a hidden world: desperation for hundreds of homeless families in d.c. motels
I asked you to hold his hand. year-
Ariana, an elderly single mother, urged her biggest child. The 5-year-
The old man with corn and pink hairpins caught her 3-year-
The old brother Ali walked in front of her mother, who held a newborn baby wrapped in a blanket on her chest.
With her right hand, Williams reached out and guided her 1-year-
Old Isaiah, wrapped in a foam coat and frog hat, runs fast on the lower leg to keep up with the pace.
They walk through checkers and Duncan Donuts on a busy, shabby New York Avenue in Northeast Washington, walking along the black iron fence, which surrounds the green waterproof cloth-covered motel pool.
Staff of Days Inn
This winter, there are at least 12 motels in the city to accommodate 730 homeless families, one of them --
Leaning against the balcony, you can overlook the courtyard illuminated by the yellow lights of December.
They occupy a hidden world full of despair and poverty. other-
Room service, free WiFi, continental breakfast in lobby, 170-
The banquet hall of the guest room motel.
Days Inn and other motels in Washington and Maryland are used to house homeless families, and little is known about it.
Like a former homeless home shelter in Washington, D. C. C.
General Hospital. they\'re off work.
Restrictions on journalists
The information provided by city officials on the welfare of 1,300 poor children, who live in such a crowded environment, struggle, mostly single parents.
Williams and her children passed by the mothers who were sitting at the door, half in the room and half outside because they saw restless children riding bicycles in the parking lot.
A woman wearing a pink headscarf took out a bedside table from her motel room and yelled at the people in the room.
\"I don\'t know what\'s wrong with her,\" Williams said . \" He agreed to let reporters and photographers follow her.
\"After spending too much time here, you will eventually go crazy.
Because it\'s too small.
So many people crowded into a room.
\"Last year, days Hotel received 440 police calls, said Nicole Chapple, assistant director of Foreign Affairs and Policy in Washington, D. C. C.
Bureau of homeland security and emergency response.
Williams witnessed a terrible battle between residents and tried to remain silent.
It\'s safer, she said.
She opened the door to her unit and brought her child into a space she called \"two cell sizes.
The decor was comfortable with chestnut carpets, wooden paneled headboards, and TVs in the wardrobe near the bathroom vanity.
Stayed here since August as Williams-
Then six months pregnant, unemployed, no place to go
Call the city\'s homeless hotline.
It was in this room that Williams\'s parents kept the four children in order, kept their things in order, stacked in corners, on TV, on the vanity and under the bed in the bathroom.
Ariyanna is doing kindergarten work in this room.
Williams gave birth on November in this room.
Then came back with the newly born Quentin.
Now she puts the child on the double bed closest to the bathroom.
Other kids sit on another bed next to the window overlooking the pool.
Williams threw bags of groceries at the table in the motel room.
In the mini fridge, she piled up yogurt, apples, oranges and roast chicken and they will have dinner that night.
She buys rice with her food ticket because she doesn\'t like to eat pasta, casserole, chicken, hot dogs and other dishes provided by the city at the motel.
She said: \"There is a problem with meat.
\"Plush animals and other toys are stacked on the heaters on the wall, on the padded chairs in the corner, in the box by the door.
It\'s a challenging environment for a woman who describes herself as a neat monster and an obsession
Forced organizerShe turns to 3-year-old Amari.
\"Why are you jumping up and down? ”She wants 1-year-
Old Isaiah stopped digging in grocery bags on the floor.
She wants Mali to stop complaining and \"act like a baby \".
Quentin began to cry in bed. She asks 5-year-
Old Ariyanna went to get the pacifier for the newborn.
\"It\'s not good in such a crowded space,\" Williams said . \".
\"You have to really organize here.
Or you\'re crazy.
Your kids will go crazy.
She told Mali, \"go there ! \"
But, really, he has no place to go.
He climbed back to the double bed and lay on a pillow with a red \"car\" cartoon character on it and \"Doc McStuffins\" on the sheet \".
He began to complain about eating snacks again.
\"Everything will come back whenever I walk into this room,\" his mother said . \".
\"How did I come?
What have I been doing all these years?
Where did I go wrong?
\"She knows that she and the kids are better at Days Inn than on the street or in Washington. C.
The general\'s dilapidated residence
\"But I have to keep saying, \'I want to get out of this situation.
She said she was two years old when Williams and her siblings were taken away from her mother, a family health assistant who was accused of being ignored.
Williams has not seen her for 17 years.
At that time, the family lived in South Carolina and she was told that her father was imprisoned there for murder.
The children were sent on a train to Virginia, where an older cousin Deborah Jackson and her husband Bernard Jackson took 2-year-
Great old Tila.
The aunt raised two older brothers and sisters.
\"She\'s a blessing,\" said Bernard Jackson . \" Deborah became the only parent after Williams died at the age of eight.
She said she lost her birth mother and then her foster mother was bothering Williams.
At ferfax high school, she takes as many art lessons as possible and is immersed in painting.
\"I drew a man\'s face over and over again,\" she said . \".
She now thinks this is the face of her biological father, who she only met on Facebook.
She said he died of a heart attack last year.
After graduating from Felix in 2008, Williams worked in a store in Burlington Coat Factory and then worked as a waitress in the chili restaurant.
When she was 19 years old, she met a man who would become her daughter\'s father.
She moved to that area in order to be with him.
But she said the relationship was controlled and abused.
When her daughter was 4 months old, she left him, spent a few months in two shelters, and then moved into an apartment in Southeast Washington.
When she left the father of her three other children in August, the same thing happened again because they had been quarreling.
\"You think you\'re stable, then [stuff]
She can\'t live with her adoptive father, who lives in Alexandria.
The bedroom apartment has recently suffered a stroke.
She also said she could not live with another cousin\'s sister who lives in ferfax.
Before calling the homeless hotline, she jumped from friend to friend.
This is the end of her and the children at Days Inn, where a sign was placed on the front door that said, \"100% ID card,\" and a booking person said the motel was fully booked.
The Days Inn manager declined to talk about the contract between the motel and the homeless family.
However, residents are required to comply with strict regulations.
Smoking, drinking, drug use or blasphemy are not allowed according to the rules table.
\"Residents or tourists are not allowed to shout.
Residents are not allowed to enter each other\'s rooms.
\"Everyone must obey 9: 30 points. m.
Curfew from Sunday to Thursday and 11 in the eveningm.
Curfew on Friday and Saturday
Those who are able to work \"need to actively look for work every week and provide the documentation they are looking.
Residents need to meet with the case coordinator to develop a \"housing exit plan \".
\"Williams is still waiting for her to arrive in this city where rents are soaring and affordable housing options are reduced.
Since urban voters passed a 1984 law guaranteeing overnight accommodation for homeless people during the cold season, the area has been placing homeless families in motels.
In the following years, the number of families seeking asylum has surged.
On March 1988, two babies died at the infamous Capitol Hotel on New York Avenue;
One child is suffering from runny brain and the other is suffering from pneumonia.
The next year, an 18-month-
A fire broke out at the motel, killing an old boy and injuring two women.
Then the anger forced
Mayor Barry (D)
Move each family out of the Capitol Hotel by the end of 1989.
But the problem of housing parents and children in the crisis continues to plague city officials --
Even if they swear to close the rotten Washington, D. C. C.
At some point in 2014
Mayor Vincent Gray. D)
Trying to house a family in two entertainment centers
The Court and the prosecutor quickly dismissed a solution. C. Council.
Greg\'s successor, Muriel E. Bowser (D)
, Took a very different approach, not only on cold nights, but on any day of the year, accepting applications for asylum for families.
Results: according to the recent night Census, there were 730 homeless families living in Days Inn and at least 11 other motels, including 1,300 children.
D. there are another 250 families. C. General.
\"This number is very high for us,\" admitted Laura Green Zelinger, executive director, Washington, D. C. C.
Human Services Department.
She won\'t say how much the area pays for motel rooms every night, but says the city has budgeted them about $15 million this year.
The goal, she said, is to get families out of motels and shelters and into transitional housing as soon as possible.
But in the second half of 2015, only 68 families moved into subsidized apartments on average every month.
Not enough landlords are willing to participate in the fast pace of the area
The resettlement project, Zeilinger said.
In recent weeks, the city has placed hundreds of families at a motel in Maryland, where it is more difficult to provide meals and other help to parents and children.
The Bowser government has little information about the motel.
D. no on-site inspections were conducted. C.
The council committee, which has oversight over homelessness, did not review the welfare of the children living in it, although the number of children in the motel is twice as large as the much reviewed D. C. General. D. C.
Phil Mendelson, president of the Council (D)
He admitted that he had never been to a motel.
In the short term, he believes that there is nothing to do for more and more families to live in.
Bowser said he plans to get more families into transitional housing and \"don\'t have enough time\" to work.
Zeilinger also defended the use of the motel as necessary and important.
\"What really matters is that we don\'t have unsafe and unprotected families,\" says Zeilinger . \".
\"The motel is not ideal, but we have an affordable one.
Housing crisis in the region.
When people don\'t have a safe place for the kids to lie down at night, we won\'t get over that.
\"On the day of school, Williams\'s alarm clock sounded at 6 in the morning. m.
While the children are still sleeping, she takes a shower and wears clothes.
Then she wakes them up for breakfast and heads to Ariyanna School in Southeast Washington.
\"My kids won\'t miss school,\" Williams said . \".
When they were sent to the Days Inn, she did not want Ariyanna to change school.
She wants to maintain a degree of consistency.
So every day at school, Williams packs four kids and takes two to school.
Cross the town by bus to Ariyanna\'s kindergarten.
The children were dressed the night before Williams.
One recent morning Ariyanna\'s hair was rolled up with corn and tied to the end of the hair with blue and white hairpins.
The girl, who loves Disney\'s \"Doctor McStuffins\", put on a light pink jacket with a puppy\'s face on her backpack.
They left the hotel room at 6: 59 and walked along the corridor next to the pool to the lobby where other mothers and children were having breakfast.
They passed by a little girl in a pink jacket who sat with her mother at a table at the entrance of the lobby and finished a bowl of cold cereal and homework.
They passed by another girl who filled the ice bucket in the motel room with Frosted Flakes.
Williams grabbed Isaiah\'s hand and ordered Ariana to hold Amari\'s hand as he pushed open the double glass door.
\"I hate this parking lot,\" Williams said . \"year-old.
They walked under the train bridge.
The baby is in her chest;
Isaiah on the right hip
A train hovers overhead.
The curious preschool, Amari, announced that \"the train is heading for New York.
Williams and the children walked through the street and waited at a bus waiting booth advertising skica vodka.
The motel was packed with other mothers taking their children to school in town.
When the B2 bus arrived, Williams received the children in the car.
The bus runs in the city and there is a station at Station D. C.
General, Williams spent a few nasty months there when he was homeless for the first time.
For many people, the building evokes 8-year-
Old Lisa Rudd living in Washington, D. C. C.
About two years ago, she disappeared in the company of a doorman who killed his wife and himself.
In fact, on this day, the police launched a search for Relisha again at a construction site not far from Days Inn, but, again, they got nothing.
At Martin Luther King Avenue SE, Williams and the children got off the bus and stood at the corner just as the second bus opposite them left.
\"This has been happening all the time,\" Williams sighed . \".
\"Just as the bus drove away, we got here.
About 20 minutes later, another bus arrived and they took it to Ariana to get off after 20 minutes of school.
\"The teachers understand,\" Williams said . \".
Inside, they pass through the sign in the hallway that says \"attendance is important.
\"After Ariana settled down, Williams crossed the street with Amari, Isaiah and Quentin, waiting again for the two men at another bus stop --
One hour trip back to Days Inn.
The motel is a monotonous and isolated landscape.
The two mothers walked out of the door of the lobby and sat on a dry fountain in the circular Lane, flick cigarettes.
A man pushing a stroller joined them.
The baby inside kept crying.
In the evening, the parking lot was packed with diners going to panda food, a Chinese restaurant attached to Days Inn, which was well received by food critics.
When Williams gave birth here in November, she called the front desk of the motel and asked the ambulance to go to Providence Hospital.
Then she woke Ariana, Amari and Isaiah up and dressed them.
She said her youngest child, Patrick Pernell\'s father, took care of them while she was in labor.
He declined to interview the article.
Williams said he did not pay support, but helped him by buying diapers, food and jackets.
After dropping Ariyanna at school, Williams went back to the room and her door was a bit half open for fresh air to come in.
A boy pushed it away.
\"Where is Ariyanna?
8-year-old Akelles Taylor asked, she is a sophomore.
\"She\'s at school and you should be there,\" Williams replied . \".
It was then that the mother of Axel, taminisk Taylor, entered the room.
Taylor, 24, met Williams through relatives before both arrived at Days Inn.
They trust each other because they have met before.
This is the trust they have not given to other residents.
\"I don\'t associate with people here,\" Taylor said . \"
\"I just had someone throw the clothes in the dryer with my son\'s baby clothes.
I threw my underwear in the trash.
Taylor\'s hair was tied up by a metal hairpin and she walked to the laundry room.
She took her 5-month-
There\'s a baby on her left arm, Jayce.
Akiles, sucking a green stick, walked up to her, through the door of the motel, wrapped like a Christmas present.
\"That\'s what you\'re talking about,\" Taylor pointed to the door and said . \".
\"You don\'t want to decorate like living here.
You want to go out.
\"She will leave for two days in a few days --
Bedroom subsidized apartments in Southeast Washington.
She can\'t move there soon.
\"When I came here, I started to feel very depressed,\" she said . \" But she tried to hide it from her son.
She stood in the laundry room and listed the regrets of her life.
\"My last grade was the eighth grade.
I was pregnant when I was 15, \"Taylor said.
\"My grandmother never reported me to high school.
I think she thought I didn\'t want to go.
But I went to eighth grade with him.
She said the school system never looked for her.
\"I think the school system has disappointed me.
My family let me down.
But I can\'t blame them for my situation . \"
She threw dry clothes into the garbage bag and dragged the bag with one arm --
Cross the parking lot and walk down the black metal staircase to Room 264.
In the room, she put the baby on the bed and put the folded clothes in the corner of the room.
\"I try to keep it clean,\" she said . \".
A few minutes later, Williams, who was taking a nap, stopped.
They watched the TV show \"crib\" for a few minutes.
Boxing champion Pacquiao is showing off one of his houses with a pool, sparkling floors and a well stocked refrigerator.
\"Look at his house,\" Taylor said, sitting in a cushion chair close to the window . \".
\"I want that crib. ” She laughs.
\"The joint has been arranged.
He got the crib. eighteen rooms!
They laugh and dream.
\"What is that called --infinity pools? Williams said.
\"I want one.
Back in her room, a cold rain hit the window.
As night fell, Williams opened the curtains.
At least she and the kids can check out.
\"This is my mother\'s house ,\"year-
Old Ali announced.
Ariyanna whispered to her mother, wondering when they would move out of the motel.
\"Do you remember that my room had dresser and butterfly carpet? ” the 5-year-old asks.
Williams told her, \"I remember.
Alan Davis contributed to the report.