WASHINGTON D.C. – Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced plans are in motion to close the DC General Family Shelter by the end of 2018.
The facility in southeast serves as an emergency shelter for approximately 250 homeless families to keep them from living on the streets. It also gives social service professionals an opportunity to offer help to those families so they move into long term housing.
“Over the next year, we will work to gradually and safely step-down the use of the hospital as a shelter by exiting families into permanent housing and placing families at other locations operated by the District,” said Bowser in a statement.
Bowser’s plan includes opening smaller family shelters in each ward of the District. One is already open in ward 2 but several others are still in the planning stages which is leading to some questions about why DC General is on the fast track to close.
“We’ve been very supportive of the plan to open replacement shelters but a critical piece of that plan was that [DC General] wouldn't close until the replacement shelters were ready for families to move into them,” said Amber Harding with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.
Harding said that up until last month the city still held those replacement shelters as a requirement before moving forward with closing DC General.
Instead, the city is set to start demolition of some of the vacant buildings on the old hospital property as soon as April.