(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and community members cut the ribbon on the District’s first low-barrier shelter that is specifically dedicated to providing shelter and services to District residents who are experiencing homelessness and identify as LGBTQ+. Mayor Bowser allocated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to establish and operate the 40-bed shelter for unaccompanied adults, 25 years of age and older, who identify as LGBTQ+.
“We are proud to cut the ribbon on a shelter that embodies our DC values as well as our commitment to making homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring,” said Mayor Bowser. “With this new facility, we’re breaking down barriers to shelter, building community, connecting residents with the trauma-informed services they need to live healthy, happy lives, and getting Washingtonians back on a path to permanent housing.”
The shelter will provide trauma-informed case management services including mental health, substance abuse treatment, medical, and victims’ services. It is common for individuals who are experiencing homelessness and identify as LGBTQ+ to have had traumatic experiences before and during episodes of homelessness, including physical or sexual assault. Past and present trauma, along with social isolation, mental illness, substance use, and the perils of poverty, can create barriers and challenges for LGBTQ+ individuals and the providers working with them. The shelter will create a secure and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ adults experiencing homelessness, deliver culturally specific services to the population, and address the unique income and housing challenges experienced by this population. Wrap around services will be available on site to support residents with job placement, education services, housing connections, and other key services.
“We are committed to providing safe, welcoming shelter to District residents and this program is an important milestone in the reform of our single adult shelter programs,” said Laura Green Zeilinger, Director of DHS. “We’ve put a tremendous amount of thought and intention into providing trauma-informed programs and low-barrier apartment-style shelter to LGBTQ+ adults that affirms dignity, acceptance, and belonging. I’m grateful to the LGBTQ+ community for making their voices and needs heard and I’m grateful to the Mayor for her continued investment in our homeless services continuum.”
Earlier this year, results of the 2022 Point in Time (PIT) count, the annual census of individuals experiencing homelessness, showed that for the sixth consecutive year, the number of people experiencing homelessness has declined. The overall number of people experiencing homelessness in the District of Columbia decreased 13.7% over the past year and was down 47% from 2016 – the year the Bowser Administration began implementing Homeward DC. In addition to a decline in overall homelessness, the 2022 PIT results showed declines in family homelessness (down 14%), homelessness among single adults (down 12%), and chronic homelessness for families (down 26%) and single adults (down 22%). Since 2016, family homelessness has decreased by 78%.
Homeward DC 2.0, which was released in the summer of 2021, focuses on replicating the success in the family system with single adults. As part of the strategy, in January, the Mayor opened the new 801 Men’s Shelter on the St. Elizabeths East campus. The new shelter for LGBTQ+ residents builds on these efforts to provide targeted, service-enriched shelter that better connects residents to programs that support their needs while they get back on a path to permanent housing.
The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP) will provide oversight and operations of the shelter and has two providers on their behalf: the Coalition for the Homeless serves as the facility and operations manager, and KBEC Group, Inc. serves as the service provider.
If you or someone you know needs emergency shelter, please contact the shelter hotline at (202) 399-7093 or dial 311.