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UN Rep.: D.C. Homeless Activists Not On Same Page

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Nathaniel Anderson, a resident of the Community for Creative Non-Violence homeless shelter in Northwest D.C., talks with UN representative Raquel Rolnik about problems the city's homeless population faces.
David Schultz
Nathaniel Anderson, a resident of the Community for Creative Non-Violence homeless shelter in Northwest D.C., talks with UN representative Raquel Rolnik about problems the city's homeless population faces.

By David Schultz

Local homeless activists met at a homeless shelter yesterday with Raquel Rolnik, who just finished a U.S. tour studying the issue of affordable housing for the United Nations.

Almost as soon as the round table discussion started, an argument erupted between the activists, many of whom live at the shelter. Shelter staffers had to forcibly remove one man. Another left in protest but later returned.

After the meeting, several homeless people pleaded with Rolnik for help on the sidewalk outside of the shelter, but she couldn't give them any concrete answers.

"I don't have the special mandate to deal with this kind of law enforcement," she told one man.

Eric Sheptock is a homeless activist in D.C. who is also homeless himself. He arranged for Rolnik to come to the shelter.

Sheptock says many of the people in on the discussion thought Rolnik was there to help them with their personal issues.

"As I publicized the issue," Sheptock says, "A lot of people were saying 'Is she going to get you housing, Eric?' Or 'Is she going to get me housing? What's she going to do?'"

Rolnik will issue a report to the United Nations on affordable housing early next year.

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