Washington Post Column:
Saturday, November 19, 1988; Page A14

I participated in the Nov. 7 march on the Capitol staged by the Community for Creative Non-Violence and, unlike Nola Sesso {letter, Nov. 16}, was pleased to see so many folks who ordinarily wouldn't risk arrest sitting in the street to pray for housing for the 3 million homeless nationwide.

Ten thousand of those homeless live in D.C. -- 3,500 in shelters, 6,500 in parks, alleys and doorways. In the meantime, city-owned buildings such as the 70-unit James Apartments (1425 N St. NW) stand vacant and fenced winter after winter, while families are crowded into single rooms, without a kitchen, at Capitol City Inn, to the taxpayers' tune of $1,500 per month per room. (Fifteen hundred dollars a month could rent an elegant three-story Capitol Hill town house.)

So, though I laud the 377 who were arrested, I can't help feeling dismay that most of them so willingly forked over $25 each for the city to mismanage. Perhaps the $9,000-plus swallowed by the bureaucracy could have been used as a down payment for a hygiene center so that 6,500 D.C. citizens condemned to street dwelling would have a place to take baths and wash their clothes.

ELLEN THOMAS Washington The writer is a member of the Homeless Advisory Council.