The District of Columbia is focused on making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring. The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services advocates for the health and well-being of all constituents of the District of Columbia; this includes people experiencing homelessness. As such, our protocol for cleaning public spaces is triggered when a site presents a security, health, or safety risk, and/or interferes with community use of such places. With this in mind, we provide resources to shelter, pathways to housing and access to behavioral health services to individuals at these locations.
What is an Encampment?
An encampment is defined as a set-up of an abode or place of residence of one or more persons on public property or an accumulation of personal belongings that is present even when the individual may not be.
What is not an Encampment?
- Set up of an abode on private or federal property. The District only has jurisdiction over District Government property.
- Gatherings of individuals during the day that have not set up an abode.
- Individual(s) that sleep at a location but have not set up living quarters and take their belongings when they leave.
- Panhandlers. Please note that panhandlers also may not be experiencing homelessness.
What is the Timeline for Cleanup?
Encampment cleanups are a cross-agency effort. Once the Office of The Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services receives a report, the Department of Human Services and Department of Behavioral Health conduct outreach, engage residents about services, and complete a formal encampment assessment. If the location is determined to be an encampment, the District’s encampment protocol is enacted. This includes 14 days written notice of the cleanup and increased engagement by the outreach teams, including staff from the Department of Public Works, the Metropolitan Police Department and agencies under The Office of The Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. After a cleanup takes place, outreach teams continue to monitor the area and ensure residents are connected to services.
Encampment cleanups are not conducted in inclement weather. If a cleanup is canceled due to weather, the signage will be updated and the cleanup will be rescheduled.
Reporting an Encampment
To report an encampment, call (202) 727-7973 or send a detailed description to the contacts below:
Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services
Office of The Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services