Homeward DC Feedback - Southwest Location

SWSiteRendering.jpgThere’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.


Showing 26 reactions

  • posted about this on Facebook 2016-02-18 12:52:58 -0500
    I just shared feedback with @CharlesAllenW6 on @MayorBowser's HomewardDC plan for Ward 6. You can too at this link!
  • @CollinKee tweeted link to this page. 2016-02-18 12:52:49 -0500
    I just shared feedback with @CharlesAllenW6 on @MayorBowser's HomewardDC plan for Ward 6. You can too at this link! http://www.charlesallenward6.com/ward6homelessproposal?recruiter_id=1059791
  • commented 2016-02-18 12:51:38 -0500
    I am glad that ward 6 is being an integral part to the process of making life better for the homeless community of DC and as a new resident here I will surely be out there volunteering however I can to do my part! :)
  • posted about this on Facebook 2016-02-18 09:08:48 -0500
    I just shared feedback with @CharlesAllenW6 on @MayorBowser's HomewardDC plan for Ward 6. You can too at this link!
  • commented 2016-02-18 09:07:56 -0500
    This proposed site is directly behind the Southwest Unity Health Center. That would mean an increase in the population of people needing health care at this facility. Which is fine. However, SWUHC is going to have to undergo a major renovation to handle this influx of new patients. Are there plans in the works for this renovaion? If so, will the health center be closed any length of time? If that takes place, where will the current patients (and new patients) have to go to have their health care needs taken care of? Remember, many are elderly, have mobility problems and a host of other physical problems that will make this a major burden on them. Or, will the renovation — if planned — be undertaken and the health center remain open (the ideal situation)?
  • commented 2016-02-17 19:46:20 -0500
    Here is my feedback after reading the mayor’s press release on “Ending Homelessness in the District—Closing DC General: Short-term Family Housing in Ward 6”


    1. I am glad to know that there is a consensus amongst the Bowser administration and the D.C. Council about the plan to open up a short-term family housing facility in all eight wards, but particularly in Southwest DC.


    2. The new proposal to provide homeless housing and services seems like a good start in attempting to resolve the homeless crisis in the District.


    3. The upcoming Budget Engagement Forum at King Greenleaf Recreation Center on February 29 would be an excellent time to hear specific details of the proposal (i.e., what are some of the examples of support services and program activities that would be planned for families?


    4. Is the timeline realistic? How will the construction activities disrupt pedestrians’ access to sidewalks during this time?
  • commented 2016-02-17 14:31:34 -0500
    I commend the effort to address this issue. The size of the shelter and the number of families served relative to the other wards is of concern. We have the smallest ward in the district, a facility half the size is more appropriate. Are these individuals and families existing SW residents? Also, as another commenter stated, no where in the proposal is “short-term” actually defined. Does this mean 1 month? 3 months? A year? Building these units with no concrete plan to get individuals and families connected to permanent housing is a poor policy decision. Is DC seeking funding and expertise from HUD? Additionally, existing safety concerns need to be addressed. That area of SW is not well lit; will additional street lights and police patrols be part of this initiative?
  • commented 2016-02-17 11:24:13 -0500
    I support the Mayor’s initiative to close to massive facility at DC General in favor of placing smaller facilities in each of the eight Wards of the District.


    I support the proposed Delaware Ave SW location for the Ward 6 facility. Incorporating aspects of Blind Whino into the project not only helps mitigate costs, it also is a brilliant way to have interesting additional opportunities footsteps from the residence. This location is also close to commerce, transportation, schools, and community — all important considerations for this type of facility.


    While we must of course expect some opposition regarding location or other aspect, my hope is any opposition also be conveyed with a reasonable alternative. This underscores the necessity that we must do something to transition the existing shelter out of the former DC General.


    Thanks, Council Member Allen, for soliciting our views and pledging to follow the process. With your leadership, we are well placed to create and install a timely solution that’s in the best interests of all of us in Ward 6 and across the District.
  • commented 2016-02-17 07:56:14 -0500
    Councilmember Allen… I personally support this creative bold move by the Mayor. As the rector of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in SW DC, I and the congregation will do everything we can to welcome and support these families into the neighborhood. We will have a new building ourselves with a commercial kitchen and community space plus lots of volunteers …. so let’s keep connected and talking about this. Thank you for your terrific leadership.
    Rev. Martha Clark
  • commented 2016-02-17 02:05:26 -0500
    I am concerned with the thought that 8 locations is enough. I don’t remember the total number of people the 8 units will serve. I believe that DC needs more spaces to cut back on the rented hotel rooms and horrible motel rooms etc.(according to Washington Post articles over the years). DC General should not be closed until we have many more places for homeless and that means money will have to be spent to keep it in decent condition. I wonder if any thought has been given.to using some of the schools that developers are turning into high priced condos? This might be cheaper than paying for new spaces. Long range planning is essential. Cities do have cycles—parts being “gentrified” and others becoming run down. This is the nature of cities. As long as jobs in urban areas, away from forms of transportation, we will have homeless people in side of cities.
  • commented 2016-02-16 22:53:12 -0500
    Both my wife and I agree that there is a crisis for the homeless in DC, and we are both very hopeful that this initiative can make substantial improvements in the lives of our neighbors. I have read where other cities, notably Salt Lake City, made significant progress with their homeless population when the city provided decent housing for their homeless citizens. Once housing was provided, family members began to rebuild their lives and make the kinds of changes needed for a new life of hope and security. I believe we should all be supporting this initiative. Ask the hard questions, develop and refine a good plan, and then implement it. It is the right thing to do.
  • commented 2016-02-16 22:40:47 -0500
    You stated there are 1000 people a nite and you want to have 8 locations that can help 50 the math does not add up you should redo dc general

    You will only have to maintain one location and eliminate people being turned away once you reach 50
  • commented 2016-02-16 20:23:47 -0500
    I support the mayor’s proposal to provide new housing for homeless families in all wards of the city. I hope that it is part of a “Housing First” approach.
  • commented 2016-02-16 18:04:37 -0500
    I support the mayor’s plan to relocate the homeless families and have been dismayed at how people seem to not want to be anywhere near them. I currently live near DC General and have never had trouble from these families.
  • commented 2016-02-16 17:26:37 -0500
    Please, please do not listen to the hateful people who are against the shelter. There are many Ward 6 residents who support this.
  • commented 2016-02-16 15:03:24 -0500
    Affordable housing is the crisis.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2016-02-16 14:49:49 -0500
    I just shared feedback with @CharlesAllenW6 on @MayorBowser's HomewardDC plan for Ward 6. You can too at this link!
  • commented 2016-02-16 14:48:45 -0500
    From 1984 to 2011, I offered healthcare to the under-served in our inner cities and abroad. I preferred working outside of hospitals and clinics – working where people actually live.

    As examples of my non-typical career: supervised an Emergency Detox unit on the Bowery; co-created and supervised what was to become a highly humanistic homeless shelter, the first shelter for homeless men with AIDS, in New York City; primary medical care for the near-homeless and truly homeless; receiving referrals from the Department of Health to do acupuncture for Crack addicts; and running the Department of Home-Based Care for a hospital in the epicenter of the global AIDS epidemic – Swaziland.

    Also, I am an artist of several media. It has been my luck to have several of my one-man films receive international recognition. Currently, I am working on a film about a circus based in Phnom Penh. The circus is not only a marvel of performance, but the performers were originally Trash Kids at the very bottom of Cambodian society.


    My family and I live in the 6th Ward – the Southwest. When I learned of our Mayor’s proposal to have a homeless shelter in our neighborhood, I was inspired to come out of retirement and attempt to be helpful in any way possible.

    Could you give me the name(s) and contact information for the person or people I should approach? It is possible to create a shelter that would be one more reason to be proud of The District’s Southwest.
  • commented 2016-02-16 14:02:39 -0500
    Looks like an excellent plan! I support it and am glad to see that it incorporates the Blind Whino space, which is a proven asset to our community.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2016-02-16 13:51:09 -0500
    I just shared feedback with @CharlesAllenW6 on @MayorBowser's HomewardDC plan for Ward 6. You can too at this link!
  • @ktrut tweeted link to this page. 2016-02-16 13:51:07 -0500
    I just shared feedback with @CharlesAllenW6 on @MayorBowser's HomewardDC plan for Ward 6. You can too at this link! http://www.charlesallenward6.com/ward6homelessproposal?recruiter_id=1056206
  • commented 2016-02-16 13:49:11 -0500
    First, it appears that Southwest will house a disproportionate number of homeless families (50 is the absolute most that any area is housing). We would prefer to see this number reduced.


    Second, the proposed area is already a high-risk zone for criminal activity and creates somewhat of a barrier for existing families to walk from Southwest to the Navy Yard – particularly at night. What actions will be taken to mitigate criminal behavior and provide additional security for residents and pedestrians who will be using the increasingly busy I (eye) St SW?


    Third, due to the number of families with young children in the immediate area, will any steps be taken to ensure that adults with criminal histories – especially SEX OFFENDERS – are PROHIBITED from residing in the shelter?


    Lastly, we all recognize the tragedy and seriousness of the homeless issue (especially for children and families). What types of support will be offered to those who live in the shelter to help them transition to living independently? What is the timeline (goal) for shelter residents to transition out of the shelter? Is there a plan to eradicate homelessness and what is the timeline or plan for closing the shelters as the goals/milestones are reached? It would be helpful to see the long-term goal and plan for managing and assisting those who utilize the shelters.
  • commented 2016-02-16 13:46:12 -0500
    Overall, I support this plan. While vigilance will be required to ensure that these multiple sites are well-administered – and that the problems at DC General aren’t replicated – smaller sites should be easier to manage and be more inviting for those who live there – and safer. I live only a few blocks from the proposed Ward 6 site, and I have no concern about an increase in crime.
  • commented 2016-02-16 13:46:08 -0500
    Overall, I support this plan. While vigilance will be required to ensure that these multiple sites are well-administered – and that the problems at DC General aren’t replicated – smaller sites should be easier to manage and be more inviting for those who live there – and safer. I live only a few blocks from the proposed Ward 6 site, and I have no concern about an increase in crime.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2016-02-16 13:40:10 -0500
    I just shared feedback with @CharlesAllenW6 on @MayorBowser's HomewardDC plan for Ward 6. You can too at this link!
  • @BodyWiseDance tweeted link to this page. 2016-02-16 13:40:06 -0500
    I just shared feedback with @CharlesAllenW6 on @MayorBowser's HomewardDC plan for Ward 6. You can too at this link! http://www.charlesallenward6.com/ward6homelessproposal?recruiter_id=1055734