Housing Complex

High Court Denies Franklin Shelter Appeal

Still empty. (historydc.org)

It might have been doomed from the start: The D.C. Court of Appeals today issued a final denial to the homeless men who charged that the closure of the shelter at the Franklin School in 2008 was illegal and unconstitutional.

In their case, homeless advocates argued that the shelter's inhabitants had been denied their due process rights, deprived of their private property, and been victims of intentional infliction of emotional distress. In 2009, the District Court denied their request for injunctive relief, saying that there was no statutory or constitutional right to shelter, and that there had been adequate notice of the shelter's closing and alternative lodging at other facilities.

Today, a three-judge panel upheld that decision, writing: "A homeless person or client who recieves medical or other services in the District from a provider does not have a protected property right or interest in those services grounded either in the Constitution or any District of Columbia statute; the exception is the statutory entitlement to shelter in severe or frigid weather."

That doesn't bode well for the lawsuit over La Casa shelter, also argued by public interest lawyer Jane Zara, which rests on some of the same arguments.

  • Parks that don’t smell like Pee

    Yay! In your face LOSERS!!!

  • W Jordan

    This means then that both Franklin and La Casa are political, social and civic value issues. So what do the people say? "F" the homeless? I don't care? Cute story Lydia? ...?

  • Thurston Howl IV

    Personally, I would like to see the Franklin School converted in to a swanky co-op with a doorman or a private residence. Why won't someone step forward and save this beautiful building from the homeless of this city?

  • W Jordan

    I think the point is that this is not a personal matter but public one. So as a public citizen what is best? Somehow we have confused the two.

  • DC Taxpayer

    The idea that these folks have a right to public charity is either maddening or laughable, depending on one's mood. We should do what we can to help the homeless of DC - while not attracting the homeless of other jurisdictions. But when butthole public interest lawyers get involved in trying to force DC to spend monies it doesn't have or doesn't want to spend, the District should take the funds to defend itself from those same homeless programs.

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  • http://www.ericsheptock.com Eric Jonathan Sheptock

    Let's rein this conversation in a little. Homelessness is a public issue. The public can pay to shelter the homeless or to jail them. They can also pay to give the able-bodied homeless job-training or just feed them indefinitely. If the homeless are not sheltered, housed, fed and clothed, they'll go into "survival mode" and do what they need to stay alive.

    I fully support the idea of making someone self-sufficient; but, just ignoring them and shutting down needed services doesn't accomplish that. The homeless problem is going to remain if nothing is done about it. The question we need to ask ourselves is not "Do we want to help these people?", but rather "What is the best way to help these people? A way that makes the best use of our tax dollars?"

    Finally, since Franklin School shelter was closed, there have been MORE homeless in Franklin Square Park, not less. For proof to that effect, just read the 9/16/2009 examiner article entitled "Bummed Out on K Street". That said, the notion that not feeding or sheltering them will cause them to go away is faulty logic.

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