Action Center
FY20 budget increases funds to end chronic homelessness, falls far short of need
April 12, 2019 by Jesse Rabinowitz

On March 20th, Mayor Bowser released her proposed budget for fiscal year 2020, outlining her spending priorities for the coming year. DC’s budget is a moral document that determines exactly how many people will move from the streets to safety, from tents to apartments and from shelter to housing. While a step in the right direction, the Mayor’s budget proposal does not do enough to end chronic homelessness. We need your advocacy to ensure the DC Council expands on the Mayor’s budget and ends chronic homelessness for an additional 795 of our neighbors.


Despite a government shutdown that cost the District over $47 million, the Mayor’s budget proposal includes $15.5 million in investments to end chronic homelessness for 345 individuals and 180 families.

We commend the Mayor for expanding investments in Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), a proven and life-saving intervention for individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness. We are also encouraged to see the expansion of Project Reconnect, a program that helps individuals who have just lost their housing to quickly exit homelessness. Together, these investments will have life changing impacts for individuals and families who urgently need safe, stable housing. We also applaud Mayor Bowser for making the difficult choice to increase taxes to fund vital housing programs, an important step towards ensuring that DC’s growing prosperity is distributed equitably.

However, the proposed budget does not go far enough to meet DC’s commitment to ending chronic homelessness. Mayor Bowser’s proposed housing investments meet just 40% of The Way Home Campaign’s recommended investments to end chronic homelessness and just 25% of the overall need. [i]

The chart below compares the Mayor’s FY2020 proposed investments to The Way Home Campaign’s recommended funding amounts (hereafter referred to as “TWHC Recommendation”) as well as the overall need for each housing intervention.


Chart, waterfall chart

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Another concern is that the Mayor’s budget misses an opportunity to fill the local funding gap for homeless street outreach.

Recently Mayor Bowser said, "in a city as prosperous as ours, we can do better by our homeless neighbors." We agree and need your help to realize our shared dream of ending chronic homelessness

Nearly 7,000 people are experiencing homelessness in our Nation’s Capital and over 70% of them are people of color. To realize a city where everyone has a fair shot, we must invest more aggressively in housing resources and more boldly in addressing root causes of homelessness that are disproportionately impacting our black and brown neighbors.

We urge the DC Council to preserve Mayor Bowser’s proposed investments in ending chronic homelessness and to fill critical gaps. Specifically, we call on the DC Council to:

  • INCREASE funding by $20.76 million to end chronic homelessness for 795 individuals
  • INVEST $3.5 million for a homeless street outreach network.


For a deeper analysis of the Mayor’s budget proposal, including additional recommendations for the DC Council, please click here.

[i] According to recent data collected through the Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement (CAHP) system, there are over 4,160 individuals currently experiencing (chronic AND non-chronic) homelessness in the District.  Of this amount we estimate that 1,644 individuals need PSH and 307 need TAH. The Way Home Campaign requested that Mayor Bowser fund 60% of the need in FY20, or 986 PSH units and 154 TAH units for individuals. See Table 2 for details.

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