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DHS Modified Operations During COVID-19

*Updated March 25, 2020

To mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Mayor Muriel Bowser has modified DC Government operations starting Monday, March 16, 2020. The Department of Human Services remains operational and continues to provide essential services; however, there may be changes to how some services are provided. Following below is an overview of DHS services and resources available during modified DC Government operations through Monday, April 27.

Learn more about DC Government and DHS’ operating status, programs, and services.

For questions about any DHS services and information on future changes, please contact DHS at (202) 671-4200 or [email protected].

For more information and resources on COVID-19 (coronavirus) visit coronavirus.dc.gov.


All low-barrier shelters, family shelters, and shelters serving youth remain open.

  • Beginning Monday, March 16, low-barrier shelters are extending daytime hours through Monday, April 27.

The Virginia Williams Family Resource Center is conducting Assessments for Homeless Services via phone. The Center is closed to the public for in-person interviews until Monday, April 27.

  • Families seeking access to homeless services should call the DC Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093 or 311 at any time of the day or night.

Anyone in need of shelter can call the DC Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093 or 311 at any time of the day or night.

Homeless Service Outreach Workers are continuing to provide services to people experiencing homelessness with a focus on welfare checks, connection to medical support, and providing life-saving supplies such as hand sanitizer, blankets, etc.


To help enforce social distancing, DHS Service Centers are open only for picking up and dropping off public benefits applications and documents. All applications and documents must be placed in an envelope provided at the service center. Applicants must write their full name and phone number on the front of the envelope prior to placing it in an application drop box located in a service center lobby. Applications for public benefits are also available here
Residents with questions about their public benefits provided by DHS should contact the Call Center at (202) 727-5355 from 7:30 AM - 4:45 PM, Monday - Fnday.


  • Frequently Asked Questions: Cash, Food & Medical Assistance Public Benefits (as of March 22)
    To mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), programs across the District are modifying operations. This document shares the most updated information on cash, food and medical assistance public benefits available in the District. Please be aware that this guidance is based on the best information currently available and will be updated as needed.

Mid-Recertification & Recertification of Public Benefits

  • Customers who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Alliance, and other public benefits provided by DHS, do not need to take any action at this time to continue receiving existing benefits that would otherwise expire on during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) State of Emergency. Those benefits will be automatically extended.

District residents currently receiving cash, food, or medical assistance, who received a notice requesting additional information and/or to verify eligibility, may provide this information by:   

  • Dropping off information at a DHS Service Center;  
  • Mailing documents to a DHS Service Center; or, 
  • E-mailing* documents to a DHS Service Center. In addition to documents, residents must include their full namedate of birth, and telephone number. Email is only for the submission of additional information or verification eligibility documents. 
Anacostia [email protected]
Congress Heights [email protected]
Fort Davis [email protected]
H Street [email protected]
Taylor Street [email protected]

*Providing personal information and documents to the DC Department of Human Services Economic Security Administration (ESA) via email is done at your own risk. Emails sent from your personal or business email account may not be secure. This means that there is a possibility that a third-party will intercept that information and use it for malicious purposes such as fraud or identity theft. ESA provides the following alternatives to sending us documents and information via potentially unsecured email, including mailing in documents or dropping them off at a service center.

Residents with questions may contact the Call Center at (202) 727-5355, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

New Applications for Public Benefits

  • Applications for SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, Alliance or other public benefits provided by DHS, are available on the DHS website (dhs.dc.gov). Residents my also visit a DHS Service Center to pick up a blank application.
  • Applicants may drop off completed applications for public benefits at a DHS Service Center and may be contacted by phone as necessary to complete the eligibility process.


  • The Downtown Day Services Center and the Adams Place Day Center are closed until Monday, April 27.
  • Zoe’s Doors Youth Drop-In Center located at 900 Rhode Island Avenue NE, and the Sasha Bruce Youth Drop-In Center located at 741 8th Street SE, remain open.


Public Benefits

  • Customers receiving public benefits may call the Office of Administrative Hearing Review and Appeals at (202) 698-3955 or (202) 535-1182 to file a request for a Fair Hearing. 

Continuum of Care

  • Customers that receive services within the Continuum of Care (CoC) may file a request for a Fair Hearing by calling the Office of Administrative Hearings at (202) 442-9094.


DHS COVID-19 Electronic Mail Distribution List

  •   Join the DHS COVID-19 Distribution List by sharing your email address here.

General Requests

  • For general requests, we will respond as soon as we are able. If you have not heard back from us in 24 hours, please contact the DHS main line at (202) 671-4336. Thank you for supporting the health and safety of our neighbors.


  • As the District continues responding to and working to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Mayor Muriel Bowser is encoraging volunteers to join the DC Medical Reserve Corps (DC MRC). The DC MRC is housed in the DC Department of Health (DC Health) and supports public health and medical emergency preparedness, response, and recovery by recruiting, training, and deploying medical and non-medical volunteers to assist with planned events and emergencies. Volunteers can complete the online registration here.


  • DHS COVID-19 information and guidance for homeless service providers is available here.