Monday, April 25, 2011

Corner of 14th and Corcoran Gets "Cleaned Up"

Many of you have commented over the past couple of years about the individual who had made his home at the northeast corner of 14th and Corcoran streets. The individual, whose name is Michael, had amassed a rather large and unsightly collection of--for lack of a better word--"stuff" that was taking up a rather substantial portion of the sidewalk and treebox and creating a public health hazard.

A couple of weeks ago, signs went up indicating that the corner was going to be "cleaned up" by the city on or about April 29. Well, it looks like they got a jump on things, because as of this weekend, Michael's belongings were gone from the sidewalk.



(Sorry for the crummy cell phone photo above.)

However, the city cannot force Michael into a shelter or treatment program, which highlights the difficulties in addressing problematic situations with the homeless and/or mentally ill. Thus, Michael has simply moved down the block, in front of the Shirt Laundry dry cleaners building, and appears to be commencing the collection of another assortment of "stuff". Lather, rinse, repeat?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sad story, and a shame that Michael cannot get the help he so clearly needs.

Steve S. said...

Could they clear out the squatters in front of Union Station?

Anonymous said...

Who should we contact to have him removed from the Shirt Laundry location?

brian said...

Borderstan had an interesting interview piece with this gentleman last year - http://www.borderstan.com/10/peoples-district-michael-on-finding-his-heritage/

arcadiadesign said...

I live just around the corner. Last week or so, after the signs went up but before the "pile" was removed, Michael had begun to exhibit new signs of dementia, loudly hollering at no one in particular. Yesterday morning, walking my dogs, he was wandering both sides of the block and appeared to be stalking and again yelling. As I passed along on the opposite side of 14th he was yelling that he was going to get me and my dogs. This occurred very eary Sunday morning.

Anonymous said...

The DC Dept. of Mental Health has a homeless outreach team you can call if there is a homeless person in need of mental health intervention or assessment-
(202) 671-0388
If someone appears to be in real immediate danger to themselves or someone else you can always call 911, or the mobile crisis psych emergency team- (202) 673-9319
IF there is a heat advisory the shelter hotline can also be called- (800) 535-7252

convexhull said...

this is exactly the sort of riff-raff 14th street needs to be rid of if it is to continue gentrifying with nice restaurants and hipster spots and make your own pizza joints. He should be enticed to move into Shaw somewhere, that way limousine liberals wouldn't be bothered by the sight of him.

Anonymous said...

I tried in vain for months, including discussions with the police, my ANC Commissioner (who is worthless), the Dep't of Sanitation, the DPW, etc., etc., ad nauseum. I even found the appropriate citations in DC code of which Mr. Paul (Michael) was in violation. My response from the District was that municipal code does not apply to homeless people!!! WHAT a joke! So I paid $11,000/year in taxes to the District, and they could not get rid of this guy?!?!??! Welcome to Washington! (We have since moved, btw, and are now in Adams Morgan... which has its own "problems.") If Mr. Paul has indeed "moved in" on the corner of 14th and Q, lots of luck trying to get rid of him!!!

Anonymous said...

One more thing - The Central Union Mission is the main culprit in this whole matter. The only reason Mr. Paul stays in Logan is because of that Mission. David Treadwell, the President of the Mission, is totally ineffective in trying to keep vagrants out of the immediate area, despite numerous calls/meetings with me and the neighbors of Corcoran. He allows Mr. Paul to use the bathroom at the mission and also feeds him. Mr. Paul is severely schizoprhenic, btw, and needs major medical/psychiatric attention. The Mission (and the District, for that matter) does absolutely nothing to try and have these problems addressed. John Wesley AME Church is another bad neighbor. Although it is incredibly well-endowed, it refuses to install iron gates to seal off its porches. The parish also does nothing to maintain its historic building and property. Vagrants tend to sleep and congregate in the porches, and have no problem urinating and defacating in areas around the Church (including the alleys). Try waking up to that some early morning when putting out the garbage! Nice! IMO, I'd like to see the District bring back the "no loitering" laws. I can't wait to get a response from some bleeding heart telling me that I'm a limosine liberal, and that I should care more about Mr. Paul's welfare than my property values. My response? Feel free to take him over to your house so that he can build a trash heap in front of it and rant and rave at you every time you pass by!

Mr. 14th & You said...

For the record, we have found the Mission to be conscientious neighbors (we've written about our support for them previously on this blog). Outside of Mr. Paul and some people hanging around when the Mission opens and closes for the night, there's surprisingly little vagrancy considering the number of people it serves. Whether or not the Mission can be considered the "main" culprit for enabling Mr. Paul is certainly debatable--he has used the bathrooms at area businesses for instance, and I have seen numerous people give him food and drink. (Personally, I'd rather he use the bathroom in the Mission than go in the alley or in the church doorway.) And there is the aformentioned lack of laws on the District's books to adequately address situations like his.

Additionally, I walk by Mr. Paul multiple times a day, and have so for years now, and the only time he has spoken to me was oen night when he made a comment about the weather. I've heard anecdotal reports about him behaving inappropriately towards others, but I've never been witness to him screaming or harassing passers-by.

I do wish that the District could enact and enforce laws that would help people like Michael and help keep them off of the street. Whatever your position on homelessness and homeless people, there should be a general consensus that no one--least of all Michael--is served by him living on the street, collecting mountains of garbage, and using public spaces as a bathroom.

Mr. 14th & You said...

Sorry, but one last point: if you're concerned/bothered by the presence of people living on the street, I'd recommend voicing your displeasure with the Gray administration's budget, which includes a reduction of over $20 million in funding for homeless services, which would likely mean the shuttering of most District-operated shelters throughout the city, except on nights when hypothermia is a concern. (http://www.legalclinic.org/about/Pressrelease4-13-11b.pdf)