Action Center
What will it take to end chronic homelessness?
September 25, 2014 by The Way Home

Cities across the country are getting closer to ending chronic homelessness – and those that are leading the way have identified key strategies to accelerate progress.  D.C. is on track to end veteran homelessness by 2015.  If these proven best practices are adopted, D.C. can end chronic homelessness.1


  1. Leverage new and existing resources to create enough Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) to meet the need
    • The D.C. Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) estimates that the District needs 2,679 units of PSH to end chronic homelessness for individuals and families. This plan requires a one-time cost of $188 million as well as $53 million in ongoing costs for housing subsidies and supportive services.
    • PSH is more cost-effective than allowing someone to remain homeless.  There are multiple opportunities to leverage mainstream resources like Medicaid, use existing resources better, and explore resources from the private sector to meet this goal.
  2. Implement Housing First system-wide
    • Research shows that PSH using the Housing First model is the best way to end chronic homelessness.  D.C. has taken important strides in this direction, but still has a long way to go to implement this approach system-wide.
  3. Expand and strengthen D.C.’s Coordinated Entry and Housing Placement System
    • In order to end chronic homelessness, we need a system by which all service providers can identify individuals experiencing homelessness, assess the types of housing and services needed by each, and then prioritize housing and services to the most vulnerable first.
  4. Increase leadership and support from our entire community
    • Our entire community – individuals, nonprofits, businesses, faith groups, government, and the philanthropic sector – has an essential role in contributing resources and momentum to ending chronic homelessness.
    • Specifically, we must build on the momentum created by the appointment of an ICH Director, by ensuring that she has the staff and resources to effectively coordinate the efforts of D.C. government agencies, service providers, and advocates to end all homelessness in the District.


Note: Some of the recommendations in this document have been adapted from the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a national, time-bound movement of communities working together to find permanent homes for 100,000 of the country’s most vulnerable homeless individuals and families between 2010 and 2014. For more information, visit

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