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Brooke's Briefing: Helping our Neighbors Experiencing Homelessness

Posted by
Emmanuel Brantley
on
August 18, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

This is the first of a series of topic specific newsletters that I will be sharing with you over the next several weeks. I know that together we can work to address the challenges in our communities and continue to make Ward 2 and DC the best place to live, work, play, and do business.

                                          Helping our Neighbors Experiencing Homelessness

The challenge of homelessness in DC is not new and the causes are myriad – lack of affordable housing, mental health challenges, and domestic violence among others. The need for increased and stronger homelessness supports were made even more clear to us during the pandemic. For several months and over the last year, we have seen many tents pop up across the city, especially in Ward 2.

All of our residents – those who are housed and unhoused – deserve a safe and secure environment to live in and that will continue to be my goal. I am steadfast in my commitment to increasing access to affordable housing and moving neighbors off of the street and into safe shelter and housing here in Ward 2 and throughout the city.

Homelessness Supports in the Budget:

At the Council, I have been involved in a number of initiatives to help reach our goals of housing our neighbors experiencing homelessness. The Fiscal Year 2022 budget includes the following for affordable housing and homelessness supports:

  • $400 million for the production and preservation of affordable housing through the Housing Production Trust Fund.
  • $95 million for housing vouchers to house over 3,000 neighbors experiencing homelessness.
  • $5 million to fund the Generating Affordability in Neighborhoods (GAIN) Act, to offer tenants earning less than 30% or 50% of the Median Family Income rental units at a cost equal to no more than 30% of their income.
  • $1.4 million for a first of its kind reentry housing and services program which will offer 70 shorter term single rooms and apartments, with a preference for returning citizens, and wrap around services for all residents, including workforce development programs for returning citizens.
  • $479,000 for dedicated housing vouchers to prevent the isolation of LGBTQQIA+ seniors.

As the Council passed legislation to complete the upcoming Fiscal Year 2022 budget, I worked to include language to require DCHA to improve the voucher application process and remove barriers like missing identification which can impede the process of moving neighbors into housing. DCHA is required to issue emergency rules by November 1st followed by permanent rules and I will be following the process closely.

Legislation and Oversight:

During this Council Period, I will also be focusing on a number of ways to address homelessness and help our neighbors including:

  • Making further improvements to the voucher application process.
  • Adding diverse members to the Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) to ensure women, BIPOC, LGBTQQIA+ and youth voices are included on the ICH.
  • Exploring ways to improve shelter conditions including exploring Safe Haven Shelters as an alternative to provide safety and privacy.
  • Working to offer new transitional housing options for neighbors as they await vouchers.

DMHHS Pilot Program:

The Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services is working with the Department of Human Services, the Department of Behavioral Health and the Department of Public Works to implement a pilot program this year that focuses on providing intensive housing-focused case management, behavioral health, and substance use support at some of the District’s largest encampments. Staff will bolster current services and work to meet residents where they’re at by delivering support onsite in real time. These resources will also be supplemented with a higher level of trash removal and cleaning to improve the overall area and adjacent communities. Through these efforts DMHHS will determine whether these pilot encampments are reduced in overall size and experience an increase in service connection due to the provision of these additional resources and if so, hope to expand to other areas throughout the District. I will be following the pilot closely and have requested that DMHHS focus services in Ward 2.

STAY DC:

Preventing homelessness is critical to ensuring all DC residents have a safe place to live. STAY DC is a financial assistance program for D.C. renters and housing providers who are looking for support to cover housing and utility expenses and offset the loss of income. Financial assistance can be used to help pay for rent, gas, water, and electricity. If you need help with an application, please reach out to my staff for assistance at: www.brookepintodc.com/help.

Please find additional resources below if you see someone in need.

Yours in service,

Brooke

HOMELESS SERVICES IN WARD 2

Emergency Services:

Shelter Hotline: For those in need of shelter or a welfare check, provides transportation to emergency shelters, cooling centers or hospitals. (202) 399-7093 from 8am-12am Monday-Sunday or call 311 after hours.

Department of Behavioral Health 24/7 Access Helpline: For those experiencing a psychiatric emergency, trauma, or showing signs of a mental health crisis or substance use disorder, 1-888-793-4357.

Outreach Services (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.):

Outreach workers provide services to people experiencing homelessness with a focus on welfare checks, connection to medical support and providing supplies such as hand sanitizer, blankets, etc.

Support for Homeless Veterans: 202-658-9599

Support for 18–24-year-old youth: 202-631-5008

LGBTQ Youth (SMYAL): 202-709-5876

Housing Services and Outreach (DHS): Brooke Lyle (brooke.lyle@dc.gov) or Bill Kuennen (william.kuennen@dc.gov)

Services Related to Encampments: encampment.reports@dc.gov

Food & Shower Services (Hours and Services May Vary During the Pandemic):

Downtown Day Services Center: 1313 New York Avenue NW, To-go bagged lunches served 7 days a week (11 am-1 pm); vital services (shower, laundry) by appointment only, 202-383-8810

Miriam’s Kitchen (Western Presbyterian Church): 2401 Virginia Avenue (24th and G St, Basement), Breakfast (7 am-8 am), Dinner (4:30 pm-5:30 pm), Monday – Friday, 202-452-8926

Georgetown Ministry Clubhouse Drop-In Center: 1401 Wisconsin Avenue NW, 7 days a week (8 am-4 pm), 202-338-8301

So Others Might Eat (SOME): 71 O Street NW, Bagged meals “to go” available daily (7:30 am – 9:30 am)

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