said that, aside from CCNV staff members, men would not be allowed in the shelter.
Snyder said that while "men tend to hang around outside the shelter, women don't do that. They're much more fragile, and feel much more vulnerable."
Although Snyder and Malson said the former community center is in fairly good condition, they said it would require some renovation including a stove and some showers if women are housed there.
Snyder said the women would be housed on the first floor, and CCNV staff on the second floor. He said the third floor and basement would be left vacant.