As DC General closes, new homeless shelter to open at 5th & Kennedy

DC's main homeless shelter, DC General, is set to close so the city can create new, smaller shelters in each Ward. Located in the Southeast, DC General has 285 rooms serving more than 700 homeless families each year. In an effort to provide smaller, safer and more dignified housing options (with the services and supports that help families get back on their feet), DC believes new shelters are needed. 

According to an info packet (pdf) about the Ward 4 location, "Experts, community leaders, and current and former residents agree that DC General is not a good place for families. It’s too big, too old and geographically removed from the services that families experiencing homelessness need to exit shelter."

In Ward 4, the new shelter will be built on a currently vacant property located at the corner of Kennedy Street at 5505 5th Street NW. Construction is slated to begin in November 2016, and completed by January 2018. The building has already been noted as a vacant and blighted property (and was featured in the Petworth News Video spotlight on David Gottfried and the Kennedy Street Development Association).

Vacant building at 5th & Kennedy St NW that will become the new Ward 4 shelter.

The facility will accommodate up to 49 families at a time and, according to DC, create a "modern, newly renovated building that will retain the look and feel of the neighborhood, the development will create ample parking for the facility’s residents. In addition to offering private rooms for families, the facility will include the following:

  • Playground & recreation space
  • Computer lab for residents
  • Ongoing support services & programming for families"

Rendering of the new shelter at 5505 5th Street & Kennedy (courtesy DC gov)

Community Meeting
If you want to weigh in with an opinion on the new location of the Ward 4 shelter, there is a community meeting on Thursday, February 11th from 6:30pm- 8pm at Paul Public Charter School (5800 8th St NW). You can RSVP online to attend.

More information on Mayor Bowser's plans to end homelessness and to open the newer, smaller shelters can be found on DC's Homeward DC website.

Here's the Mayor's PowerPoint presentation on the program, as well as a frequently-asked-questions document on the closing and next steps.