As reported in the Washington City Paper Loose Lips this week, Councilman Vince Gray is using a political maneuver–supported by Council Chair Mendelson–as leverage to stop the opening of the federal men’s halfway house in his Ward. It should be noted that this tactic, if successful, may close down a homeless shelter!
The District has been without a men’s halfway house for nearly a year. A contract to open and operate a new facility has already been awarded by the federal Bureau of Prisons. Despite this, Councilmen Gray, Mendelson and a few others are trying to derail the opening of the new house. Given the desperate need for a men’s halfway house–and the fact that Councilman Gray if successful with further delay the opening of a house–how does the community benefit from this?
Here’s some quotes from the article:
“Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray is threatening to cancel a $2.8 million local contract with CORE DC to operate a homeless shelter as leverage against the company’s completely separate, federal contract to operate a halfway house in his ward. Rev. Graylan Hagler calls Gray’s maneuver “political blackmail” and believes it’s a strategy to destroy efforts to open the 300-bed halfway house that will house men returning from prison.”
“Five councilmembers signed on, including Chairman Phil Mendelson, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto, and At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds.”
The Washington City Paper said that it was “skeptical that the maneuver will work, and the chairman could not explain specifically how jeopardizing a company’s local contract to operate a family homeless shelter, and therefore those families’ safety and wellbeing, will hold any sway over a federal contract, the terms of which are controlled by the BOP.”
Read the full article here: Vince Gray Threatens Local Homeless Shelter Contract Over Federal Halfway House