(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the launch of the District’s fourth annual “A Home for the Holidays” campaign, which seeks to transition 500 households experiencing homelessness into long-term housing this holiday season. The District is seeking to partner with local landlords to identify approximately 1,200 new apartment units in the next two months. This year, there is a focus on vulnerable residents experiencing homelessness who are currently residing in hotels to protect them from coronavirus (COVID-19).
“During these difficult times, A Home for the Holidays is an opportunity for us to work together as a community to make this season brighter for families who need our support,” said Mayor Bowser. “This campaign isn’t just about this holiday season. It’s about providing families with stable housing so they can get back on their feet and into a permanent home of their own for next year and many years to come.”
The A Home for the Holidays campaign supports Homeward DC, Mayor Bowser’s strategic plan to transform the shelter system and make homelessness in the District rare, brief, and non-recurring. Since its launch in 2016, more than 12,000 single adults and families have exited homelessness into permanent housing. Over the last two years, Mayor Bowser opened seven Short-Term Family Housing sites, including the Kennedy in Ward 4; the Horizon in Ward 7; the Triumph in Ward 8; the WJ Rolark in Ward 8; the Sterling in Ward 5, the Aya in Ward 6 and the Brooks in Ward 3. In Fiscal Year 2021, the Mayor will open the final Short-Term Family Housing site in Ward 1. These programs are the centerpiece of the transformation of Mayor Bowser’s emergency response system for families. And this fall, construction started on a new 801 East Shelter for men, which will apply the lessons learned from the family system to supports for unaccompanied adults.
“The pandemic has made it all the more clear that housing is critical to health and is fundamental to realizing an inclusive and equitable community,” said DC Department of Human Services (DHS) Director Laura Zeilinger. "We have witnessed thousands of our neighbors transform their lives with the benefit of supportive services and housing – homelessness is part of their history, but not their present or their future. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we work as a community to realize this opportunity for residents experiencing homelessness. We have invested in the services and supports, and encourage landlords to provide residents a second and sometime first chance at stable, long-term housing.”
DHS manages the A Home for the Holidays campaign, which spans from November 15 through January 15. Landlords wanting to know more about innovative strategies implemented to enhance partnership with the District are encouraged to write [email protected]. The community is asked to partner with the District by donating new and gently-used houseware to households. The A Home for the Holidays campaign was first launched in 2017 and more than 1,000 total households have moved into permanent housing over the course of as a result of this campaign.