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Emergency Shelter for Families in D.C.


  What services does the District of Columbia government provide for its homeless population?

The District government's shelter program for both single individuals and families is currently administered by the non-profit, Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (the "Partnership"). Since 1994, the Partnership has attempted to develop a continuum of care model, providing emergency, transitional and permanent housing with support services for homeless people in the District. Unfortunately, however, the system is completely overburdened at all points and getting into many of the programs can be difficult.

What are the Partnership funded shelters for families like?

By law, families must be placed in apartment-style units with a bathroom and cooking facilities for each family. In emergencies, families may be placed in a group shelter facility where rooms and bathrooms are shared with other families and meals are provided.

How do I get into a Partnership funded shelter if I have children with me?

The only way that families can become eligible for Partnership-funded shelter is to apply in person at the Family Resource Center at 25 M Street, SW, (202) 863-1370. A referral from the Family Resource Center is the only way to obtain a Partnership-funded emergency shelter slot.

Is my family eligible for emergency shelter?

In order to be eligible for Partnership-funded shelter, your family must have no legal right to stay in any housing and no other alternative living arrangements. You also must lack the financial ability to get housing. This means you must have less than $100.00 and have no valid credit cards.

Do I have to show any documents to be eligible?

You may be asked to provide proof that you meet the eligibility requirements. You should not be required to provide documentation that is not "reasonably available" to you and, if space is available, you should be permitted to enter shelter before you provide all the necessary proof of eligibility.

What if I am turned down?

You must be given a written notice explaining why you were turned down and how you can appeal that decision.

How soon will I be placed in shelter if I am eligible?

Most families that apply for shelter are placed on a waiting list. The wait is typically as long as 6 months. You must keep in touch with the Family Resource Center while you wait or you may be removed from the list.

How long can I stay in a family shelter?

The goal is for your family to stay in shelter for 90 days or less. However, if you are following all the rules, you cannot be asked to leave, even after 90 days, until you have been offered two permanent housing opportunities.

Are there any guidelines that I must follow to keep receiving shelter and services?

Yes, there are rules you must follow in order to continue staying at the shelter and receiving services. You should be given a copy of these rules and they should be posted on a bulletin board or somewhere else where you can easily see them.

What if I am asked to leave the shelter?  Do I have any rights?

Before you can be asked to leave a Partnership funded shelter, you must be given a written notice that explains why you are being asked to leave and your appeal rights. If you appeal within ten (10) days of the date of that notice, you must be allowed to stay at the shelter until your appeal is decided.

Can I get help with my appeal?

The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless may be able to help you with an appeal of denial or termination of emergency shelter. Call (202) 328-5500 for more information.

What laws govern Partnership funded shelters? 

The statutes are at D.C. Code §§4-701 - 4-714 and D.C. Code §4-206.03. The regulations are at District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (D.C.M.R.) Title 29, Chapter 25.

Last Review and Update: Nov 10, 2004
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