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D.C. Council Chair: 'I'll Do Everything I Can' To Restore Homeless Shelter Cuts

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Dozens of homeless people and their advocates stormed D.C. City Hall Wednesday to advocate for restoration of cuts to shelter services that Mayor Vincent Gray included in his 2012 budget.
Patrick Madden
Dozens of homeless people and their advocates stormed D.C. City Hall Wednesday to advocate for restoration of cuts to shelter services that Mayor Vincent Gray included in his 2012 budget.

At a demonstration Wednesday, what the city's homeless services advocates may have lacked in money or influence, they more than made up for with numbers.

Dozens of homeless people and their advocates marched from the cluster of homeless shelters in downtown D.C. to the Wilson Building to lobby council members.

Organizer Erick Sheptock, who is homeless, says closing down the shelters will send hundreds back into the streets.

"They sleep on sidewalks, they sleep on park benches, they sleep in cars," says Sheptock.

The group walked through the halls of the Wilson Building, pressing council members for support. Their efforts appeared to have worked, as Council Chairman Kwame Brown, the architect of this years budget, came out of his office and told a packed hallway he would help them.

"I will do everything I can to restore all of the homeless services, look at the TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families], the IDA [Interim Disability Assistance]," Brown said. "That is a commitment that I have to the this group."

Brown told the group he will not raise the income tax to find the $30 million or so dollars needed to stave off the cuts. But where he will find that money remains a mystery.

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