D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser opened a new short-term family housing facility in the Brookland area of Northeast on Wednesday.
Bowser cut the ribbon to officially open The Sterling, located at 1700 Rhode Island Avenue in Ward 5. It is the fifth short-term family housing building in D.C.
The mayor said solving the homeless problem is an issue for the entire city.
“Families coming here are our neighbors, students, friends. They could be family members. They did not descend here, they are us,” she said. “We should make it a point that, in a city as prosperous as us, people get a second chance.”
The opening of the new housing facility comes nearly one year after the closing of the D.C. General Hospital, a mega-shelter that housed hundreds of families.
“An old hospital is not a place for families to live, especially when they are at their most vulnerable,” she said.
Since implementing the short-term housing program Bowser said family homelessness is down by 45% and overall homelessness by 22%.
The plan includes short-term family housing in each ward for families experiencing emergencies.
“If they have a safe place where they could regroup and start getting all of the things in their life in order so their children can be successful at school, they can work on health-related matters, educational matters, as well as employment, that’s what dignified housing is about,” Bowser said.
Each short-term family housing facility can house up to 50 families and has 24-hour security, a play area for children and services to help families find permanent housing.
The mayor was joined by Council member Kenyan McDuffie, who represents Ward 5; Laura Zeilinger, of the Department of Human Services; Keith Anderson, of the Department of General Services; and Henri Makembe, of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
WTOP’s Michelle Basch contributed to this report from Northeast D.C.
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