Well, just to up the thread, I got a response from support saying basically "we're looking into it". As of... now, it's still not working.
mbonh, I don't use FTP, we're having problems accessing the actual files from the shell, console, SSH Login, or whatever you prefer to call it.
Whatever problem you are having I believe it may not be related to this. This is a misconfiguration by Dreamhost part, admitted by them, and they are working on solving it. It's not a change of policy.
If you need to download some files there are lots of options, like using scp as you mention, or sending them by email to you, or just putting them in a public directory on your web (public meaning that is accesible from the web, but not necesarily by anyone. You can protect it e.g. with mod_auth_digest so only you can download the files).
If you choose scp/ssh, the process of doing that is absolutely straightforward if you use a 'proper' OS like Linux or Mac OS X, and just a tiny bit less straightforward in Windows, as you probably need to download software by third parties in order to be able to do that.
I'm not familiar with the forum rules, but I supose that you should probably open a new thread with your question if you need help regarding that particular, although I'm pretty sure a google search will probably give you thousands of examples to look at.