Home for the Holidays campaign works to get homeless residents off the street in time for the holiday season

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Nov. 1 kicks off the fifth annual Home for the Holidays campaign in the District of Columbia. The initiative, managed by the Department of Human Services (DHS) in partnership with Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, works to transition residents experiencing homelessness into long-term housing.

Each year, the District sets a goal for how many families and individuals they would like to place. For 2021-2022, the goal is to fill 1,250 housing units. The campaign runs through February 2022.

“While the goal of this campaign is to move neighbors into permanent housing during the holiday season, the effects are much more long-lasting,” said Mayor Bowser. “Through Home for the Holidays, we have an opportunity to work together as a community to change people’s entire lives. We are incredibly grateful for the housing providers who have already stepped up to work with us. Now, we’re asking every housing provider in the city to look at their inventory and reach out to DHS to learn how they can play a role in providing Washingtonians a home for the holidays.” 

Since the initiative was launched, more than 1,500 total households have moved into permanent housing. The District is hoping that local housing providers can help identify about 2,500 apartment units in the next three months to place homeless residents in.

There are an unprecedented number of resources that will help residents match with services and housing subsidies. Still, the need of affordable, available units remains.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left us with a more profound appreciation for the fact that having a home is essential for health and well-being. We have dedicated additional resources which will mean over  2,500 residents who have been experiencing chronic homelessness can attain a safe and stable home of their own,” said DHS Director Laura Green Zeilinger. “We are thrilled that this year’s budget presents a historic opportunity to dramatically reduce the homelessness crisis in our community. We are eager to expand partnerships with existing and new housing providers to realize the transformational effect of housing for our neighbors and community.” 

Residents who have new or gently used items to donate, or housing providers who are interested in partnering with the District are encouraged to reach out to DHS at ahomefortheholidays@dc.gov. 

According to the 2021 D.C. Point-in-Time Count, homelessness in D.C. has decreased by 20% over the past year.

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