A Christmas Wish: Mayor Bowser Celebrates the Smith Family Receiving “A Home for the Holidays”

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 — and calling on the landlord community to work with the DC Government to make more affordable housing available.

“We started Home for the Holidays because we want the holiday season to be about spending time with family, friends, and loved ones. We know that when we work together as a community and focus our attention and resources, we are able to move more Washingtonians into housing that allows them to stabilize and get back on their feet,” said Mayor Bowser. “While we work all year round to move families and individuals out of shelter and into permanent housing, this campaign is about doing all we can to ensure that our neighbors are able spend the holidays and start the New Year in a home of their own.”

Last year, through this special holiday campaign, 422 households moved out of homelessness into permanent housing, exceeding the District’s original goal of 400 households.

“I am thankful for this housing drive and the opportunity to obtain stable, permanent housing right before the holidays. A home is the best gift we could have received. We are happy,” commented Ms. Smith.

The Bowser Administration has worked in partnership with the Apartment & Office Building Association (AOBA), homeless services providers, landlords, stakeholders, and District community members to find safe and affordable housing for the District’s most vulnerable households.

“Through our efforts, we’re giving families a much needed second chance to grow and prosper in this great city,” said DC Department of Human Services Director Laura Zeilinger. “This campaign is helping to connect our neighbors experiencing homelessness to services, resources and stable housing, in addition to, building new partnerships with landlords that will help eliminate chronic homelessness in the District.”

The “A Home for the Holidays” campaign supports Mayor Bowser’s strategic plan — Homeward DC — to make chronic homelessness in the District rare, brief and nonrecurring. With a 40 percent reduction in families experiencing homelessness in the last two years resulting in the prevention of shelter stay for 6,000 families, this campaign has housed 258 households so far this holiday season.

How You Can Help

To help reach the campaign placement goal of 450 households, Mayor Bowser is asking landlords to provide available and affordable units. Landlords interested in learning more about partnering with the District should contact homefortheholidays@dc.gov.

Community members may donate new or gently used houseware, clothing and children’s toys at the Adams Place Day Center located at 2210 Adams Place, NE — Shelter Side B, Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Donations are accepted through January 15, 2019.

News 4 reporter Mark Segraves was with Mayor Bowser, Director Zeilinger and the Smith Family as they toured the new home. View his special “A Home for the Holidays” event recap here.

View weekly update on the campaign’s progress through the “A Home for the Holidays” dashboard, which details housing placements for families and individuals.