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Mayor Bowser Releases Point in Time Results, Overall Homelessness Continues to Decrease

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Annual Survey of People Experiencing Homelessness Shows 5.5 Percent Reduction in Homelessness and Third Consecutive Year of Double-Digit Decreases in Family Homelessness

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the DC Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) released the results of the District’s 2019 Point in Time Count (PIT), which reflects the number of persons and families experiencing homelessness in the District, staying either in shelter, temporary housing, or on the street on the evening of January 23, 2019. This year’s count indicates a 5.5 percent reduction in the overall number of persons experiencing homelessness since last year’s count, amounting to a cumulative 21.9 percent decrease since 2016, the year Mayor Bowser began implementing her Homeward DC plan.

“These results clearly demonstrate what we knew four years ago and what we know today—homelessness is not intractable. We developed a strategy, we are implementing that strategy, and we are making tremendous progress,” said Mayor Bowser. “There is more work to do, and with new investments in our homeless services system, especially in our programs for single adults, we are going to continue moving more residents into safe, stable, and permanent housing.”

Since 2018, the number of families experiencing homelessness decreased by 11.8 percent, marking the third consecutive year of double-digit decreases in family homelessness. This year’s results mean that family homelessness in Washington, DC is down 45.3 percent since 2016.

“We are so proud of the progress we are making and genuinely grateful for the support of the community, our stakeholders and Mayor Bowser,” said DHS Director Laura Zeilinger. “Since last year’s count, we have closed DC General, opened three new Short Term Family Housing programs, and prevented a shelter stay for more than 1,000 families.”

the single adults system, over 1,200 individuals exited the streets or shelter to permanent housing throughout 2018. PIT results indicate that, over the past year, homelessness among individual adults increased by 3 percent, while the number of adults experiencing chronic homelessness, a subset of single adults with the most intense needs and longest histories of homelessness, decreased by 13.3 percent.

“There have been many lessons learned over the first four years of plan implementation. The need for assistance is growing ever greater among single adults, and we know we’ll have to double down on our efforts in the years ahead to see the type of progress we are seeing among families,” said ICH Director Kristy Greenwalt.

The Homeward DC plan, created in 2015 by the ICH, outlines Mayor Bowser’s unprecedented investments and broad range of initiatives to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. The plan includes over forty strategies under the umbrella of five broad objectives to bring to scale solutions to end homelessness, such as year-round access to shelter, a robust homeless prevention program, and increasing the capacity of the homeless services system to quickly connect households experiencing a crisis to permanent housing.

The Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget includes $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. Anticipating the need for greater resources for individuals, the FY20 budget includes the following resources for single adults:

  • $30 million for the replacement of the Harriet Tubman Shelter;
  • an additional $8 million for the replacement of 801 East Men’s shelter, building on a $40 million investment in FY19; and
  • $8.8 million for new housing resources for unaccompanied adults.

The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness plans and administers the PIT Count on behalf of the District each year. Data from the District will be included in a regional analysis and report by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Homeless Services Planning and Coordinating Committee, released May 2, 2019. To address a lack of regional data available, COG undertook the first effort to produce a PIT Count of homeless adults and children in metropolitan Washington in 2001. More data will be available at mwcog.org/homelessnessreport.