On January 28th, 1,501 individuals and 42 families were identified as being chronically homeless, meaning they have been homeless repeatedly or for years and have a disabling condition.
Housing is the solution to homelessness. Homeward D.C., the D.C. Interagency Council on Homelessness plan to end homelessness by 2020, identifies three types of housing that are needed to end chronic homelessness for individuals and families in D.C.:
Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), which is affordable housing with supportive services that serves people who are most at risk of dying on the street.
Rapid re-housing, which is a program that provides short term housing and support to people who need just a little assistance to get out of homelessness.
Targeted Affordable Housing, which is long-term affordable housing for people who no longer need supportive services from PSH, or who rapid re-housing isn’t a good fit.
Homeward D.C. also identifies two key strategies needed to end chronic homelessness.
First is filling all housing for people who are homeless through the Coordinated Entry System, which ensures that housing and services are matched to people based on level of service need and risk of death on the street. This system is creating a by name list of everyone who is homeless in D.C., how vulnerable each person is, and what is needed to end their homelessness.
Second is Housing First, a national best practice which removes unnecessary eligibility requirements and barriers to housing that prevent programs from serving the very people the programs were funded to serve.