§ 4–753.01. Continuum of Care for individuals and families who are homeless.
*NOTE: This section includes amendments by temporary legislation that will expire on August 3, 2023. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation, click this link: Permanent Version.*
*NOTE: This section includes amendments by emergency legislation that will expire on July 23, 2023. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation, click this link: Permanent Version.*
(a) The District’s provision of homeless services shall be based on a Continuum of Care that offers a comprehensive range of services through various member agencies and is designed to meet the specific, assessed needs of individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The District shall respond to the changing needs of individuals and families by ensuring that transfer between and among services within the Continuum of Care is fluid and allows clients to modify the intensity of services they receive to meet their needs, preferences, and changing circumstances.
(b) The Continuum of Care may include the following range of services:
(1) Crisis intervention for the purpose of preventing homelessness by enabling individuals and families at risk of homelessness to remain in or access permanent housing; provided, that the Mayor shall not offer crisis intervention services authorized by this paragraph until the Chief Financial Officer has certified the availability of fiscal year 2006 funding pursuant to section 1016(5) of D.C. Law 16-33;
(2) Outreach and assessment, including the operation of a hotline, for the purpose of identifying the housing and supportive service needs of individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and linking them to appropriate services;
(3) Shelter to meet the emergency housing needs of individuals and families who are homeless through the provision of:
(A) Severe weather shelter for the purpose of protecting lives in extreme hot and cold weather;
(B) Low barrier shelter for individuals for the purpose of sheltering and engaging individuals who avoid temporary shelter because of identification, time limit, or other program requirements;
(C) Temporary shelter for individuals and families for the purpose of meeting short-term housing needs and other supportive service needs; and
(D) Transitional housing for the purpose of providing eligible individuals and families who are homeless with up to 24 months of assistance to prepare them for self-sufficient living in permanent housing.[;]
(4) Programs, which may be of short-term or long-term duration, to assist individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to obtain and maintain permanent housing, and may include:
(A) Permanent supportive housing for the purpose of providing eligible individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness or at risk of experiencing chronic homelessness, with ongoing housing and supportive service; or
(B) Rapid Re-Housing programs for the purpose of providing housing relocation and stabilization services and time-limited rental assistance to help a homeless individual or family move as quickly as possible into permanent housing and achieve stability in that housing.
(5) Supportive services for the purpose of providing individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with services that address their housing, employment, physical health, mental health, alcohol and other substance abuse recovery, child care, case management, transportation, and other health and social service needs which, if unmet, may be barriers to obtaining or maintaining permanent housing. These services may, but need not, be delivered through day programs, drop-in centers, shelters, and transitional and permanent supportive housing providers, or through referrals to other appropriate service providers; and
(6) Services designed to alleviate the high risk of homelessness faced by LGBTQ youth.
(c)(1) Whenever the actual or forecasted temperature, including the wind chill factor, falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or whenever the actual or forecasted temperature or heat index rises above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the District shall make available appropriate space in District of Columbia public or private buildings and facilities for any resident of the District who is homeless and cannot access other housing arrangements. The District may make such space available for any person who is not a resident of the District, is homeless, and cannot access other housing arrangements; provided, that the District shall give priority to residents of the District.
(2) In making appropriate space available in District of Columbia public or private buildings and facilities, the District shall not use District of Columbia Public Schools buildings currently being used for educational purposes without the prior approval of the Mayor.
(3)(A) Low-barrier shelters and severe weather shelters operating as low-barrier shelters shall not be required to receive demonstration of residency or prioritize District residents.
(B) The Mayor shall determine that a person seeking shelter by reason of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, refugee status, or asylum, is a resident of the District without receiving demonstration of District residency in accordance with § 4-751.01(32), except if the Mayor can demonstrate that a person seeking asylum is eligible for and will receive shelter under Chapter 7C of this title, or any subsequently enacted act substantially similar to Chapter 7C of this title, the Mayor may direct that person to the Office of Migrant Services to obtain shelter.
(4) For the purposes of this subsection the term “cannot access other housing arrangements” means that the homeless person is living in a place not intended as a residence, such as outdoors, in a vehicle, or in a condemned or abandoned building or is living in a situation that is dangerous to the health or safety of the person or of any family member.
(d)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, when the Mayor places a family in shelter pursuant to this act, the shelter shall be one or more apartment-style units, or one or more DC General Family Shelter replacement units.
(2) If an apartment-style unit or a DC General Family Shelter replacement unit is not available when the Mayor places a family in shelter pursuant to this chapter, the Mayor may place that family in one or more private rooms that are not apartment-style units or DC General Family Shelter replacement units.
(3) Buildings composed of DC General Family Shelter replacement units shall include, at minimum:
(A) A private bathroom, including a toilet, sink, and bathtub or shower, in at least 10% of the DC General Family Shelter replacement units;
(B) For every 2 DC General Family Shelter replacement units, one private, lockable bathroom that includes a toilet, sink, and bathtub shall be accessible to all residents.
(4) The Mayor shall maintain within the District’s shelter inventory a minimum of 121 apartment-style units.
(5) Once constructed, the Mayor shall maintain within the District’s shelter inventory a minimum of 270 DC General Family Shelter replacement units.
(e) Pursuant to § 4-756.02, the Mayor shall issue rules on the administration of emergency assistance grants offered as crisis intervention services to individuals and families in need of cash assistance for mortgage, rent, or utility bills in arrears or for a security deposit or first month’s rent.
(f)(1) The Mayor may require clients to establish and contribute to a savings or escrow account, or other similar savings arrangement. The savings or escrow arrangement shall be customized to each client so as not to jeopardize another benefit program and to allow for reasonable and necessary expenses.
(2) A client shall not be terminated for failing to contribute to a savings or escrow account or similar savings arrangement; provided, that other sanctions may be imposed as provided by rule.
(3) Pursuant to § 4-756.02, the Mayor shall issue rules on the establishment of any mandatory savings or escrow accounts, or other similar savings arrangements, authorized by this section. The rules shall provide exceptions to the requirement for mandatory savings or escrow accounts, or other similar savings arrangements.
(g) The annual Point-in-Time survey conducted pursuant to regulations of the Department of Housing and Urban Development shall include data collection regarding the sexual orientation and gender identity of each individual counted, subject to the individual’s discretion to decline to provide that information.
(i) No later than 180 days after February 26, 2015, and annually thereafter, the Department of Human Services, in coordination with the Interagency Council, shall conduct a youth census, separate from the annual Point-in-Time survey, to determine the needed scale and scope of a comprehensive program to end youth homelessness in the District. The youth census shall:
(1) Count all children and youth under 18 years of age who are living apart from a parent or guardian, excluding those who are in the physical custody of the District, and all youth between the ages of 18 and 24 years of age who are economically or emotionally detached from their families and lack an adequate or fixed residence, including children and youth who are unstably housed, living in doubled up circumstances, in transitional housing, in shelter, or on the street;
(2) For each child or youth counted, record basic demographic information including age, race, and gender identification, the location where the child or youth stayed the night before the count, the child or youth’s education and employment status, and membership in pertinent subgroups based on sexual orientation, gender orientation, pregnancy or parenting status, or involvement in the foster care or juvenile or adult criminal justice systems;
(3) Identify patterns in responses describing factors leading to homelessness;
(4) Identify patterns in responses describing services used and gaps in service;
(5) Be conducted over a period of at least one week, controlling for duplication by assigning each child or youth a unique identifier; and
(6) Include multiple strategies and entry points to identify homeless children and youth.