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D.C. to Open First LGBTQ+ Homeless Shelter For Adults

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at the ribbon cutting event at the LGBTQ+ Adult Shelter of Washington.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser joined community leaders to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the shelter funded by the Biden-Harris administration's American Rescue Plan Act. 

Unhoused LGBTQ+ Washingtonians will have a place to call home in Washington, D.C. after the city opens its first homeless shelter for them in August.

The LGBTQ+ Adult Shelter has 40 beds for individuals aged 25 and older and is located in southeast D.C., according to Mayor Muriel Bowser's office. Using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, the local government established and will operate the shelter.

Members of the D.C. community joined Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday to cut the ribbon on the city's first low-barrier shelter working with D.C. residents experiencing homelessness and who are LGBTQ+.

Shelter services include medical care, victims' assistance, job placement, education, housing, mental health, and substance abuse treatment.

"We are proud to cut the ribbon on a shelter that embodies our D.C. values as well as our commitment to making homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring," said Bowser in a news release. "With this new facility, we're breaking down barriers to shelter, building community, connecting residents with the trauma-informed services they need to live healthy, happy lives, and getting Washingtonians back on a path to permanent housing."

A shelter for LGBTQ+ homeless people affirms dignity, acceptance, and belonging, said Laura Green Zeilinger, director of the District's Department of Human Services. Twenty percent of LGBTQ+ people living in D.C.'s shelter system report a history of domestic violence, she explained on Thursday, DCist reports. In addition, Zeilinger added that 18 percent of the unsheltered population identify as LGBTQ+ compared to 7 percent of those who are sheltered.

"We are committed to providing safe, welcoming shelter to District residents and this program is an important milestone in the reform of our single adult shelter programs," Zeilinger said in the release. "We've put a tremendous amount of thought and intention into providing trauma-informed programs and low-barrier apartment-style shelter to LGBTQ+ adults that affirms dignity, acceptance, and belonging. I'm grateful to the LGBTQ+ community for making their voices and needs heard and I'm grateful to the Mayor for her continued investment in our homeless services continuum."

The mayor's office has reported a decline in D.C.'s homeless population for the past six years.

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