D.C. approves winter shelter plan
The District’s Interagency Council on Homelessness approved its annual winter plan for the homeless Tuesday, less than a week before the start of the winter season.
Advocates for the homeless and shelter providers expressed concern about the plan’s lack of an overflow emergency shelter that would be used during extreme cold. An earlier version of the plan, which proposed adding 100 apartments and rooms to the Family Emergency Shelter at the former D.C. General Hospital, was rejected after advocates and D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) said that adding beds would lead to overcrowding. District officials refused to consider a proposal to convert a former nursing home and mental health center on Spring Road into a shelter.
Instead, city officials said that they have enough housing units to meet demand, reflecting the city’s commitment to combating homelessness with permanent and transitional housing over temporary shelters.
“We know this is a big jump,” said Laura Zeilinger, who oversees homeless programs for the Department of Human Services, but it’s a better use of “the city’s limited resources,” she said.
-- Nathan Rott
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