Courtland Milloy's Sept. 12 column in Metro, "D.C.'s Compassion Stretches Only So Far," was an inaccurate portrayal of the District's treatment of homeless families at D.C. Village.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams, D.C. Council member David Catania, City Administrator Robert Bobb and Deputy Mayor Neil Albert have worked to extend shelter and support services to New Orleans citizens ripped from their homes and their city because of Hurricane Katrina. There is no shame in this.

District agencies such as the departments of Health, Mental Health, Recreation, and Human Services provide services for homeless women, men and families. The services are more comprehensive than those provided by many other major U.S. cities. This year the District will spend $21 million to shelter and provide other supportive services for the homeless, which is contrary to Milloy's statement that "D.C. Village is a reminder of the contempt with which we still hold people like them and the lengths we go to keep them and the suffering out of sight." This funding, along with the mayor's 10-year plan to end homelessness and the District's recent enactment of the Homeless Services Reform Act, solidifies the D.C. government's commitment to improve the delivery of services to homeless people.

No one in the D.C. government wants homeless families or adults to languish in the shelter system indefinitely. The hard work continues to help the homeless uplift their lives.

-- Yvonne D. Gilchrist


The writer is director of the D.C. Department of Human Services.