DC Mayor Wants to Lease Apartment Buildings for Homeless Families

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser plans to start leasing apartment buildings in the District to house homeless families. 

For several years, the District has been paying tens of millions of dollars to house hundreds of homeless families in motels, mostly along New York Avenue. 

On Friday, the Bowser Administration began accepting bids from landlords who are willing to lease entire buildings to the District for up to three years. The Bowser Administration is targeting buildings with 25 to 50 units, located one to two blocks from metro stations across D.C.

It's part of Bowser's plan to close the D.C. General homeless shelter. 

The Bowser Administration is currently building temporary shelters for homeless families in all 8 wards. That plan has been met with considerable resistance from councilmembers and residents. 

"We are in our second year of implementation of Homeward DC, our strategic plan to end homelessness and we have made tremendous progress. There were 17 percent fewer families in emergency shelter in January of 2017 compared to January 2016,” said DHS Director Laura Zeilinger.

The latest plan to rent entire apartment buildings is being called bridge housing, a temporary place for families to live until permanent homes can be found.


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"This bridge housing will be a more effective and efficient means of serving families needing a temporary placement during a housing crisis while we continue to implement the strategies in our strategic plan and reduce our reliance on motel rooms," Zeilinger said. 

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