(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser released Homeward DC 2.0, the District’s updated plan for making homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring. Administration officials highlighted the updated plan at an event celebrating the “Goodfellas Team” – a team of seven residents from the 801 East Men’s Shelter who received workforce training and have now been hired to work on the construction of the replacement shelter.
“We know that stable housing is a necessary foundation for all things in life – health, education, steady employment, and connection to one’s family and community,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are proud of the progress we’ve made since launching Homeward DC, but there is more work to do. As we recover from the pandemic, we must keep pushing to not only protect our progress, but realize the goal we know is possible: ending long-term homelessness for all people in Washington, DC.”
In 2015, Mayor Bowser released Homeward DC, a bold vision and strategic plan to end long-term homelessness in Washington, DC. Since its initial release, the District has made significant progress and investments in sustainable solutions to reduce homelessness, especially with regard to family homelessness. Using a comprehensive approach, the District scaled homelessness prevention services for families; reformed the family shelter system – closing DC General and launching small, service-enriched Short-Term Family Housing programs throughout the city; and expanded rental subsidies for families. This work has led to a reduction in family homelessness in the District, from a peak of nearly 1,500 families experiencing homelessness on any given night as the District began Homeward DC implementation, to just over 400 families as of January 2021 – a 73% decrease.
Homeward DC 2.0 builds on this progress, with a strong focus on realizing similar progress with unaccompanied adult homelessness. Homeward DC 2.0 is the result of a highly collaborative process led by the District of Columbia Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH), the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP), and the ICH’s Strategic Planning Committee, including persons with lived experiences of homelessness. The plan presents data collected through the District’s Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS) and is supplemented by data from other agencies and systems that play a direct or indirect role in the District’s response to homelessness and housing insecurity.
Homeward DC 2.0:
- Summarizes the Homeless DC Plan and lessons from the last five years;
- Provides the vision, guiding principles, and building blocks of Homeward DC 2.0;
- Outlines system modeling and housing inventory needs; and
- Shares 100+ strategies supported by twelve strategic goals.
“We’re committed to continuing the work necessary to advance our strategic plan to transform the District’s Continuum of Care for families and individuals experiencing homeless,” said DC Department of Human Services Director Laura Zeilinger. “Along with the Mayor’s investments of $35 million into Homeward DC, we’ll also continue to leverage effective partnerships with District organizations and businesses to enhance robust programming and wrap-around community services to reach our goals and ensure every District resident has a safe, affordable place to call home.”
Mayor Bowser’s proposed Fiscal Year 2022 investments in Homeward DC 2.0 include increased prevention and diversion resources, new Permanent Supportive Housing vouchers, and $102 million in renovations of the District’s permanent and temporary supportive housing and shelter services.
Capital investments and resources to replace and rebuild the District’s low-barrier shelters, along with improved service delivery, are an essential component to reducing unaccompanied adult homelessness. The new 801 East Men’s Shelter, a $40 million design-build construction project managed by the Department of General Services (DGS), began in spring 2020 with an anticipated completion of fall 2021. Through a workforce training program designed by the joint venture of general contractors Blue Skye and Coakley & Williams Construction (BS/CWC), 60 shelter residents participated in meetings discussing employment opportunities at the new shelter site. Of those, seven men known as the “Goodfellas Team” received eight days of paid training by the Department of Employment Services and the BS/CWC team. Training included life coaching and team building skills, workplace behavior, resume development, work mindset change, employment services, and OSHA and CPR/First Aid training. When the Goodfellas Team completes the first 60-day work phase, they will be placed with other subcontractors, working in areas of masonry, electric, utilities, and drywall.
Download the full Homeward DC 2.0 Plan.