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Mayor Bowser Details Plan to Close DC General

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Obama administration commends Mayor Bowser on plan to open short-term family housing for families

Last fall, the Council of the District of Columbia voted in support of Mayor Bowser’s plan to close DC General and replace it with small, safe and dignified short-term housing facilities across the District. This morning, Mayor Bowser detailed the next stages of her plan as well as the sites for new short-term family housing facilities in all 8 wards.

“In a city as prosperous as ours, there is no reason we should keep families at DC General. The building is too big, too old and too far removed from the services that get families back on their feet,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “When I ran for Mayor, I heard loud and clear from our residents across our city that our city can - and must - do better.  I have been working with the Council on a plan that will create small, short-term family housing. These facilities will be modern, safe and dignified – and will bring us one big step closer to our goal of ending homelessness in the District of Columbia.”

The District’s Department of General Services (DGS) conducted a months-long search to identify suitable sites for the new short-term family housing. DGS looked for spaces that could collectively serve the same number of residents at DC General, with access to services and public transportation. The locations include a mix of District-owned properties, as well as newly purchased or leased private property. They are:
•    2105-2107 10th Street, NW (Ward 1)
•    2619 Wisconsin Ave, NW (Ward 3)
•    5505 Fifth Street, NW (Ward 4)
•    2266 25th Place, NE (Ward 5)
•    700 Delaware Ave, SW (Ward 6)
•    5004 D Street, SE (Ward 7)
•    6th Street & Chesapeake Street, SE (Ward 8)

On Wednesday, the Mayor will cut the ribbon on a brand new women’s shelter in Ward 2, at 810 5th Street, NW. The innovative facility will accommodate up to 213 women and will replace two outdated facilities at 2nd and D streets, NW.

“When our most vulnerable experience homelessness, we all suffer,” continued Mayor Bowser. “That is why we focused on an all-8-Wards solution. By opening up dignified, safe and effective facilities across the city, we all get to play a role in lifting our neighbors out of homelessness – and helping them get back to a place they can call home.”

Each short-term family housing site will accommodate up to 50 families. Unlike DC General, these facilities will have places for children of all ages to play and do homework.  They will also include the kind of services and programming that helps families exit shelter and move to permanent housing as soon as possible.  In addition to providing safe and dignified short-term housing, Mayor Bowser is committing to making continued investments in the solutions that work to end homelessness—affordable housing, permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing.
This week, the Administration will submit to the Council a package detailing the sites for their approval.
The buildings for the short-term family housing will need to be renovated or built from the ground up. The new sites will begin to open and serve families starting in 2017. The short-term housing for families will be some of the most dignified and innovative in the country. Once they are all in place, the District will close the DC General Family Shelter.

“I commend Mayor Bowser on her commitment to solutions that we know work to end homelessness and to committing to closing the family shelter at DC General. All families deserve a safe and dignified place to lay their children to bed at night, and the District’s plan to develop smaller, community-based programs across the city is a big step toward creating a system that works,” said Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro.

This Thursday at 6:30 pm, the Administration will host community meetings in all 8 wards to provide an update on the District’s plan to end homelessness and discuss each of the short-term housing facilities.

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