Resolution supports the goal of the District’s Interagency Council on Homelessness to end chronic homelessness by 2020
Washington, D.C. – Today, Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) introduced a Sense of the Council Resolution supporting the District’s efforts to end chronic homelessness no later than 2020. The resolution which was jointly introduced by all 13 members of the Council, stresses the need to provide an additional 2,679 permanent supportive housing units in order to end homelessness by 2020. At the current levels that permanent supportive housing units are available, the District would not be able to end chronic homelessness until 2034.
“Last week, I had the opportunity to join the Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place for their Point in Time Count of the Homeless,” said Cheh. “And during the count, I saw a direct illustration of just how much chronic homelessness continues to be a critical moral and social problem for our city. But I was also reminded that this problem is indeed a solvable one.”
The District is home to approximately 3,000 individuals and families who will experience chronic homelessness between now and 2020. Cheh recognizes that investing in permanent supportive housing will not only solve chronic homelessness in the District, but also save the District money. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, persons who are chronically homeless have high rates of serious mental illness, substance abuse, and chronic physical illness, all of which are expensive to treat.
“The issue of chronic homelessness creates high costs for the District as homeless people cycle between the streets, shelters, emergency rooms, and jails,” said Cheh. “Investing in permanent supportive housing for persons who are chronically homeless will not only improve the health and quality of life for these individuals, but it has also been proven to save money. One report from HUD found that the cost for supportive housing is only $31 per day, compared to the cost of inpatient or emergency room care, which can range from $905 to $1,940 per day.”
Cheh, has also passed and introduced numerous legislative measures dealing with homelessness, including the Homeless LGBT Youth Amendment Act, which will increase the number of dedicated beds for homeless LGBT youth in the District and secured $50 million annually in the budget to fund efforts to end homelessness in the District once Congress approves the sales tax on internet purchases made in the District.