P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038
(202) 462-0757

Dear Neighbor,

Most people living in the alleys, doorways and parks of our city would like to live indoors. Despite popular belief, most homeless people CAN and WILL work if given an opportunity. But it's nearly impossible to find a job if one can't keep clean or stash one's sole possessions in a safe place.

With this in mind, a coalition of homeless advocates* is attempting to provide the desperately-needed service of showers and lockers for the shelterless so they may seek employment and homes with dignity.

Unfortunately, the District government has been cutting back services for the homeless, arguing that the expenses incurred by Initiative 17 (which guarantees shelter) preclude city funding of vital programs. Transitional housing (e.g. New Endeavors for Women) and food programs (e.g. Dinner Program For Women) have suffered recent cuts.

Meanwhile, there are 9,000 boarded-up buildings in the District, 1,000 of them city-owned, which are blights, fire and health hazards.

The Good Neighbors Project doesn't seek government funds. Rather, we hope to demonstrate that cooperation can bypass the need for government dollars. By combining resources city - donated boarded-up buildings, privately-donated surplus construction materials, and volunteer labor - we may begin to make a dent in the tragic cycles of homelessness.

Enclosed is a Public Service Announcement which we hope you will help us spread throughout the community. We need grassroots support in lobbying the City to release a building for the first hygiene-and-locker center. We need scrap and surplus construction materials. Once renovation is completed, we will need volunteers to help operate the facility.

If there is any way that you can help us bring the Good Neighbors Project to fruition, please call (462-0757) or write us.

/s/Ellen Thomas
Ellen Thomas

* GNP advocates also work with Homeless Advisory Counsel, Arch Family Outreach, Downtown Cluster of Congregations, Habitat for Humanity, Housing Action Coalition; professionals in the construction industry shelter workers; City Council staff; etc.