Referendum 005, the measure that would have restored the right of homeless people to shelter on demand, lost by 2 percentage points when the votes were tallied after last week's general election.

That narrow victory was carried by 3,179 voters who voted against overturning a D.C. Council amendment that took away the right to shelter, restricted the length of stay in a shelter and required adult residents to receive job counseling.

The majority of the voters in five of the city's wards -- 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8 -- voted to endorse the referendum. In two of the other three wards, 2 and 6, the measure lost by less than 1,000 votes.

The deciding votes came from Ward 3 in far Northwest Washington, which has the largest number of registered voters, and which voted overwhelmingly against the referendum -- 15,727 to 8,694.

But the final tally also showed about 40,000 of the 165,466 people who went to the polls did not vote on the referendum.

Dorothy Brizill, co-chairman of Citizens Opposed to 005, said this week the victory for her side was not the end of her work, but the beginning of a more difficult task.

"What we are concerned about now is finding a vehicle that will bring together the homeless activists, city officials and us to see that the amendments passed by the council are properly implemented," she said.

Carol Fennelly, a leader of the Community for Creative Non-Violence and the chief spokeswoman for advocates of the referendum, said she saw little reason for Brizill to be further involved.

"I don't see Dorothy Brizill or her group as a player in any talks," Fennelly said.

"There is only $12 million, down from $40 million, budgeted for the homeless this year," she said. "The advocates will sit down with {Mayor-Elect} Sharon Pratt Dixon and the Department of Human Services and see how to best spend that $12 million, how to better run the programs."

-------- Preliminary returns ---------


Ward 1.....7,838.....6,234

Ward 2.....7,216.....8,162

Ward 3.....8,694....15,727

Ward 4.....9,250.....8,549

Ward 5.....8,770.....7,735

Ward 6.....7,360.....8,021

Ward 7.....7,328.....6,345

Ward 8.....4,278.....3,140


Source: D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics