Photo by Flickr user Street Sense Photo By Sabrina Caserta
From the Mayor’s Office:
“We Cannot Delay Closing DC General
Fixing the District’s broken homelessness system has been a top priority of my Administration. Our team of nationally recognized homelessness and housing experts developed a plan to end homelessness in the District by 2020. And we put our money where our mouth is, with historic investments of $145 million in homeless service programs.
At the top of our agenda is to close DC General, the District’s largest family shelter. If you’ve heard anything about DC General, you know it’s not a place for families. DC General is located near our jail and other treatment facilities. It is a bureaucratic, institutional behemoth – with capacity for 268 families.
Our community deserves better. So we’re going to do something others have failed to do: we will close DC General once and for all.
Our plan is to replace DC General with small, neighborhood-based, emergency family housing across the city. This emergency family housing will have private rooms that are safe and clean. There will be common spaces for children to play and do homework, and services like housing assistance and job placement – the very things that help families exit out of shelter.
We want the new facilities to meet the needs of the people we serve in a dignified and humane way. So my team put together a work group including advocates, providers of homeless services, experts in child welfare and domestic violence, and people who have experienced homelessness. That group recommended a number of ways we can make the facilities safe, dignified and effective. With their recommendations in hand, we came up with a design that balances the interests of key stakeholders. The new emergency family housing will be superior to DC General in every way, and will help parents and children achieve their number one goal – to transition quickly to a place they can call home.
This week, the Council of the District of Columbia will have an opportunity to vote on legislation that paves the way for this new emergency family housing. Please call on your councilmember and urge them to pass the “Year Round Access to Shelter Policy Amendment Act.”
If we work together, we can close DC General and end homelessness in the District.