(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the historic launch and expansion of the groundbreaking $24.8 million Career Mobility Action Plan (Career MAP) pilot, doubling down on her commitment to give more families in the District a fair shot to the middle class. The Mayor also cut the ribbon on the newly modernized Taylor Street Service Center in Ward 4. The new Career MAP pilot will provide up to 600 families who are transitioning from homelessness with housing and income assistance, career advancement, and family supports.
“We know that with time and support, we can empower families to reach their goals and their highest potential,” said Mayor Bowser. “With the Career MAP program we are sending families a simple message: we continue to believe in you and we’ve got your back.”
The initial version of the pilot, designed to serve 300 District families, will be supported by $11.7 million in federal funding over three years, made available to the District under the American Rescue Plan Act. Three hundred families have already signed up for the pilot, and today, the Mayor announced an $13.1 expansion of the program that will allow an additional 300 families to enroll in 2023. Through Career MAP, the District will provide up to $10,000 in cash assistance to families, enabling parents to advance their careers without worrying about the “benefits cliff,” which is when an individual loses their benefits due to earning a higher income.
The Career MAP program is an initiative designed to remove barriers that families confront as they pursue employment that can sustain their families. Most importantly, Career MAP recognizes families as drivers of their own success and the program will tailor service connections to meet the needs of individual participants. Through the pilot, families who have experienced homelessness, are committed to pursuing a career, and are facing the “benefits cliff” and at risk of losing cash, food, health care, childcare, and housing benefits more quickly than their income can cover these lost resources, will receive assistance for up to five years.
“For many District residents working hard to achieve their career, economic and family goals, the sudden and often unexpected shift in public benefits can adversely impact their households,” said Laura Green Zeilinger, Director of the DC Department of Human Services. “Through the Career MAP program the District will remove barriers to economic mobility and support families to achieve their career goals.”
Each Career MAP participant will be paired with a program navigator that will provide intensive coaching and connection to key supports that help residents meet their unique career and family goals. The program will provide income supports and additional rent discounts to each participant as they work to increase their income and advance their careers.
The Mayor also cut the ribbon on and toured the newly modernized Taylor Street Service Center. The center, which received a $5.2 million renovation, includes the following features for customers and staff:
- A centralized monumental staircase to improve flow of visitors throughout the center;
- Modernized training rooms and conference center, and meeting spaces;
- Staff health and wellness, brainstorming, and phone rooms;
- A new children’s area in the customer queue and waiting space, which includes upgrades to reduce ambient noise, improve lighting, and contribute to general wellbeing;
- The center’s new layout was redesigned to allow natural light to flow to all work stations; and,
- New kiosks and computer stations for clients to complete applications on line.
“We are pleased to have negotiated this 15-year lease with Himmelfarb Properties, Inc., through the DGS Portfolio Management Division on behalf of the District, so that our residents can continue to seek and obtain vital wrap-around services needed to sustain their families,” said Director Keith A. Anderson, Director of the Department of General Services. “Through Mayor Bowser’s leadership, this facility is the perfect example of how multiple agencies have come together for the greater cause for many more to reach the middle class.”
Since 2016, the District has driven down family homelessness by 78%. In 2016, Mayor Bowser began implementing Homeward DC, her Administration’s bold vision and strategic plan to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring. Since then, the Bowser Administration has transformed the family homeless services system; made good on the Mayor’s commitment to close DC General and replace it with smaller, service-enriched short-term family housing shelters across DC; launched Homeward DC 2.0, the District’s updated strategic plan; created the CARE pilot which helped expedite housing for residents living in encampments; and opened the new 801 East men’s shelter and opened 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+.