The city has scrapped a plan to move 100 homeless women from the shelter run by the Community for Creative Non-Violence on Second Street NW into the former Jewish Community Center at 16th and Q streets NW.
The community center "just wasn't appropriate to be used as a facility to shelter the homeless," said D.C. Department of Human Services spokesman Charles M. Seigel. "We are looking for an alternative as quickly as possible, but we don't have a deadline."
The move into the vacant, District-owned building was to take place this weekend so renovations could begin Monday on the CCNV shelter at 425 Second St. NW, according to CCNV and District officials.
The city has an agreement with Mitch Snyder, the CCNV leader and advocate for the homeless, to provide temporary housing for the 100 women during renovation of the CCNV building, said Seigel. About $965,000 for renovations to the dilapidated shelter was released by the White House late last week after a four-day hunger strike by Snyder.
"I would hate to think the move was canceled because people in the neighborhood objected -- primarily to elderly and handicapped women being housed on a temporary basis," Snyder said yesterday after learning of the city's change in plans.
The three-story Jewish Community Center was partly refurbished earlier this year when the city considered housing inmates there.
"It doesn't matter to us whether it's the center or another building . . . as long as it's somewhere in the area," said Snyder, who explained that the location was convenient because it is "near two women's drop-in daytime centers."
But residents of the area are already disturbed about plans to set up temporary offices for CCNV staff in the community center building, viewing the offices as a sign that the shelter could become permanent.
"This phone hasn't stopped ringing," said Vernon Palmer, staff coordinator for Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B, which serves the area in which the community center is located.
"People have said that they are compassionate and they didn't seem full of objections," said Palmer. "Their main concern, though, was that once Mitch Snyder gets his finger in the pie, he won't get it out. In other words, once CCNV has an office it will be hard to get them out."
Meanwhile, Snyder said, "We're working under a real time constraint since renovations need to start Monday so they can be completed in time for the winter."