Ending Homelessness in the District

October newsletter

October 28, 2015 | Volume 1, Issue 38

Far too many men, women and families with children experience homelessness.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  We know what it takes to end homelessness, and we have a #homewarddc plan to get it done.  

At the top of our agenda is to close DC General, the District’s largest family shelter.  If you’ve ever heard anything about DC General, you know it’s not a place for families.  And it doesn’t have the kind of environment that helps people get back on their feet.  That is why, when I became Mayor, I pledged to close DC General.  

We are getting close to making that goal a reality.  Next week, the DC Council will vote on my legislation that paves the way for the development of small, dignified, emergency family housing across the city.   

The new emergency family housing will be safe and clean.  There will be spaces for children to play and do homework, and services like housing assistance and job placement – the very things that are proven to help families exit out of shelter.  Once we have these neighborhood facilities in place, we can close DC General once and for all. 

Some people want us to do the things we’ve tried before.  But we cannot keep repeating the same mistakes.  We need a new approach that breaks the status quo and delivers results for families that need us most.  That is why we are asking the DC Council to take the bold and necessary step of approving my reform legislation, which will:

  1. Provide safety to families whose eligibility for shelter or other homeless services cannot be quickly determined
  2. Enable the District to create clean, safe, and dignified emergency family housing with private rooms, so families don’t have to go to DC General

This legislation is just one step in our strategy to end homelessness, but it’s one giant step.  We have a chance to help families who experience homelessness achieve their number one goal – to get back into a home of their own.  

Please join me in calling on the DC Council to pass the “Year Round Access to Shelter Policy Amendment Act,” and if you haven’t already, please sign our pledge to show your support.   

Together, we will end homelessness in Washington, DC.  Together, we are stronger.



Muriel Bowser


hands on hearts

Working Together to Save Lives

This week, my Administration launched “Hands on Hearts” to train 5,000 people in hands-only CPR each year, from here on out. Hands-only CPR, also known as compression-only CPR, is used to give victims of sudden cardiac arrest a series of chest compressions, using only your hands.  Many of us have been faced with a situation where a loved one, or even a stranger, has suffered from cardiac arrest.  Ever since we were kids, we’ve been trained to call 911 in an emergency.  And that’s the most important first step.  But the time between that phone call and an ambulance arrival is critical for the patient – and can mean the difference between life and death.  The training only takes 20 minutes and it’s free - sign up for one today. To learn how you can sign up for CPR training - and possibly save a life - visit HERE.

dc snow team volunteer

DC is Snow Ready

Winter is around the corner and that means snow season is close. My goal is for the District to be snow-ready before winter weather arrives. Some of our residents, including seniors and individuals with disabilities, are unable to do their own shoveling.  And it’s especially important that this group has clear sidewalks and stairs, because they often need to get to medical appointments.  ServeDC is recruiting 2,500 volunteers to join our DC Resident Snow Team and help our vulnerable neighbors with snow removal.  If you are interested in volunteering, please visit snowteam.dc.gov.  And if you are a senior over the age of 60, or if you have a disability and do not have someone in your home who can shovel, please call 311.  

anacostia heritage trail

Anacostia Heritage Trail

On Saturday, residents of Ward 8 celebrated the unveiling of the Anacostia Heritage Trail. An East-of-the-River View: Anacostia Heritage Trail presents the history of one of some 30 neighborhoods located east of the Anacostia River. This heritage trail begins a new chapter in history for Anacostia, and for the District.  I encourage you to check it out when when you have a chance.  For more information, visit HERE.

Ribbon Cutting for UDC Bertie Backus Campus

This week, the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) expanded its community college with new classrooms, labs, course offerings and a business incubator space.  This expansion, on the school’s Bertie Backus Campus, will enable UDC to serve an additional 1,100 students. The best part is that the services the community college offers are geared toward helping Washingtonians get good-paying jobs.  And their courses are free! For more information, visit here.

DC Airports

Supporting DC Small Businesses

Last week, my Administration signed an agreement between the District and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) to make it easier for District-based businesses to qualify for MWAA procurement opportunities.  Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, creating jobs, contributing to our tax base, and providing vital services to District residents.  And I am committed to giving small businesses the resources and partnerships they need to grow and thrive. For information about the program, visit here.

Next Step in Education Reform

Last spring, DC public school students started taking the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).  This annual assessment replaces DC Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS) to assess a student’s proficiency in English and Math.  The old test served us well for ten years, but frankly, we needed a fresh start to testing - to give us a clearer picture of our student’s progress.  This week, DCPS announced the results of that first test, which can be found HERE.  We will use the PARCC results to ensure that our students have the skills they need to succeed in college and the workforce after graduation.  Knowing where students stand will better equip educators, students and their families to prepare for the future.  


#IAmMBSYEP Job Spotlights:  Devon Lesesne, Constituent Services & Donise Jackson, Communications, Office of Councilmember LaRuby May, Ward 8

This week’s #IAmMBSYEP Job Spotlights will showcase two MBSYEP participants. Devon Lesesne is a 25 year-old Ward 8 resident and graduate of both Ballou Senior High School and Norfolk State University. Donise Jackson is a 24-year-old, Ward 8 resident and graduate of both Eastern Senior High School and Hofstra and Cheyney Universities.  

This summer, Devon interned as a Benefits and Retirement Assistant with DC Department of Human Resources (DCHR).  When asked how MBSYEP helped him chart his career, he replied:

“Working at DCHR gave me the acumen to succeed in a fast-paced environment. It also helped me communicate with all of the people that came into our office, both internal and external clients.”

Donise interned in the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). When asked how the new expanded MBSYEP helped her start her career after college, she replied:

“My experience in MBSYEP taught me that the government is more than I thought. It challenged me to be more involved in public service and how I can really make a difference in my career.”

Devon and Donise are now full-time staffers in Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May’s office. I am #DCProud they were both able to use MBSYEP to learn valuable job skills to help them secure positions that will provide them an exciting start in local government. I look forward to seeing what they accomplish in the future.