City Desk

D.C. General Shelter Management Fired Staff For Inappropriate Contact With Female Residents


Families Forward, Inc., the nonprofit that runs the D.C. General family shelter, has admitted in a letter to Mayor Adrian Fenty that it has fired employees for inappropriate contact with female residents.

The allegations first came to light yesterday when we reported the concerns of two female residents who alleged that they had been propositioned by Families Forward staff.  One resident, Patrice Jackson, alleged that staffers had offered to trade sex for shelter necessities like an extra blanket or juice for her child. Resident P.H. wrote up her concerns in her own letter to Fenty. She told City Desk that a staffer had offered to let her sleep at his house for a weekend.

Families Forward CEO Ruby King-Gregory responded with her own letter to Fenty today. In the letter, she admits:

"Perhaps most sickening, it is true that there have been alleged inappropriate contact between staff and the female residents. However, know that when Families Forward was made aware of this concern, an investigation was conducted and the staff persons in question were swiftly terminated."

King-Gregory also affirms that "some of the concerns" raised by P.H. are indeed true. She does not address the newborn that died at the shelter on Feb. 9.

King-Gregory denies that the shelter was infested with roaches and mice, and that the stairwell had a serious mold problem. She writes: "The cleanliness of Families Forward run shelters is second to none in this city. We pride ourselves on the personal touch and maintaining the facility in clean, decent, safe and sanitary conditions."

But King-Gregory did admit that families were delayed in getting case workers. If you want a thorough accounting of that story, please read the Richbow's story.

King-Gregory admits that the Department of Human Services as well as The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness raised concerns about poor case worker response times:

"In regards to our case management division, DHS and TCP have noted deficiencies in our service delivery and Families Forward has responded by putting correction actions in place to address each and every deficiency noted. Was there a significant time lapse between some family's entrance and the time that they were seen by a case manager? Yes, at times and with reasonable explanation. During this hypothermia season, the shelter capacity grew faster than Families Forward could employ staff."

King-Gregory goes on to say that they've been a service provider for 25 years. Its "tenure has not been flawless," she writes, but her organization has "emerged a stronger program, better equipped, more determined, and if even possible, more dedicated."

The CEO concludes her letter but boasting that her staff is "standing ready for inspection." She then invites Fenty to visit D.C. General "unannounced."

As far as media inquiries, that's another matter. In e-mail, Joi Buford, Families Forward's shelter programs manager, stated that she will have no comment and that "all issues will be addressed at the Oversight Hearing."

P.H.  had this to say about Families Forward's letter: “Once again, this is an attempt to cover up their inadequacies as an organization. Right now, they’re treading water. Of course, they’re going to be on their p’s and q’s now because they are under fire. A pop-up visit is meaningless now. Hypothermia season is almost over.”

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  • Wendy Glenn

    YES, the right moves; hopes thia shows are the heartless, inhumane CREEPS on this board. Even though you all tried to justify such visibly inappropriate behavior behavior, smarter, more compassionate heads prevailed.

  • downtown rez

    Is this place what is known as a low or no barrier shelter- meaning do they have to accept pretty much anyone inside, regardless of whether they may have and would be likely to bring drug, alcohol, mental health, etc problems into the general homeless population?
    Just asking.

  • DC Hoodrat


    No one ever justified inappropriate staff behavior. I did talk about the lack of personal responsibility of the residents though.


    I was under the impression that DC general operates as such.

  • downtown rez

    That's a tough scene.

  • Jason Cherkis

    Hoodrat: What evidence do you have that the residents at D.C. General were not taking personal responsibility to get themselves out of the shelter?

    With 12 percent unemployment, Do you really think everyone sleeping in the shelter's cafeteria got fired for cause, used up their savings on crack, and now is just generally laying around asking for a handout?

    The city has a shortage of living wage jobs, a shortage of affordable housing, etc. I don't see you calling for people to earn living wages and be able to find affordable housing.

  • tired

    Thanks Wendy you are right compassionate heads did prevail. I just hope and pray that it doesn't stop there. They need to find out what happen to the baby. All I am asking for as a taxpayer and a citizen , is being in that building making people sick. And are the people safe. Jason here's a question for you when prisoners are released from jail are they allowed to go there ie: the shelter? On the news this morning it was reported that the council wanted to pass a law to keep prisoners from getting out of jail at 10:30 pm if they have no one to pick them up. AG Nichols stated that their constitutional rights would be violated if they were not allowed to leave on time. Could you please do a story on that along with the stabbings.

  • DC Hoodrat


    What evidence do you have that they actually were? And the city doesn't have a shortage of living wage jobs. The city lacks jobs for a woefully ill prepared populace that needs jobs.

    Whose responsibility is it to get trained to be competitive for those living wage jobs?

  • Jason Cherkis

    Please, the city does have a shortage of jobs. I know a Fulbright scholar who is unemployed. And I know others who willing to take the shit jobs--Starbucks clerk, Target employee etc. And have gotten a single interview.

    It's obvious that you just hate people that are homeless. Here we have the shelter's own staff admitting that they screwed up in big and fundamental ways. And you still want to blame the residents.

  • B

    JAson! My company has been desperate to hire engineers for the last 2 years! We keep bringing people in with H1Bs. PLEASE talk about something you know anything about. You make a fool of yourself.

    I would personally hire ANY DC resident with a masters or PhD in engineering of any kind. I know we could train them for our tasks. get real here buddy.

  • Jason Cherkis

    B: Sorry but in my life I don't come across too many unemployed engineers with PhDs for you. But glad to see that you've used your myopic take to slam my points. Congrats.

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  • proballdc

    B you make a tangent point considering that engineering is one of hundreds of professional areas of study in college. If you are looking for engineers you are looking for those who already have those degrees and/or certifications. One cannot go into that study on a 12 month program. A mastery or PhD in the field of economics, for instance, would do you no good.

    If you seek engineers in DC, your company is not looking hard enough considering the Fenty has terminated many of them in the District's Transportation Department due to "budgetary pressures". They, too, are among the unemployed.

    Jason is right, professionals are suffering as a result of the unemployment rate in DC as well. He knows what he is talking about. I, too, know some with advanced degrees, who have lost homes and cars who are doing menial jobs right now just to get by. Entire families are impacted when the terminated are the bread winner of the family.

    It is godless and heartless to cast a broad judgment on everyone who finds themselves homeless as being ignorant, uneducated and lazy. But for the grace of God, there, too, would I be.

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  • J

    Jason: Good reporting.

    What's really unfair: that too many batshit scatterbrains DO enjoy employment, esp. the kind that affords them time to sit around and post their batshit scatterbrain comments on this and other blog threads.

    Let's all pray for better targeting on the pink slips.

  • …done

    B, your company hires H1Bs b/c they will take less money and won't complain as their residency status is tied to their job.

  • Typical DC BS

    @proballdc: Great comment! There's a lot of suffering in the DC area. Many people who have played by society's rules (i.e. gotten an education, law-abiding, etc.) are caught up in a brutal economic restructuring these past two years. Heartless is a perfect word to describe those who condemn folks down on their luck.

    There but for the grace of God...

  • Manor

    Pictures of mold at least ought to be easy enough to capture, which would provide valuable proof to some of the allegations. Eh Jason? Also, remember Fulbrighters are often privileged elites utterly incapable of honest work ;) (IMHE)

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  • Jason Cherkis

    Reporters are not allowed access into the shelter so pictures are difficult. But I'm working on it.

  • Manor

    So is this all based on an interview with Hawk? Or are there multiple sources? Not trying to snark, just hope you haven't caused a Committee hearing without more proof! Imagine the consequences of ONE WASTED MOMENT of Council time!!!! !

  • Jason Cherkis

    The stories I've written on D.C. General are based on interviews with multiple residents, a visit to the shelter (at least hanging outside the shelter), interviews with Wells, several nonprofits who tried to provide support services at the shelter, and documents i.e. the IG's report on the shelter's handling of Banita Jacks.

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  • JAY

    DC General would make a good empty lot.

  • Ebony

    Families Forward is a GREAT organization and they have tried their hardest to make sure those families have a safe and clean inviroment. You cant blame managment for what 1 or 2 staff members do. In every bunch u will have a few bad apple the best you can do is try to find that bad apple and throw it out, but in some cases you dnt find the bad apple untill it has infected someone else. I AN ROOTING FOR FAMILIES FORWARD AND I HOPE THEY COME OUT VICTORIOUS!!!!

  • http://citypaper Concerned

    It is unfortunate about Banita Jacks, but there are a number of families living in the community that Families Forward has and still helping. Most often people in the shelter want something for nothing. They don't have the income to get an apartment on their own, the don't have high school diploma's or GED's and yet they want to live in places that most of the people working at Families Forward can't afford. When they don't get what they feel they should have they get an attorney (legal aid) the ones who are so interested in making a name for themselves. The city has closed most of the low-moderate or public housing complexes and built high priced dwellings in their place. The shelter was overwhelmed with parents that had 2-7 children and no income other than what the government was giving. Again, they want the government to pay for them having children and house them after they have them and they do nothing. This problem is bigger than Families Forward in fact it's an epidemic.



  • http://google yvette adona

    yes.i used to work at families forward,the shelter is very nasty,very dirty,the smell of rats when you walk in the dors of the shelter,there are mice in the rooms where babies sleep,there is food in the rooms that the take in the breed mice.the wrkers there talk to people nasty,i wa fied for being kind,having a friendly word to say to every one that i came in contact with,the mangement was the wost that i have ever seen in life she hates helping people,they talk about them behine there back don't want to be touched by resides.they come to work and look down on hem that live in the shelter.they need to loose there jobs starting from the top them.

  • http://google yvette adona

    i feel that ceo,king-gregory @ he partner in crime joi-buford. need to be te first to go they hate the shlter.they are the two most nasty's women that i know that oversea other people lives.they look down on poor people........they need to loose there jobs it's been going on to long an they cover up a lot of bullshit, that goes on in there it is a hell hold..and they know it they are pocketing the dc. money

  • Ebony

    @ Yvette Adona Shutup!! you was probly fired for being dumb!!! Matter Fact you probly never even worked their. And im sure that you have never met Mrs. Gregory. She is a wonderful woman and will put anybody needs befor her own and Ms. Buford.

  • Ebony

    @ Yvette DUMB ASS!!!

  • Ladybird


    I agreed with you, you are so correct, that organization was never about moving families forward, it was about
    moving families backward, destroying families, dividing families. They all should be fired immediately. Don't wait too long to do this Fenty. Elections in September 2010 and voters are not going to forget this one . This is one of the most notorious organization in the District of Columbia who are suppose to help black folk but instead, they turn on the folk they are suppose to help and destroy them in the twinkling of an eye.

  • Ebony

    LadyBird u can shutup too, because you dont kno wat you talking about either. I hate when people r on the outside and trying to talk about whats going on inside.


    Some decent staff were fired for advising sickly residents what they need to do. Case Manager Pension, called a landlord and stopped me from moving into my unit in a decent area, I still have not found out what was stated. I have lost my Section 8 voucher due to not being in the Section 8 payment system within the six month period, is what I was told by Ronald McCoy, Donna Scrine, Necole Brooks and Mr. Manning. Keith Moon and Mr. Queen never called me back to inform me of the Fair Hearing Decision, after I followed all of the procedures of the Section 8 Program. The landlord told me to leave DC since I have been put thru so much by many agencies in the City for reporting their abusive actions. One Section 8 employee stated "We are going to get you for reporting us, no matter where you go". DECENT SHELTERS SHOULD BE RAN BY THE GOV'T, LIKE A NEW BUILDING, WITH STRONG ACCOUNTABILITY AND NOT ABUSES TO RESIDENTS FOR REPORTING THEM. The roof leaked from the ceiling, mold covered the 6th floor, a monitor tried to lure my 15 yr. old off somewhere discret, staff tried to say it was the childs fault if the staff had sex with her, I constantly stayed running for my children safety. The smell of weed filled the hallways at night, security guards covered a lot of the abuses, conspired to make false reports on innocent residents and children. Staff stole the kids Xmas gifts or gave them to their select residents who abuse other residents for them. Some of the food made residents very sick. Foreigners rights were seriously violated, etc

  • candi miles

    Subject: Reasons for closing DC shelters a farce

    The reasons given for closing the shelters and firing staff are a farce as it was not done out of human care and concern. In fact, four years ago females were awakened during the secret hours of the night to find lesbian staff starring at them while their covers were hanging a bit off of some of the pretty naked bodies they would drool over, male staff walking into cubicles not wanting to leave starring at pretty ladies telling them that they were very pretty.
    Drug bags were the new flowers that adorned the grounds by the hundreds and great amounts of alcohol being drank right in front of the staff with full permission especially if the staff got a swig and all of this was no secret to all staff including Mr. Chappel who tried to shut up a nice, beautiful lady who was reporting the stuff she saw so a psychologist told the lady, and that psychologist was on the prowl too throughout the shelters and picked out women he thought were extremely pretty or extremely loose to do God knows with.

    Child abuse of the worst kind went on there 24/7 directly in front of staff even in front of a so called parenting class teacher and she did nothing, and if a lady reported the abuse she was told to shut up by staff and staff would protect the abusive parent. The staff would call the lady mentally crazy and other names to shut her up. The lady was a college grad. drug free and hated the very hint of child abuse. The horrific conditions of the shelter and the staff confused the lady as she did not understand that this was really going on like something out of a horror movie. That was DC Village being under the rule of the partnership.

    Park rd. shelter was filled with extremely dangerous social workers that weren't fit to watch over cows, they would physically attack the nice women and not the ones that would give them a good beat down and when that lady tried to report it to police that she was assaulted by a black female social worker they told her "there is nothing we can do at all". When severe child abuse was in full affect one family reported it to the social workers pronto in the shelter and the lady was told "it's ok, it's our culture". It was no secret that drugs ran through the shelters quicker than water raging through a river.

    The so called staff that will remain are very good friends with Mr. Chapell and those staff encouraged beyond a shadow of a doubt rape, illicit sex, assault and just pure craziness that were utterly dangerous.
    Were all of these things reported? yes, to OIG, DHS and on, but the black investigators who were sent out severely harassed and endangered the one lady who was reporting this. That lady was threatened by staff that she would not get nice housing and not much help by one of the head social workers for reporting to people and that she would indeed not be treated with great disrespect and discrimination and she was.

    Columbia Heights Shaw Collaborative should be chopped up too for similar reasons especially for giving out information on clients medical records to other clients and harassing clients.

    - -Those places were made up of black staff people- -, because I was new to DC at the time and never lived around all blacks I was traumatized by what I saw and by what I went through thus leading me to despise all black women and a good portion of black males in any authoritative position in DC, after all they were and still are the abusers and protected by Mr. Chappel, DHS and an OIG investigator.

    After I had gone through this I felt like I was worth nothing and that I had done something to deserve the horrific abuses and began to lose my upbeat and smiley manner that cared about all people, I also became stagnant and that was their goal!!! Out right Stupidity, ignorance, abuse and jealousy are the main traits of the contractors and the people who run and work in the shelters. I suppose nothing will change at all with the shelter environment and those type of people who will still be running those hell holes!!!

    Got it now?


  • candi miles

    Subject: 3-31-10 hearing on Families Forward & the rest of the bunch

    During that zombified hearing the camera would zoom in and out periodically and when the camera zoomed out I saw something strange. I saw what looked like the evil and murderous actions of Darfur written all over the faces of Carter, Buford, Ruby and Salters.
    Has anyone noticed that the four people mentioned had no human concern nor any human sorrow. Their faces emotionless and their eyes spoke of deceit with a vengeance for blood toward the most vulnerable they were to help.
    Needy families never get anything out of this and that system as those who run and operate those programs make a killing off of the homeless!

    Worst crime, hurt and destroy your own kind/race! Make no mistake that good white and black folks are crucifying the names and characters of those four traitors and those that followed them.

    Jail should be there home on earth and hell their eternity for the many lives, minds and futures they scarred and destroyed with deliberate intent harboring no regret!

    Question, what government heads knew of the atrocities for a long time and did nothing? almost all of them!

  • candi miles


    God bless!

    I know that every word you have stated is true. In fact, the media and all knew of this for a long time as well. I stand shaky about the Washington Legal Clinic as they are not allowed to take serious action against the people who run the shelters.

    I'm sure that those black people who run the programs were in fact trying to cause death to those in the shelter system to depopulate DC of as many black people as possible. History has been yelling at us for so long to warn us of how blacks have always been paid for selling out their own dating all the way back to slavery.

    But, what goes around will return to its senders ten fold, trust me!!!

    Know this, that DC is so comfortable in saying there is no God and much of our race of all races follow that notion and many other wicked practices. You know what I'm leading up to.

    Shake it off, keep it light and know who your real father is and you will come out of this just fine.

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