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Gunther Stern Shines a Light on Georgetown's Homeless

As The Washington Post reported this week, Gunther Stern is a champion of the often hidden faces of homelessness in Georgetown. "The Georgetown he sees daily is not the one of travel books or magazine spreads, where shoppers can find a lavatory faucet with “crystal egg handles” for $2,500. His Georgetown is one where panhandlers are fixtures on the red-brick sidewalks, sometimes to the annoyance of residents and business owners. His Georgetown is one where a man under an overpass looks through photos with hands callused on top and a woman in a donated coat leafs through a cookbook at the library for a dessert she will never make."

This past October, Ellen MacNeille Charles opened her most elegant and exquisite Georgetown home to friends and neighbors for the 2015 Spirit of Georgetown Benefit, to honor Gunther Stern for his 25 years of service to the Georgetown Ministry Center (GMC).

Councilmember Jack Evans presented the "Freddie" Award to Stern for his dedication to the homeless and GMC, thanking him for dedicating his professional career to rebuilding and empowering the lives of people who are homeless by building relationships with these most service-resistant individuals in hopes of getting them off the streets.

Under Stern's remarkable leadership, GMC has grown from a small outreach center to a warm and welcoming clubhouse that provides people with a sense of respect and community. Advocating for those without a voice, Stern recently spoke before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of Congress about changing laws to better serve the people who are mentally ill and homeless.

Thanking his host and guests, Stern spoke passionately, "When we talk about homelessness, what we are really talking about is profoundly mentally disabled people who have been allowed to languish on the streets because of antiquated laws. Let's talk about how we can fix the system."

As guests applauded his service, Stern closed by saying, "Next year we should honor Georgetown for being one of the most caring communities on earth."