(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser, along with her Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) and the Greater Washington Community Foundation, launched the Partnership to End Homelessness. This first-of-its-kind initiative in the District aims to galvanize private sector investment and coordinate the public and private sectors around a shared strategy to address homelessness and housing insecurity in Washington, DC.
“We know that ending homelessness is possible, but that it is going to take all of us from the public and private sectors working together across all eight wards,” said Mayor Bowser. “Through our Homeward DC plan, we are implementing evidence-based solutions and transforming our homeless services system. And while there is more work to do, we are on the right track – family homelessness has decreased by nearly 45 percent and the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness in the District is lower today than it has been in the last 15 years. The time to double-down on and accelerate our progress is now, and that is why we are so grateful to be partnering with the Greater Washington Community Foundation on these critical efforts to end homelessness in Washington, DC.”
In 2015, Mayor Bowser released her Homeward DC Plan, with the first investments in the plan coming in her Fiscal Year 2016 budget. Since 2016, the District has seen a nearly 22% decrease in homelessness, driven by a 45% reduction in homelessness among family households. The Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget included $37 million in new and recurring investments in Homeward DC and an additional $45 million for new and upgraded emergency shelter improvements, building on the $66 million previously allocated.
“We have had government agencies, nonprofit partners, advocates, and people with lived experience around the ICH planning table over the last four years as we developed and launched our Homeward DC plan,” said ICH Director Kristy Greenwalt, “but we have lacked a formal structure for better mobilizing and aligning the contributions of private sector partners. Government has a big role to play, but there are certain needs within our system that the private sector is better suited to fulfill. It will take all of us working in lockstep to achieve our goals.”
The Partnership aims to increase the availability of philanthropic and private capital to expand the capacity of nonprofit housing developers and supportive service providers, thereby allowing the District to accelerate its efforts. It will also offer impact investment options to reduce housing insecurity by financing the development of deeply affordable and supportive housing, with other strategies and opportunities to be defined as Homeward DC implementation progresses.
“Homelessness and housing insecurity have not always existed the way they do today. We believe that homelessness is solvable, and we also believe that our community is stronger when we bring everyone along,” said Bruce McNamer, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “Over the last four years, we have witnessed that our community has the political will, leadership, and expertise to move the needle on homelessness. The Bowser Administration has established a strong foundation, but private sector engagement will be critical to long-term success. We cannot afford to waste this moment – we must act now and capitalize on the city’s momentum. Together, we can ensure that every one of our neighbors has a safe, stable and affordable place to call home.”
To learn more about Homeward DC, visit the ICH website at ich.dc.gov/page/homeward-dc-ich-strategic-plan-2015-2020. To get involved, visit the Partnership’s website at endhomelessnessdc.org.