(Washington, DC) – Mayor Bowser today celebrated lease signings with more than 60 families and individuals who are currently experiencing homelessness. The households were matched to homes at 11 locations managed by E&G Group, a local real estate development and consulting firm that partners with the Department of Human Services (DHS). Currently, E&G has committed 575 units to their partnership with the District.
“Our plan to end chronic homelessness is working, but we have more work to do,” said Mayor Bowser. “One way we are getting more Washingtonians into permanent housing faster is by focusing our attention on building new partnerships with local landlords and other public-private partnerships. Today, because of one such partnership, dozens of Washingtonians who did not have a place to call home yesterday will leave with keys to their new apartments.”
At the lease signing event, voucher holders and residents with temporary subsidies were able to quickly select a unit and complete the lease-up process on-site. Clients were encouraged to visit the properties prior to the event to give them an opportunity to see and select units in advance.
Last year, during the two-month Home for the Holidays campaign, DHS hosted a series of landlord meetings to communicate programmatic improvements to the District’s homeless services system. Through these meetings, the Administration identified affordable homes and coordinated with the DC Housing Authority to identify additional apartment units. Since the campaign, DHS has continued fostering new partnerships with landlords while working with households across the city to prevent homelessness and move families and individuals into permanent housing.
“We’re proud to partner with Mayor Bowser and her administration to end homelessness in the District,” said Thomas Gallagher, Principal, E&G Group. “Through our efforts, we are working to help families and individuals experiencing homelessness find permanent housing quickly and give them a much needed-second chance. I encourage other District landlords with available units to do the same.”
In 2015, Mayor Bowser and her Interagency Council on Homelessness released Homeward DC, a comprehensive plan to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. As part of this plan, the Administration has put in place policies and programs that make it easier for landlords to partner with DHS, including:
- the creation of the Landlord Partnership Fund,
- improvements to the landlord payment structure,
- enhanced case management services,
- a new Landlord Resolution Portal that helps landlords resolve payment or other program related issues, and
- a new Flexible Rent Subsidy Pilot Program that targets families at risk of homelessness.
The Landlord Partnership Fund covers certain costs incurred by landlords of tenants whose rent is subsidized by a DHS homeless services intervention, such as the Rapid Rehousing or Permanent Supportive Housing programs. In return, landlords are expected to relax screening criteria for people experiencing certain barriers like poor credit and past evictions that have prevented them from securing housing on their own.
The Bowser Administration’s plan to end homelessness embraces a housing-first strategy with the underlying goal of permanent housing for all residents. In addition to making unprecedented investments in affordable housing, since taking office, the Administration has launched new homeless prevention services, preventing a shelter stay for more than 5,000 families; increased investments in permanent housing programs by nearly 60 percent; developed interim eligibility to provide immediate shelter for families in urgent need; and connected 3,900 single adults to permanent housing, including 1,700 Veterans.
The Mayor’s recently proposed budget includes a $23 million investment toward achieving the goals of Homeward DC, and commits $40 million to the construction of a replacement facility for 801 East. This investment includes $9.5 million to provide permanent support housing and other support services to singles who experience homelessness, $10.5 million to support families who experience homelessness, and $3.1 million to support youth experiencing homelessness. The budget also provides $2.5 million to expand homeless crisis service response systems for single adults.