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Short-term Family Housing


The Homeless Services Reform Act (HSRA) was drafted over a decade ago and focused largely on ensuring access to shelter for persons experiencing homelessness during hypothermic weather to prevent cold weather injury and death. Since that time, there have been significant changes to federal policy (via the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing, or HEARTH, Act of 20091 ) as well as the District’s local landscape.

The Homeless Services Reform Amendment Act of 2017 modernized the law by aligning it with the strategies outlined in Homeward DC, the District’s strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, as well as federal policy and best practices. Our goal is simple: build an effective crisis response system that supports and protects the most vulnerable District residents, especially those with no safe place to sleep at night. This law makes it easier to match people with supports that are appropriate to their circumstances and needs. The bill also maintains a right to shelter for District residents during cold weather.

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In 2015, the DC Council passed legislation that provides the framework for replacing DC General with short-term family housing. The Bowser Administration’s eight-ward strategy places short-term family housing in each ward,
facilities where families can stay until they get back to a place they can call home. In October 2018, the Administration fulfilled the promise to close DC General, preceded by the opening of two short-term family housing facilities in Wards 4 and 7 with additional housing coming online in Ward 8 in November. Three additional sites in Wards 3, 5, and 6 will deliver next summer.  All replacement sites will be completed by the summer of 2020.


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