There’s no doubt our city has been facing a crisis in homeless services. The Mayor has announced plans to replace the DC General shelter with eight smaller and neighborhood-based facilities focused on supportive and temporary housing. Her plan includes one site located in each Ward of the city. The proposal for Ward 6 is a smaller facility that would provide 50 units of housing for families in new construction located at Delaware and H Street SW. While many questions remain to be answered, it would be a mixed-use building that also includes artist housing and incorporates elements of the existing Blind Whino arts space into the facility. It will have services and parking on site, along with 24-hour security. You can view more details of the proposal by clicking here.
To put this crisis in context, last night, nearly 1,000 people spent the night at DC General. Almost 400 of those were children. Hundreds more slept in hotels rented by the city. I don’t believe this is the way we take care of children and families in need. When the city closed DC Village several years ago, it was done without a plan for what our city needed. That lack of planning led to the current day conditions at DC General. There's been talk for years about how to close DC General, but this is the first time I see a real plan to achieve that and take care of families that need emergency housing in a safe space. If approved, these smaller facilities would be constructed and opened – and DC General would be closed – by the end of 2018.
I will ask tough questions of the plan to ensure success, but I do not underestimate the capacity of our residents to care about all of their neighbors. I will work with residents and leaders in Southwest to answer questions, ensure a smart plan is in place, and to make this proposal a success for the neighborhood as well as our neighbors in need.
I welcome your feedback and comments. In fact, I need them! Whether you support, oppose, or just have questions about this proposal, I need to hear from you. The Council will hold hearings in mid-March, but please use this site to share your feedback with me. I will also share updates with you as this proposal moves forward and is subject to public hearings and discussions.