D.C. General Homeless Shelter residents gathered Tuesday night to demand major changes to their home.
The shelter houses 288 families, and D.C. officials estimate it costs about $50,000 annually to house a family there.
"A lot of families who live in this shelter tell me that they're seeing rodents, mildew, mold and the food they receive isn't cooked properly," D.C. Council Member Jim Graham said. "This doesn't work. This place just doesn't work."
The D.C. Department of Human Services says the shelter is treated for rodents and insects twice a week, but homeless advocates and residents say it's not enough.
"There's [mice] in there ... and roaches," D.C. General resident Bryna Garris said. "I don't think it's best for [my kids] to be there."
A few months ago, 8-year-old Relisha Rudd went missing from the shelter -- she has yet to be found. The case shed light on the shelter's conditions and safety practices.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's administration admitted the shelter isn't "ideal" for children, and has vowed to find affordable housing for 50 families by July 11.