(Washington, DC) Mayor Muriel Bowser, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III joined forces at the Regional Summit on Homelessness today. The event was organized by area leadership as a call to action to funders, developers, banks, employers, landlords, service providers, schools, institutes of higher learning, and community members to join in the work to end homelessness.
The Summit was held at Community Vision at Progress Place, a facility in Montgomery County, Maryland, that provides services for persons experiencing homelessness, and commenced with remarks from the leaders of each of the three jurisdictions. “We all know that we are going to have to be proactive to solve this issue. Our response cannot be limited to sheltering people today. If we are ever going to get ahead of this issue, we must go further to truly address the root causes of housing instability,” said Mayor Bowser.
“Every one of us standing in this room plays a critical role. And for that reason, we are eager to be kicking off this long overdue regional collaboration between the District, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County – and all of you,” she continued.
“Montgomery County has committed enormous resources to providing shelter, lending a helping hand to the homeless, and working to create and preserve affordable housing in the County,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “That has resulted in decreases in homelessness over the last several years, both among families and single homeless individuals. None, however, can rest on their laurels in this area. This year’s ‘Point in Time’ survey will show an uptick in homelessness in the County. Clearly, even with using best practices, there is no easy answer.”
"Homelessness is a growing problem in our region that will require us to use our collective energy to reduce the number of people and families in the Washington Metropolitan Region who have no permanent place to call home," said Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III. "Partnering and consolidating our resources will allow all of us to help more people who are on the cusp of homelessness. We want to take a holistic approach to help people avoid this tragedy by providing wrap around services, as well as shelter and stability focused programs."
The three leaders, Bowser, Baker and Leggett, each signed Charters confirming their commitment to working together to eliminate homelessness in the Metropolitan area; establish a high level regional coordinating council on homelessness to develop and implement an actionable plan to permanently end homelessness in the region, particularly chronic homelessness; and set timeframes. Regional leaders have committed to collaborating in four key areas including:
- affordable housing
- workforce development
- economic development
- supportive services
Homelessness is largely related to the lack of access to affordable housing, a trained workforce with jobs that pay a living wage, and sustainable support networks. The DC Metropolitan area is one of the least affordable in the country. Today’s Summit will help pave the way to leverage and target resources around common issues facing all three jurisdictions.