Action Center
The Way Home Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Recommendations
March 14, 2023 by Jesse Rabinowitz

The Way Home Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Recommendations  

Mayor Bowser releases her proposed budget on March 22nd!  

We are hard at work to ensure this nearly $20 billion budget keeps DC on track towards our shared goal of ending chronic homelessness – and we need your help! 

Click here to take action in support of our budget recommendations.  

To learn more about how Mayor Bowser should use her budget to end chronic homelessness, check out The Way Home’s budget recommendations for fiscal year 2024 below. 

For a shorter read, click here to view our top line asks.  

 1. Invest $55.5 million to expand Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)!   

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is a proven solution to chronic homelessness, which is why every year, it is central to The Way Home Campaign’s budget advocacy. This year is no different. While we have celebrated historic investments in PSH over the past two fiscal years, more resources are needed.  

What is PSH?   

PSH ends chronic homelessness by pairing permanent rental assistance with wrap around case management services. It is a lifesaving intervention and is specifically tailored to those who need services in order to access housing and who need stable housing in order to access services. Over 95% of people in PSH remain housed after their 1st year and, thanks to the stability of a home and the services provided, individuals see great increases in their health and well-being. PSH saves lives and ends homelessness by providing recipients with safe, stable housing and supportive services that meet their needs.   

Homeward DC 2.0, DC’s strategic plan to end homelessness, calls for 1,260 units of PSH (costing $36.6 million) for single adults in Fiscal Year 24.  

The Way Home Campaign calls on Mayor Bowser to invest this amount already outlined in her strategic plan plus an additional $18.87 million for 480 units of PSH for families.   

What about the slow implementation of FY22 and FY23 resources?   

It’s true that DC has struggled to implement the historic funding we’ve won for PSH over the past two fiscal years. However, we believe DC can implement existing vouchers while further growing this vital program. The current delays, while concerning, are also solvable and we will continue to call on the administration to translate these resources into housing solutions as quickly as possible. We should not hold off on expanding the PSH program - something that will adversely impact our neighbors - simply because we are having trouble growing our program to scale. Especially when we have solutions for addressing delays right at our fingertips. Instead, we must work with urgency, creativity, and collaboration to address implementation obstacles head on.    

2. Ensure continued access to non-congregate shelter and housing options  

Hotel rooms, like PEP-V and other forms of non-crowded shelter, allow people to stabilize, access case management, and rest while they await permanent housing. Right now, DC is set to lose hundreds of non-congregate shelter beds, which have been a lifeline for people experiencing housing instability during the pandemic.    

Mayor Bowser’s budget must ensure that non-congregate shelter and bridge housing, two forms of more dignified and service-rich shelter, are locally funded and expanded. While we have heard some rumors that DC is exploring purchasing buildings for non-congregate shelter, we need to keep the pressure up. Additionally, we encourage DC to hit pause on renovating existing congregate shelters and to instead turn them into non-congregate options.   

Arduous program rules and barriers that limit people’s autonomy, such as curfews and bag-limits, are frequent concerns expressed by our unhoused neighbors. DC must not only create non-congregate shelter, but also ensure that it is accessible and low-barrier.  

3. Invest at least $4.5 million to prevent chronic homelessness  

DC can’t end chronic homelessness until we prevent people from entering chronic homelessness in the first place. Preventing homelessness decreases trauma and saves tax-payer dollars. Unfortunately, DC has not adequately invested in homeless prevention, especially for single adults.  

The Way Home Campaign calls on Mayor Bowser to invest at least $4.5 million to fund:    

  • Project Reconnect, DC’s homeless prevention program for single adults    
  • $2.5 million for 100 additional slots for Rapid Rehousing for single adults. This must be accompanied by program rules.   
  • $1 million for DC Flex, a shallow rental subsidy that was supposed to expand to single adults but was never used  


4. Ensure that DHS and housing providers have the capacity needed to implement new and existing PSH vouchers   

Despite historic investments to end chronic homelessness over the past two fiscal years, only 18% of these locally funded vouchers have been used. DC has the resources to end chronic homelessness for 2,000 more individuals, but we must act with urgency to make it happen.   

 To speed up implementation, Mayor Bowser’s budget must:   

  • Continue funding for DC’s coordinated network of homeless street outreach  
  • Create a flexible funding program to cover one-time move-in expenses (such as storage, moving trucks, home goods, furniture, fees, etc.)  
  • Ensure DHS has direct HR and hiring capabilities, which it currently lacks   
  • Provide DHS with the staffing needed, especially in middle management, Human Resources, administrative support, and analysts focused on data, policy, and evaluation 
  • Ensure PSH providers have the resources they need to recruit and retain needed staff  

5. Transform DC’s antiquated shelter system   

Ending homelessness requires building a world where we both prevent homelessness and ensure everybody experiencing homelessness can access housing that meets their needs. Until we get there, shelters will remain a crucial component of our homeless response system. However, DC’s shelters are in desperate need of modernization - both in terms of their physical conditions, layout, services, and program rules. The pandemic galvanized support to transition away from crowded shelters and the mayor’s budget must ensure that DC continues down this path.    

On any given night, over 1,300 of our neighbors sleep in DC’s crowded congregate shelters. Sleeping in a room with dozens of other people in bunk beds does not promote rest or healing nor is it conducive to accessing housing services. DC’s continued reliance on large, crowded congregate shelters for single adults does not further our shared goal of ending homelessness. Mayor Bowser must use her budget to chart a new path forward.   

DC Shelters come with a complex maze of burdensome rules and barriers. For example, there are no shelter options in which heterosexual couples can stay together, where you can bring a non-service animal pet, or that are without rules that limit autonomy, such as curfews and limits on the number of times you can enter and exit the shelter each night.   

To address these concerns, we call on Mayor Bowser to use her budget to:  

  • Keep shelters open 24 hours a day and include high quality, healthy meals  
  • Modernize shelters by creating non-congregate living options   
  • Reduce or eliminate barriers to shelter   
  • Increase case management ratios, with a focus on housing services 
  • Operate at least 150 medical respite beds  
  • Ensure that people living outside and in shelters have access to storage  
  • Create two 24/7 harm reduction centers that include safe consumption spaces, that will serve all people, including people experiencing homelessness, as recommended by the #DecrimPovertyDC Coalition    


6. Address DC’s dire lack of low-income housing  

The rent in DC is exorbitantly high and the dire lack of housing accessible to people living on lower incomes cases homelessness. The immense need for housing assistance is underscored by DC’s recent announcement that they are running out of money for, and are therefore closing, applications to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), DC’s largest tool for eviction preventionAddressing DC’s affordable housing crisis is critical to reaching the city’s shared vision of housing justice.   

We are asking Mayor Bowser to use her budget to:    

  • Increase funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) in an FY 23 supplemental budget and in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget 
  • Increase supply of Tenant Based Local Rent Supplement vouchers (including Targeted Affordable Housing),   
  • Produce extremely low-income housing by increasing funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) with at least 50% of this fund building housing for those living at 0-30% of the Area Median Income (AMI), and;  
  • Repair public housing to ensure all public housing units are habitable and occupied  
0 0
Please do not close this window. You will need to come back to this window to enter your code.
We just sent an email to ... containing a verification code.

If you do not see the email within the next five minutes, please ensure you entered the correct email address and check your spam/junk mail folder.
Share with Friends
Or copy the link below to share this blog post on your personal website
Please wait...
Leave a Comment
comment(s) awaiting approval
Remaining: 2000
Posting as (email will not be displayed) Edit
Your Information


2401 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037