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Ending Homelessness in the District of Columbia

Ending Homelessness

Replacing DC General with Short-Term Family Housing

The District of Columbia has a plan to end homelessness.  As part of that plan, we will close DC General - a former hospital that has served as the District’s largest family shelter for seven years. DC General is too big, too old and geographically removed from the services that individuals experiencing homelessness need to exit shelter and get back on their feet.  We will replace DC General by developing several short-term family housing facilities across the city.

Click here for information for neighbors about the plan to close and deconstruct DC General Family Shelter

Click here for information about the Hill East Campus construction activities, including the plan to deconstruct the DC General Family Shelter

Click here for a fact sheet with more information on the District’s plan.

Ward by Ward Information

Following is a list of locations for the short-term family housing facilities, along with the scheduled delivery dates.

Ward Address  Units Construction Start Projected Program Open Date
1 2500 14th Street, NW* 35 January 2019 Spring 2020
2 810 Fifth Street, NW     The Patricia Handy Place for Women opened in early 2016, and serves more than 200 women per night.
3 3320 Idaho Avenue, NW 50 November 2017 Summer 2019
4 5505 Fifth Street, NW 45 July 2017 Fall 2018
5 1700 Rhode Island Avenue, NE 46 November 2017 Summer 2019
6 850 Delaware Avenue, SW 50 July 2017 Summer 2019
7 5004 D Street, SE 35 June 2017 Fall 2018
8 4225 6th Street, SE 50 November 2017 Fall 2018


*  Under the “Homeless Shelter Replacement Act of 2016,” the DC Council authorized the Mayor to acquire a site at 2105-2107 10th Street, NW for short-term family housing. However, the District could not come to an agreement to acquire the property, and, instead, identified the parcel of DC Government land on 14th Street.

What is the plan to Close DC General, and how has the plan changed?

  • Mayor Bowser unveiled a bold plan:  On February 11, 2016, after more than a year of careful work and planning, Mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled an all 8 Ward strategy to close and replace DC General before the end 2018.  She then immediately presented legislation to the Council to approve the sites that were selected through a Request for Proposals process. The Bowser Administration then hosted several community meetings, prepared, shared and received feedback on site designs, and submitted the necessary applications to the Board of Zoning Adjustments.
  • Council made changes to the plan: The Council held a public hearing on the Mayor’s legislation on March 17, 2016, and on May 16, 2016, announced and voted on several revisions to the original plan, including changing 3 of the 8 sites. Council finalized the plan, which included their revisions, by unanimous vote on May 31, 2016. Mayor Bowser repeated her commitment to closing DC General as soon as possible.
  • Council’s changes extends the timeline to close DC General, but Mayor Bowser pledges to move forward as fast as possible.  The final plan achieves the Mayor’s goal of closing DC General by opening up smaller, more dignified and modern facilities in every ward of the city. However, the changes that Council made to the original plan—including changing the location of 3 sites (Wards 3, 5, and 6), and restructuring the property arrangements at 2 other sites (Wards 1 and 4)—extend the timeline for closing DC General by more than a year, to January 2020. Factors that contribute to the extended timeline include now needed to start over on architectural designs for the new sites and preparing and submitting new BZA applications.

What is the difference between the Mayor’s plan and the changes that Council made?

  • Leased sites (which were proposed by the Mayor for Wards 3, 4, 5 and 6) allowed for developers to procure all designs and construction, delivering turn-key facilities to the District on a fast timeline. With the Mayor’s original plan, all needed solicitations had been completed, and the entire project was ready to move forward.
  • Owned sites (now required by Council) require the government to procure for the design and construction of the 3 new sites, as well as negotiate purchases for the sites in Wards 1 and 4. Council’s changes mean that the government now must solicit for the design of 3 new sites, which is a 60 day process. Then bring those designs to the community for input, finalize the designs, complete the BZA process, and then put out another solicitation for the construction of all sites.

What are the next steps?

  • The Bowser Administration, with Council, will continue to engage community members on the plan at every step of the process.  The Department of General Services will finalize property deals, hire architects to design facilities for the new sites, submit new BZA applications, procure firms to construct the sites, and manage the construction of each site. The Department of Human Services will continue its work to improve homeless services, and will contract for service providers at each of the new Short-term Family Housing sites through a competitive process.
  • Advisory Teams. In addition, in collaboration with both community members and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, we will launch a community Advisory Team (AT) for each site. This team will be composed of representatives from both the government and the community. We will look to the ANCs to suggest representatives for this group to ensure that we are including key community stakeholders, and the ATs will have three primary responsibilities:
  1. Provide feedback on concerns related to quality of life during construction;
  2. Disseminate information to other neighbors and constituent groups;
  3. Work with the partners to develop Good Neighbor Agreements.

It is through these Good Neighbor Agreements that the community will articulate mutual expectations of common courtesy, safety, and respect for all persons living in the neighborhood (both those living in the new facility, and those in the vicinity). We look forward to collaborating with residents to ensure that each facility becomes an asset to the community and that neighbors, both existing and new, experience a high quality of life.

Advisory Teams will work toward achieving a set of milestones for each site. These milestones are as follows:

  1. Advisory Team (AT) formation:  Administration leadership will work with ANCs and Civic Associations to form an Advisory Team in each ward.
  2. Design presentation and input:  Each AT, in conjunction with the community, will receive a presentation on initial exterior design and provide input and register preferences for aspects of exterior façade color, fencing, and landscaping. Landscaping. (This has already occurred in Wards 4, 7 & 8).
  3. Pre-BZA submission presentation:  Each AT, in conjunction with the local ANC, will receive a presentation on BZA applications. (This has already occurred in Wards 4, 7 & 8).
  4. Final design and construction timeline presentation:  Each AT will receive a presentation on final designs and be briefed on construction timelines.
  5. Develop a Good Neighbor Agreement:  Coinciding with the contracting for STFH service provision at each site, the AT and the service provider will develop a “good neighbor agreement,” which will be an agreement between DHS, the STFH service provider and the AT on behalf of the community to set forth expectations and commitments regarding facility and landscape maintenance, safety and security, mutual codes of conduct and respect, and clear and expedient process for communication and problem solving. The agreement will also set forth clear expectations for ongoing AT engagement and coordination.

General Resources and Fact Sheets

What is in a Short-term Family Housing Site?, 2-page PDF of program design features

Frequently Asked Questions: Short-term Family Housing, 13-page PDF, January 30, 2017

PSA-level and address-level crime counts at apartment-style family shelters in the District

Questions and Answers: Replacing DC General with Short-Term Family Housing, 1-page PDF, February 5, 2016

Making Homelessness Rare, Brief, and Non-recurring in DC, 1-page PDF

Report: Design Guidelines for DC General Replacement Units, 19-page PDF, October 16, 2015

Sign the pledge to end homelessness in DC

Additional Resources

Ward 1

Ward 2

Ward 3

Ward 4

Ward 5

Ward 6

Ward 7

Ward 8


Archived Correspondence