On July 13th we met at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter. We arrived with many things to accomplish in mind that day. The main reason for the gathering would be the trip the Graduates were taking to Washington D.C. My reason too! Some planned to leave early the following Sunday morning (July 21). Most by plane, and one by train. All bound for Washington to give and gather information for the National Conference on Ending Homelessness.
Once we arrived in D.C., there were no plans so we registered into the conference and Erin treated us to a double-decker bus ride around Washington. We saw the White House, the Capitol building, and the Smithsonian. D.C. is beautiful. In the evening, Erin forced us to consume a fantastic Chinese dinner. It was great.
Monday morning John and I made it to the air and space museum and then lunch. We gathered up and went to our classes. I chose two classes on Rapid Re-housing. With the implementation of the HEARTH Act, it seems to be what is going to replace today’s shelters. The presenters talked about how to start up Rapid Re-housing, what works well and what does not, and other agency’s accomplishments in other cities. In the evening we were lucky to see a documentary film on homelessness by Mark Horvath (@Home). It brought tears to my eyes. A great film for what’s wrong in this country and what can cure it.
Tuesday took me to a domestic violence class and other classes on homelessness and how to help yourself when you can. I got to take class on Moving on from Permanent Supportive Housing: Creating Successful Exits. This class helps to move on with what works for the individual to become more independent. That evening, Albert and I made it over to the Smithsonian’s American History Museum, where we saw Archie Bunker’s chair and a great exhibit on the American military involvement in wars over our history.
On Wednesday some of our group were able to go to Capitol Hill and meet with our congressmen and senators to convey our interest in the issue of homelessness and our personal stories. It was a touching and powerful moment.
We went home at about 5:30 that evening. It was a trip I won’t forget. And I thank you for letting me represent Lincoln Park Community Shelter as a Graduate.
By: Zyg D