Mayor's Budget Includes Key Investments in Ending Chronic Homelessness
Last week, Mayor Bowser released her proposed budget, which outlines her priorities for the next fiscal year. While the budget will still need to be reviewed and amended by the City Council, it puts a stake in the ground and lets us know how much work must be done over the next few months to ensure we can end chronic homelessness in DC in the next 2 years.
GOOD NEWS! Despite a challenging budget climate, Mayor Bowser makes strong invests in ending chronic homelessness
A challenging budget climate
The Mayor had the challenge of filling a $190 million budget gap and finding funding for new priorities. To do this, the Mayor had to make cuts and raise new revenue, which included a small increase in the D.C. sales tax. Given the challenge, we believe that the investments the Mayor has dedicated towards ending chronic homelessness make a strong statement about her commitment to this issue.
Substantial investments in ending homelessness overall
Thanks to people like you, the Mayor has heard loud and clear that ending homelessness is a priority for D.C. residents and has made substantial investments to prioritize this important issue. The Mayor put what she called an “$18.7 million down payment on transforming the homelessness services system to a crisis response system that makes homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.” This investment will help to fund the Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) Plan to End Homelessness, which represents some of the best data-driven thinking on this topic to date.
Increased investments in chronic homelessness
Last year at this time, Mayor Gray invested enough funding to house 200 veterans experiencing chronic homelessness in Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). This was an important investment – but it wasn’t nearly enough to address the needs of D.C.’s most vulnerable residents. By contrast, this year, Mayor Bowser invested funding in a variety of programs to serve approximately 955 individuals and 570 families.
Investments in programs to end homelessness for individuals
Specifically, this year’s budget includes funding for:
- Permanent Supportive Housing for 250 individuals
- Rapid Rehousing for 455 individuals
- Targeted Affordable Housing for 150 individuals
- $800,000 to staff a Downtown Services Center as a physical site for Coordinated Entry
While these investments fall a bit short to meet the need of all individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, this is a BIG WIN for ensuring that we are investing in the solutions that we know work to move our most vulnerable residents into housing.
Investments in programs to end and address family homelessness
- Permanent Supportive Housing to end homelessness for approximately 110 families
- Targeted Affordable Housing to end homelessness for approximately 147 families
- Funding to provide 84 new shelter beds and services for homeless families
- Capital funding to work towards closing D.C. General shelter by building smaller shelters throughout the city
- New funding to improve the rapid re-housing program for families
Other key investments
The Mayor's budget also reflects an investment of $100 million in the Housing Production Trust fund, which will be used to build affordable housing for various income levels.
The Mayor’s budget is a huge step forward given the budget climate. However, the investments still don’t match the need. We will need your help to protect the investments the Mayor has proposed and to fill gaps to ensure that we end chronic homelessness by the end of 2016. Please stay tuned!