LGBTQ activists and advocates has dropped off copies of a letter addressed to members of the D.C. Council, signed by 72 different organizations, advocating for a bill that would decriminalize sex work in the District of Columbia. The four key arguments in favor of the bill are that decriminalizing sex work will 1) allow sex workers, particularly transgender individuals who otherwise can’t obtain jobs due to discrimination, a way to make money to survive; 2) decrease the incidence of violence and harassment that sex workers face at the hands of clients, criminals who target sex workers for money, or even police; 3) decrease rates of HIV by allowing transgender people more time and space to negotiate condom use; and 4) allow sex workers to access resources, government benefits, and employment opportunities that they would otherwise be denied if they have a criminal conviction for prostitution. [Read Article]
LGBTQ advocates deliver letter to DC council members calling for sex work decriminalization (Metro Weekly)
Transgender sex workers feel under attack. These women are working to protect their own. (Washington Post)
District residents can walk into their local pharmacy and ask for FREE naloxone, the overdose-reversing drug
Alexandra Bradley, Mobile Services Manager at the nonprofit HIPS, has been giving out free Naloxone (also known as Narcan) as part of HIPS’ harm reduction program since well before the pilot. In addition to naloxone, the group gives out condoms and offers information on syringe exchange programs. For Bradley, any reduction in barriers to accessing naloxone is a good thing. Bradley also says that for the clients HIPS serves, which include sex workers, people with substance use disorders, and people experiencing homelessness, pilots like these aren’t always practical. “To go to the pharmacy, you have to be willing to ask a pharmacist in public about Naloxone and risk them acting a certain way,” says Bradley. According to an American Medical Association opioid report released this month, there’s a mistaken belief that naloxone will encourage “risky behavior,” or encourage people to continue using knowing there’s an antidote. And this might make people fearful to ask for it, even if the drug isn’t intended for them, but rather for a friend or a family member. Instead of going to a pharmacy, Bradley says community members can receive free naloxone from HIPS directly. The group gives it out when they do outreach activities. According to Bradley, the Department of Health provides a lot of community-based organizations like HIPS with free Naloxone to hand out. That way people can receive it, no questions asked, from a group familiar to them. The pilot is a great back-up for emergencies when HIPS and other community-based organizations aren’t immediately available, Bradley says. [Read Article]
Miriam’s Kitchen, HIPS and Everyone Home D.C., are service provider and advocacy organizations who belong to The Way Home Campaign. This is one of three responses to an open-letter letter written by the NoMa Business Improvement District.
As social service providers with a combined total of nearly 115 years working to end homelessness in Washington, D.C., we are deeply troubled by the current debate around homelessness encampments in NoMa. While encampments are not ideal, and common-sense strategies should be put in place to protect the health and safety of all of our neighbors, they are a natural byproduct of D.C.’s homelessness crisis. We worry that concentrating on encampments sidetracks D.C. from focusing on proven, humane, and client-centered solutions to end homelessness. As such, we ask the NoMa community, and all D.C. residents, to join us in advocating for the best-known solution to homelessness: housing. [Read Article]
2019 Trans Equality Now Awards Honors HIPS Staff Member and long time community advocate, Earline Budd.
Cyndee Clay started with HIPS, an organization that serves people involved in street economies, as a volunteer in college. Today she's the organization's executive director. As HIPS prepares to celebrate its 25th year, she and City Paper's Housing Complex reporter Andrew Giambrone talked about D.C.'s opioid crisis, issues facing the transgender community, and HIPS' approach of not judging their clients on what they're doing, but rather helping them prevent harm. [Listen Here]