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From the Mayor’s Office:
“Today, Mayor Bowser announced 2500 14th Street, NW as the site of the Ward 1 Short-Term Family Housing program, marking another step forward in the Administration’s effort to close and replace DC General Family Shelter with dignified, service-enriched programs across all eight wards.
“Ending homelessness is a citywide challenge that requires a citywide solution. Today, with the selection of the Ward 1 short-term family housing site, we are one step closer to closing and replacing DC General,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are grateful for the partnership of Councilmember Nadeau and the Commissioners of ANC 1B, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Ward 1 community as we move forward with this exciting project.”
The Ward 1 site is the final location selected in the District’s citywide plan to close and replace the aging and isolated DC General Family Shelter. The site plan includes 35 short-term family housing apartment-style units to support families experiencing a housing crisis; 15 units of permanent supportive housing for seniors; and improvements to the Rita Bright Family and Youth Center, which is also located at the site. Construction at the site is slated to begin in January 2019 and be completed by the spring of 2020.
The plan to close and replace DC General includes a low-barrier shelter for women in Ward 2 that opened in early 2016, and short-term family housing programs in each of the other seven wards. Construction is already underway for the projects in Wards 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
Each short-term family housing program will provide safe, clean, and private shelter for families who are experiencing homelessness, with each program accommodating up to 50 families per night. Unlike DC General, these new and dignified programs will have places for children of all ages to play and do homework and will include wrap-around services to help families stabilize and exit homelessness quickly.
“I’m committed to seeing Ward 1 do its part to help the District’s homeless families,” said Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau. “This new site will allow us to use public space and resources in service of helping our homeless families and will also give new life to the Rita Bright Center, a treasured community center. In a rapidly gentrifying part of the District, this will go a long way to helping our neighbors and keeping our promise of making Ward 1 a place where everyone belongs. I look forward to our upcoming community engagement process.”
Establishing an effective crisis response system, including the development of smaller, community based short-term family housing programs, is a concrete step laid out in Homeward DC, the Bowser Administration’s strategic plan to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring. Between 2016 and 2017, after the first full year of implementing Homeward DC, the District saw a 10.5 percent reduction in overall homelessness, a 22 percent reduction in homelessness among families, a 15 percent reduction among veterans experiencing homelessness, and a three percent reduction among individuals experiencing homelessness.
The Bowser Administration’s plan to end homelessness embraces a housing-first strategy with the underlying goal of permanent housing for all residents. In addition to making unprecedented investments in affordable housing, since taking office, the Administration has launched new homeless prevention services, preventing a shelter stay for more than 4,500 families; increased investments in permanent housing programs by nearly 60 percent; developed interim eligibility to provide immediate shelter for families in urgent need; and connected more than 2,100 veterans to permanent housing.
In the coming weeks, the Administration will transmit emergency legislation to the Council to approve the site.”