Homeless Hangover

In a recent recently released by the DC Fiscal Policy Institute the District of Columbia has not made the necessary steps needed to adequately prepare for this year cold season for the city’s homeless population. Follow last winter’s homeless crisis mayor Vincent Gray worked to implement a plan called 500 families in 100 hundred days. The group tasked with moving forward on this plan has done a great job locating suitable apartments, finding 450 of the 500 they were looking for. The issue is families are not being moved into these units at a fast enough rate. It program planned to move 100 families per month, when in actuality only about 55-60 families have been moved out of shelters per month. This lack of coordination and disparity between the proposed program and actual action will cause a short fall that will contribute significantly to the troubles coming this winter.

According to the report, since 2010, the number of families with children in emergency shelter during the annual count has grown from 326 to 907. If the issues of last year, converge with this coming winter’s challenges, with being addressed adequately the District will have a true homeless crisis is on its hands. DC general, the city’s largest homeless shelter is already facing its fair share of problems, but these numbers solidify that it will be a full capacity this winter. The District department of human services will also have less funds to work with FY15, creating a perfect storm scenario. DHS will spend over $9 million on motels this year using federal carryover dollars, but those funds are not likely to be available in FY 2015. Once those carryover funds are used, the DHS budget for FY 2015 contains no funding for motels and only funding for 150 families at DC General throughout the winter. Without solid planning these issues will only continue to snowball.

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