Pictured left to right: DHS Director Laura Zeilinger, Denise, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Hope and a Home Executive Director Lynn French, Hope and a Home Family Support Coordinator Mary Jo Schumaker, and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Hyesook Chung.

2017 Point in Time Data Confirms District Progress Toward Ending Homelessness

Denise is a 37-year-old District resident who signed the lease on her apartment on May 4, after experiencing homelessness, along with her teen- aged daughter, for approximately one year. Her housing instability began, like many others, not long after a divorce in 2010.

After couch surfing for a number of months, Denise went to the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center where she and her daughter were deemed eligible for emergency shelter and placed in over flow shelter at one of the motels utilized by the District to help families experiencing homelessness.

A Cancer survivor as well, Denise obtained a job at Safeway in March of this year after finally being cleared by her medical team to return to work. She is a licensed nurse by trade, and is looking to regain employment within that industry. Denise worked to improve her credit, saved her finances and sought employment all while in shelter and battling Cancer.

Progress Toward Ending Homelessness

For families like Denise’s family, the results of the 2017 Point in Time enumeration offer good news. According to the Council of Government’s Homelessness in Metropolitan Washington: Results and Analysis from the Annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of Homeless Persons the overall number of persons experiencing homelessness in the District of Columbia decreased by 10.5 percent from the 2016 Point in Time (PIT) count.

The primary driver of this decrease from 2016 was a nearly 22 percent reduction in the number of families experiencing homelessness during the PIT. “Two years ago, I made a bold promise — to end homelessness in the District of Columbia,” said Mayor Bowser.

“We still have a way to go, but because of Homeward DC, our strategic plan to fulfill this promise, we are making significant progress in ensuring every DC resident has a place to call home and an equal shot at success.”

The Homeward DC plan, created by the Interagency Council on Homelessness, outlines Mayor Bowser’s unprecedented investments and broad range of initiatives to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring throughout the District.

This multi-pronged approach seeks to provide District families with year-round access to shelter, increase the capacity of the homeless system to quickly connect families with housing opportunities, and expand services for youth experiencing homelessness.

“We are so grateful for Mayor Bowser’s leadership and all of the partners who have come to the table to help us prevent and end homelessness,” said DHS Director Laura Zeilinger. “We are working every day to ensure that every District resident experiencing homelessness has been offered the housing resources and supportive services they need.”

The Bowser Administration has invested more in affordable housing than any other jurisdiction in the country, committing more than $106 million to the construction and preservation of more than 1,200 housing units in the last fiscal year.

Since taking office, Mayor Bowser has launched new homeless prevention services which have prevented a shelter stay for almost 3,000 families and increased investments in permanent housing programs by nearly 60 percent, developed interim eligibility to provide immediate shelter for families in urgent need, and connected more than 1,800 veterans to permanent housing.