DC cuts ribbon on District’s 1st shelter for LGBTQ residents

DC leaders have cut the ribbon on a new homeless shelter for LGBTQ adults in the city.

The new 40-bed facility, in Ward 7’s Marshall Heights neighborhood just a few blocks off Southern Avenue, will open in the coming weeks in the hopes of helping LGBTQ adults transition into permanent housing.



“They can use the shelter as a place to deal with the emergency and then be on the pathway to safe, permanent housing, and we can begin to break those barriers,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “It is important that we break down barriers that prevent people from coming into shelter because we know … when we can get people stabilized, they will make it in permanent housing.”

Bowser said LGBTQ residents “face a range of barriers that make choosing safe housing a challenge,” the mayor added, calling the shelter “an access point and opportunity for the community.”

The new facility features a range of support services.

“Residents will be able to receive case management services, psychosocial support, GED readiness training, life skills training, substance use disorder services, help with employment, job placement, and linkages to community resources,” said Laura Zeilinger, D.C.’s Director of Human Services, “all with a goal of successful transition to housing and economic stability.”

She said targeted shelters tend to help people get past their reservations when it comes to using those kinds of services.

“Dedicated space is necessary for our community. Safety is an issue, particular in our low barrier shelter system,” said Japer Bowles, who heads the mayor’s office of LGBTQ affairs. “Hate crimes happen, discrimination happens, and we are doing everything we can to alleviate that.”

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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