Big Changes Coming to Mayor's Homelessness Plan

New bill would locate shelters throughout the city on public, not private, land

A new bill is expected to radically change D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's plan to house homeless families throughout all eight wards of the District.

District Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is planning to propose a subsitute bill Tuesday that guts Bowser's plan to build shelters on private land.

Instead, his bill would locate shelters on public-owned land throughout the city.

Mendelson says his plan would save the city many tens of millions of dollars. Bowser's plan had been criticized for enriching private developers.

News4 first reported Mendelson was rewriting the proposal last week.

Both Bowser and the members of D.C. Council are trying to close D.C. General, the large homeless shelter in an old hospital in Southeast. That's where 8-year-old Relisha Rudd was living when she went missing in 2014; Rudd, who police believe left with a janitor at the facility, has never been found.  

Meanwhile, D.C. is grappling with a jump in the number of homeless people. An annual survey just completed found that the number of homeless people in D.C. jumped 14 percent; the number of homeless families jumped almost 32 percent. 

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