Council hears testimony from formerly homeless youths

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Local,DC,Eric P. Newcomer,Marion Barry,Jim Graham

Witnesses testified to the plight of the homeless in the District and a range of other issues during the Human Services oversight hearing run by Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham.

As the oversight hearing stretched into late afternoon, Graham decided the hearing's only executive branch witness, Director of the Department of Human Services David Berns, would escape council scrutiny for another day, pushing Berns' remarks to Thursday morning.

The hearing featured formerly homeless young people sharing their stories.

"You're only 21 and you've had this much life?" Graham asked, after one young woman shared her story with the Council. "We want to make things better for you."

Non-profit leaders urged the Council to direct more money and resources to help the city's homeless population and to families who receive welfare in the District.

Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry chastised the city for its treatment of the poor.

"Washington has become...a tale of two cities, like Charles Dickens talked about: the haves and the have nots -- and the haves become more and more insensitive to the have nots," he said.

"This D.C. City Council is becoming more and more conservative," Barry said. "You put your money where your mouth is. If you say you care, let's fund these programs."

enewcomer@washingtonexaminer.com

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