The District of Columbia is focused on making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring. To learn more about the District's comprehensive plan to address homelessness, please view the District's Homeward DC plan at Homeward DC: ICH Strategic Plan 2015 - 2020. Because this level of system transformation will take some time, the District has in the meantime established a protocol for addressing encampments. 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. To learn more about our protocol and clean up process, please see the attached FAQ. For information about how we're operating during the COVID-19 public health emergency, please see the attached FAQ.
For more information about the Winter Plan and services available to people experiencing homelessness during hypothermia season, please see the attached information sheet.
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 an Encampment Protocol Engagement?
Encampment protocol engagements 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 encampment protocol engagement 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 an emcampment protocol engagement takes place, outreach teams continue to monitor the area and ensure residents are connected to services.
Encampment protocol engagements are not conducted in inclement weather. If an encampment protocol engagement is canceled due to weather, the signage will be updated and the encampment protocol engagement will be rescheduled.
Upcoming Encampment Protocol Engagements
- 5/04: 3rd St Tunnel (1st and C St NW) and 2nd St Tunnel (2nd and D St NW), 10am. Full cleanup engagement + power-washing
- 5/07: 10th St, between Rhode Island and P St NW, 10am. Full cleanup engagement
- 5/11: 1720 1st St NE, behind Emery Choice Academy, 10am. Full cleanup engagement
- 5/13: NoMa, L and M St NE Underpasses, between 1st and 2nd St NE, 12pm. Full cleanup engagement + power-washing
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