A D.C. Council member is requesting $400,000 in city funds to put a day-laborer center in a Northeast shopping center. But it is unclear whether city officials will check the immigration status of the mostly Hispanic job-seekers that congregate at the site.
About 200 workers, many of whom are Hispanic day laborers, wait for work each day outside the Home Depot store at 901 Rhode Island Ave. NE, said council member Harry Thomas Jr., Ward 5 Democrat.
Mr. Thomas proposed building the center after neighbors complained about loitering and public urination in the area.
Mr. Thomas said he hopes to place a temporary "multicultural and training-based center" on land owned by Home Depot in the shopping center by next month. The council member's long-term goal is to begin building a permanent center in the plaza by the end of the year.
Ron DeFeo, a spokesman for Home Depot, said discussions are ongoing and that the national chain has cooperated with other projects in the past to help solve similar problems. Often the day laborers gather to appeal to the contractors and homeowners who frequent the home-improvement store.
The permanent structure would sit on land owned by both Home Depot and the District and would hopefully be paid for with private funds, Mr. Thomas said.
The site would not be a "day-laborer" center but also would serve local residents seeking work, he said.
Three men were stabbed - two died - last year in a day-laborer scuffle. I would imagine the developers working on the Rhode Island Avenue/Brentwood Metro redesign will weigh in on this idea.