WASHINGTON (WDVM) — District Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Department of Human Services (D.H.S.), and the Department of General Services (D.G.S.) officially opened the new 801 East Men’s Shelter on the St. Elizabeths East campus in Ward 8.
Mayor Bowser said, “Every person deserves to have a chance to get back on his feet, to have the services they need, and to have the city support that transformation, and that’s exactly what we’re gonna do here.” The 88,000 square-foot shelter is the first major shelter redevelopment project for individuals in the District under Mayor Bowser’s plan to make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring.
The shelter has 396 beds that include a low-barrier shelter, a work bed program, and beds reserved for seniors and individuals with medical needs. There is also the extra capacity to expand during hypothermia season.
Additionally, the building houses a new daytime services center, the first center east of the river. This services center includes a mailroom, computer lab, barbershop, and laundry facility. Other on-site resources include housing-focused case management, behavioral health, and harm reduction supports, and a culinary training program.
“Since launching Homeward DC, we have been on a mission to transform our homeless services system so that we can prevent a shelter experience for more people, so that we can provide safe and dignified shelter when families and individuals do need somewhere to go, and so that we can expand access to housing supports and permanent supportive housing,” said Mayor Bowser. “Today marks another milestone in this work. This new shelter recognizes that not every person’s experience with homelessness is the same and it is designed to meet men where they are when they walk through the door. I am grateful for all the teams, service providers, and residents who came together to bring the vision for this shelter to life, and together, I know we will achieve what we set out to do: make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.”
“I’m thrilled to be welcoming people into this spectacular space that offers a setting that is consistent with our values,” said Laura Zeilinger, Director of the Department of Human Services. “This new program space is designed to respect the dignity and humanity of the people we will serve here. The design elements and program requirements were centered around the expertise of the people we serve. I’m grateful to the Mayor for this tremendous investment in our homeless services continuum.”