Grassroots Organization Enthusiastic to Collaborate with New Administration to End Chronic Homelessness in Washington, D.C.
November 5, 2014 – Washington, D.C. – The Way Home campaign, a grassroots advocacy campaign to end chronic homelessness in the District of Columbia by 2016, today issued their congratulations to Mayor-Elect, Muriel Bowser, for her victorious 2014 Mayoral campaign.
“On behalf of all of the partners in the Way Home Campaign, as well as every D.C. resident seeking a solution to the city’s homelessness crisis, we are excited to work together with Mayor-Elect Bowser,” said Kurt Runge, Director of Advocacy at Miriam’s Kitchen, and founding partner of The Way Home campaign. “Washington, D.C. is already on track to end Veteran Homelessness, and we are confident that her leadership will guide us to meeting that Federal goal by the end of 2015.”
Campaign members echoed that optimism, stating that an end to Veteran Homelessness should be seen as a first step towards bigger goals.
“We know that the solution to chronic homelessness is housing, and specifically a Housing First approach to Permanent Supportive Housing,” said The Way Home campaign’s Co-Chair Jill Carmichael, Division Director of Friendship Place. “This is the approach that will end Veteran Homelessness under Mayor-Elect Bowser’s term, and with Mayor-Elect Bowser’s leadership, it will also end chronic homelessness in D.C. by 2016.”
Campaign representatives reinforced four key recommendations to end chronic homelessness in D.C. by the end of 2016:
1) Leverage new and existing resources to create enough Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) to meet the need
- The D.C. Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) estimates that the District needs 2,679 units of PSH to end chronic homelessness for individuals and families. This plan requires a one-time cost of $188 million as well as $53 million in ongoing costs for housing subsidies and supportive services.
- PSH is more cost-effective than allowing someone to remain homeless. There are multiple opportunities to leverage mainstream resources like Medicaid, use existing resources better, and explore resources from the private sector to meet this goal.
2) Implement Housing First system-wide
- Research shows that PSH using the Housing First model is the best way to end chronic homelessness. D.C. has taken important strides in this direction, but still has a long way to go to implement this approach system-wide.
3) Expand and strengthen D.C.’s Coordinated Entry and Housing Placement System
- In order to end chronic homelessness, we need a system by which all service providers can identify individuals experiencing homelessness, assess the types of housing and services needed by each, and then prioritize housing and services to the most vulnerable first.
4) Increase leadership and support from our entire community
- Our entire community – individuals, nonprofits, businesses, faith groups, government, and the philanthropic sector – has an essential role in contributing resources and momentum to ending chronic homelessness.
- Specifically, we must build on the momentum created by the appointment of an ICH Director, by ensuring that she has the staff and resources to effectively coordinate the efforts of D.C. government agencies, service providers, and advocates to end all homelessness in the District.
“We believe that the next administration has the opportunity of a lifetime to make historic change in the District of Columbia,” said Runge. “We know the solutions that are proven to work, we know the resources we need to execute them, and we’re excited to get to work with Mayor-Elect Bowser.”
The Way Home: Ending Chronic Homelessness in D.C. is a grassroots advocacy campaign to end chronic homelessness in the District of Columbia by 2016. It is composed of a community network of non-profit organizations, faith-based communities, and concerned citizens. The Way Home campaign seeks to energize the entire community around this goal by raising awareness to the causes and solutions to chronic homelessness and building public support to make this a priority in D.C. http://www.thewayhomedc.org/
Director of Communication
Miriam's Kitchen (on Behalf of the Way Home Campaign)
(202) 452-8926 ext. 235