WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, the Bowser Administration launched the District’s first-ever Transitional Residential Program that combines employment and housing services and cut the ribbon on the program’s first site in Ward 5 (1210 Simms Place, NE). The Transitional Residential Program was created to provide transitional housing opportunities to District residents who have participated in Career Connections, Project Empowerment, or Aspire to Entrepreneurship and are employed in full-time unsubsidized jobs or earning a sustainable wage through a small business venture. To ensure participants create and maintain savings, they are required to deposit 25 percent of their bi-weekly earnings into an escrow account.
“These are the types of programs that build pathways to the middle class for District residents,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know that getting back on your feet involves more than just finding a job or securing housing – it all needs to happen together. By providing participants with an opportunity to grow their savings while focusing on their future, we’re providing much-needed support to some of our city’s most vulnerable residents.”
Residents selected for the program, which focuses specifically on single adults, face multiple barriers to employment including: previous incarceration, substance abuse history, homelessness, educational deficits, and family disconnection. The new facility will accommodate a minimum of four men and women for up to six months. When participants exit the program, all funds deposited into the escrow account will be returned. Echelon Community Services, Inc. was chosen through the competitive bid process and awarded a $250,000 grant to launch the first transitional residential housing location.
“Too many of our long-term unemployed residents have been locked out of economic prosperity in the District. That is why the Bowser Administration is committed to tackling the issues that impact our resident’s employment outcomes head-on, including lack of affordable and sustainable housing. Pioneering programs like the Transitional Housing Program are at the core of efforts to expand economic opportunity in DC,” said Deputy Mayor Courtney R. Snowden.
“We are connecting residents to services and gainful employment that will lead to long-term self-sufficiency. Through partnerships with other agencies and organizations we are able to address one of the biggest barriers to employment in the District – housing,” said Department of Employment Services Director Odie Donald II.
The Transitional Residential Program initiative supports Homeward DC, Mayor Bowser’s strategic plan to reform the District’s homeless services system and make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring. Between 2016 and 2017, after the first full year of implementing Homeward DC, the District saw a 10.5 percent reduction in overall homelessness, a 22 percent reduction in homelessness among families, a 15 percent reduction among veterans experiencing homelessness, and a three percent reduction among individuals experiencing homelessness. Today’s opening also aligns with Mayor Bowser’s Home for the Holidays campaign that places 400 of the city’s most vulnerable individuals and families in stable housing during the holiday season.
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