Friday, July 27, 2007

CSM DC in the News!!

Our DC City Director, Mark Harmon, was recently interviewed by Relevant Magazine for a piece entitled "Homelessness and Hope in the Capitol"...

"The story of Washington, D.C., tells a tale of two cities. One of them is an epicenter of wealth and power, the seat of the most powerful government in the world. It is a tourist hotspot that attracts millions to the National Mall to marvel at monuments to past presidents and soldiers. It is a hub of education, boasting the Smithsonian museums and several major universities.

The other is a small Southern city, wrought with fascinating history and populated by individuals who fled north following the Civil War. Being in the shadow of the Capitol has not spared it the plights that have plagued other major urban areas. It’s now speckled with construction cranes that attest to renewed efforts to revitalize a once economically dragging metropolitan area.
Gentrification is the cure, and new Starbucks and high-rise condos are the medicine. As wealthy professionals have moved back into the city, murder rates have fallen from 482 in 1991, an all-time high and a figure that briefly bestowed the city the title of “Murder capital of the United States,” to fewer than 200 in 2005. Violent crime, assault and robbery have seen similar drops per capita. Urban renewal is not without its drawbacks—unseating established neighborhoods and causing property values to skyrocket out of reach for many families. Some have been forced into inadequate or overcrowded living conditions. And the city continues to suffer from a burgeoning homeless population and one of the highest-spending, poorest-performing public school systems in the country.

Mark Harmon has seen much transition in the city. Harmon has been in the area for 27 years, and runs the Washington branch of the Center for Student Missions (CSM), an organization that brings groups into the city to work with various ministries and agencies in hopes of educating the participants about social problems while strengthening their faith and solidifying their groups. CSM maintains a permanent presence in Washington as well as eight other large cities across the country..."

Read the rest of the article...

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