As part of the Bowser Administration’s efforts to support vulnerable populations, the District has dramatically shifted how we serve those living outside, staying in shelters, and residing in supportive housing programs

As part of the Bowser Administration’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency, we as a community have fundamentally transformed how we protect and support our neighbors experiencing homelessness. To address disparities, Mayor Bowser released an Executive Order outlining measures to protect vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

Ensuring the safety of unsheltered residents

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (DMHHS)…


“Nina” Glover shares her story with DHS in her DC home.

In the spring of 2018 “Nina” Glover was sleeping in an empty building with no electricity or running water. Born in New York and raised in Connecticut, she says she has always been her biggest problem and is an expert at self-sabotage. “I take myself out of my life so much and that’s when there’s so much chaos that happens. When I remain in contact with my friends, family and community, I make better choices. Left to my own devices, it’s very difficult for me to do the right thing” admitted Nina.

The middle of five children, in the mid-eighties…


To commemorate Social Work Month, the DC Department of Human Resources blog spotlights DHS Clinical Social Worker Ashley White, who recently shared her inspirational story and journey to becoming a social worker in the District.

Ashley White, DHS Clinical Social Worker

The Pivotal Encounter

My first career choice was not social work.

I was attending Howard University studying television production and working at a local non-profit organization supporting and advocating for young women. It was here that I met an exceptional social worker — she was always available and equipped clients with resourceful information that helped them make the best choices possible. …


Tokyo Dickerson was overcome with emotion as she delivered opening remarks to more than 100 attendees during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the District’s Downtown Day Services Center. She reminisced with ceremony attendees including Mayor Bowser, Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, community partners and supporters, about a time in her life when she experienced homelessness.

“Just because you see me standing here doesn’t mean I was always able to stand here. I remember the times when I stood in line to take a shower or receive a meal. …


Last week, with the help of The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP) and over 300 community volunteers, the District completed the annual Point in Time (PIT) Count to identify and assess the needs of both sheltered and unsheltered persons experiencing homelessness in the District.

This single-day enumeration of the homeless services continuum of care gives TCP and our partners in District Government an opportunity to identify gaps in the current portfolio of services, and informs future program planning with special consideration to Homeward DC, Mayor Bowser’s strategic plan to make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring in the…


During a festive celebration, Mayor Bowser and DHS Director Laura Zeilinger joined the Smith family as they signed their lease to a new home. Filled with donations from the community, DC landlord partner WC Smith Company and District stakeholders, the home was move-in ready with pots and pans, dishes, furniture, linens, and a decorated Christmas tree with gifts to match.

This signing, the 217th of the year’s campaign, marks the mid-way point in the District’s annual “A Home for the Holidays” drive, which focuses on placing 450 of the District’s most vulnerable families and individuals experiencing homelessness into permanent housing…


The District has a new approach to ensuring that clients experiencing homelessness have access to the vital benefits they are entitled to.

Using lessons learned from community stakeholders, the Department of Human Services (DHS) is adapting and expanding the use of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) / Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) model. SOAR is a highly regarded approach to connecting vulnerable populations to SSI/SSDI benefits. Starting this fall, the District will employ a pay-for-performance approach to funding SOAR advocacy efforts to enhance the efficiency and reach of the program in the District.

Importance of…


In 2016, Mayor Bowser launched an eight-ward strategy to close DC General as soon as possible and open smaller, service-enriched, community-based, Short-term Family Housing programs throughout the District in its place. This strategy is a critical piece of Homeward DC, the District’s strategic plan to end homelessness, and is also a promise to end a troubling chapter in the history of homeless services in the District and reaffirm our commitment to families.

As a community, I know we all share in the vision and responsibility to finally serve families experiencing homelessness in an environment designed to support them and help…


Deja Owens, a single mother, moved to DC from North Carolina in the hopes of providing a better life for she and her family. After experiencing financial hardship, Deja and her son took shelter in their car and, at times, began couch surfing with family and friends willing to share their homes. While experiencing homelessness, Deja visited the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center (VWFRC) to request emergency shelter.

After several months of living in shelter, Deja signed the lease to her new apartment. She was one of the 60 families experiencing homelessness joining Mayor Bowser, E&G Group — a local…


Mayor Bowser’s FY 2019 Budget demonstrates her leadership and commitment to ensuring all DC residents have a fair shot, making continued investments in the solutions we know work to end homelessness, support at-risk youth, improve customer service, and provide critical TANF assistance to families.

Following is a summary of proposed enhancements to the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) FY 2019 Budget.

Continuing to invest in the housing solutions that we know work to end homelessness

In alignment with our strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, Homeward DC, the Mayor’s Budget provides more than $23 million for new housing solutions…

DC Department of Human Services

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store