WASHINGTON (WDVM) — D.C.’s first major shelter redevelopment under a new plan opened its doors on Monday.

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.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of General Services (DGS) at the new 801 East Men’s Shelter on the St. Elizabeths East campus in Ward 8.

Mayor Bowser has been working on Homeward D.C., the plan to “make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring.”

“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,” Mayor Bowser said in a release.

“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.” 

The new shelter cost $56 million and covers 88,000 square feet. The shelter offers 396 beds and a work bed program and beds reserved for seniors and anyone with medical needs as well as the ability to expand during colder seasons.