DC councilmember to introduce legislation aiming to close DC Gen - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DC councilmember to introduce legislation aiming to close DC General homeless shelter

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City officials are responding to a report by FOX 5 on the D.C. General homeless shelter in Southeast D.C. It is home to more than 300 adults and 521 children.

FOX 5 exposed the situation outside at night. Our cameras captured video of young children playing and riding bikes without helmets until nearly two in the morning on a weeknight. Inside the shelter, residents are dealing with rodent-infested rooms and moldy food.

Ward 1 D.C. Councilman Jim Graham, chair of the Human Services Committee, says he will introduce legislation next week with hopes of shutting down D.C. General by the end of the year.

"This is no place to raise a child, absolutely not," he says.

Graham says he will push to close the facility.

"After we have very deliberate steps that assure we have quality housing to replace it, says Graham.

He is hoping to see it done by the end of the year.

Dora Taylor, spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services, released the following statement:

“The conduct exhibited by DC General residents in the Fox 5 piece is deeply disturbing - especially parents allowing children to stay up far past a child's reasonable bedtime. We will direct the non-profit contractor who manages the shelter to review its policies regarding residents' behavior and strengthen how they are being enforced.”

“At the same time, we have always been clear: an emergency shelter is no place to raise a child. The Gray Administration has launched an ambitious plan to move families from shelter to stable, long-term housing and has begun the work necessary to close DC General. Both efforts are making progress but will take time.”

“Finally, it is important to note that 85% of District homeless families who try Rapid Re-Housing do not return to shelter.”

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