Five-Year Plan to End Homelessness in the District Approved Unanimously
The District Interagency Council on Homelessness’ (ICH) new five-year plan to end chronic homelessness throughout the city was approved unanimously by the full ICH council at their quarterly meeting on March 31.
The strategic plan underwent 25 public meetings and two public comment sessions before being finalized. It seeks to end chronic homelessness among the sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons–including veterans by December 2015, and families by December 2017. It also aims to rehouse anyone within 60 days of becoming homeless.
According to the proposal, the District will close D.C. General, the largest family shelter in the city. Instead, smaller facilities dispersed throughout the city will be funded. In her budget proposal—released on April 2—Mayor Muriel Bowser has allocated nearly $4.9 million for 84 replacement units for families.
The strategic plan devised a three-prong approach to ending homelessness. The first includes preventing homelessness whenever possible, primarily through a daytime service center that would provide resources for those on the verge of becoming homeless.
For those experiencing homelessness, the District will provide interim housing: emergency shelters, outreach beds and transitional housing units. However, the city seeks to end homelessness through more permanent solutions.
The District is pumping funding into permanent housing, including rapid re-housing, affordable housing units, and permanent supportive housing units. According to Mayor Bowser’s proposed budget, nearly $4.5 million will fund 350 rapid re-housing units for individuals, as well as the daytime center for homelessness prevention.
Another $2.5 million will fund “additional family homeless prevention,” and 80 units of rapid re-housing for families. There is $1.5 million assigned to create 250 permanent housing units for individuals, and another $1.2 million will create 110 permanent housing units for families.
This funding will provide 600 housing units for individuals and 190 housing units for families. However, according to the ICH’s 2014 point-in-time count, the District hosts a total of 2,029 homeless people on any given night: 420 people in families; 1,609 individuals; and 406 veterans.