(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser cut the ribbon on The Triumph, the short-term family housing program in Ward 8, the third of three short-term family housing programs promised to open this fall, following the opening of The Kennedy in Ward 4 and The Horizon in Ward 7. A key strategy behind Homeward DC, the Bowser Administration’s strategic plan to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring, includes the development of smaller, community-based short-term family housing programs to replace the outdated DC General Family Shelter, which Mayor Bowser closed on October 30, 2018.
“With each ribbon-cutting, we are taking the right steps to help our most vulnerable neighbors get the services they need in a dignified environment so that they can get back on their feet,” said Mayor Bowser. “I am proud of all the residents from across the District who stepped up to help us close DC General and who are committed to spreading the values of shared prosperity. Together, we are transforming lives and putting more families and children on a better path forward.”
At The Triumph, families will have access to service-enriched programming that will help them stabilize and exit homelessness. The site includes fifty family units, computer labs for the residents, administrative space for staff and providers, outdoor playground and recreational space, age-appropriate indoor recreation space, a homework and study lounge for residents, and other amenities.
“As we continue our efforts to prevent homelessness—which we have done successfully for more than 5,700 families—we recognize that these programs are the centerpiece of the transformation of our emergency response system for adults with children,” said Director of the DC Department of Human Services (DHS) Laura Zeilinger. “I’m so glad that DC General is closed and families placed in our new short-term family housing programs are in dignified, service-enriched settings that will help them quickly return to their communities.”
The Triumph is designed to meet LEED Gold certification for homes and includes onsite stormwater quality-control (limiting offsite runoff), a green roof, energy efficient windows, and a high-efficiency HVAC system.
In January, Mayor Bowser released her plan and timeline to close DC General Family Shelter by the end of 2018. On October 30, 2018, she kept that promise to District residents and closed – once and for all – the outdated shelter. In its place, smaller, more dignified programs are being built across the District. In addition to The Triumph, The Kennedy, and The Horizon, the Administration also opened the Patricia Handy Place for Women, a low-barrier shelter for women in Ward 2, in early 2016.
In September, Mayor Bowser announced the three service providers that will run the short-term family housing programs in Wards 4, 7, and 8. The Triumph will be operated by Community of Hope; The Horizon will be operated by Life Deeds; and The Kennedy will be operated by The National Center for Children and Families.
Beginning in May 2018, DHS ceased new placements at DC General Family Shelter. After that, DHS and partners worked to support families and swiftly exit them from DC General and into permanent housing. At full-capacity, DC General provided shelter to 270 families.
“We are excited to be part of the major effort to end homelessness in the District through the construction contributions we bring,” said Acting Director of the Department of General Services Keith Anderson. “Supporting Mayor Bowser’s HomewardDC Plan with the delivery of the Ward 8 short-term family housing site is a real cornerstone of our work.”
As a result of the Homeward DC plan, the District has reduced overall homelessness by more than 17 percent in two years, and has reduced family homelessness by 40 percent over the same time. In addition to making unprecedented investments in affordable housing opportunities, the Administration launched a Homelessness Prevention Program which has successfully prevented a shelter stay for more than 5,700 families; increased investments in permanent housing programs by nearly 60 percent; expanded year-round access to provide immediate shelter for families in need regardless of the weather; and connected 3,900 single adults to permanent housing, including 1,700 veterans.