Today, 20 organizations, including DCFPI, released a roadmap to put the District on a path toward a high-quality family homelessness system. The Helping Families Home roadmap is intended to help avoid a repeat of this past winter’s crisis, which saw a surge of families seeking shelter and reliance on motels and rec centers as temporary shelter.
DC’s homeless services have serious problems, according to sponsors of the roadmap. Families are able to get into shelter only when it is cold and otherwise are turned away. Shelter conditions are deplorable. And many families have been in shelter for too long.
“No one wants to repeat the crisis from last winter,” said Jenny Reed of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, one of the co-sponsors. “Yet without sufficient planning and funding, the likelihood is high that the crisis will happen again.”
The community’s Helping Families Home roadmap lays out key goals and the steps needed to achieve them, some of which are already in progress by the District.
- Safe and adequate emergency shelter for families when they need it
- A system that quickly connects families with the right services to limit their stay in shelter
- A robust set of tools to meet the unique needs of each homeless family
- Affordable housing for families
- Improved data on performance, budgeting, and spending
The roadmap also notes that added funding is needed to achieve these goals. When all resources available in FY 2014 are considered, the FY 2015 budget for homeless families represents a decrease of $11 million, or 20 percent, , after adjusting for inflation.
“Over the next year, DC has the capability to make major improvements to its family homelessness system,” Reed said. “We hope this roadmap contributes to efforts to help all families find a safe and stable home.”