The following is the text of a statement from the D.C. Department of Human Services:
Although DHS is unable to comment on a specific case, there are no circumstances whereby the Department would encourage the placement of any family or individual in an unsafe or unwelcoming environment.
DHS is entrusted with the tremendous responsibility of ensuring District residents have their most basic human needs met and access to resources that will allow them and their families to reach their full potential. This is achieved through a multi-pronged approach that includes the provision of income and nutrition supports, homeless prevention programs, permanent and emergency housing and a range of other programs and services,
DHS prioritizes prevention efforts at the forefront of its policies, while providing shelter as a safety net for those who need it, although shelter is viewed as a last resort for families. If a family is determined eligible for homeless services and has somewhere safe to stay for at least one night, the intake worker assigned to that household will refer them to the prevention staff at the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center. As a method of shelter diversion, Virginia Williams and DHS staff will often conduct mediation with relatives or friends of a family to negotiate a short-term stay with supports offered when needed. A family is never placed in a diversion arrangement without their consent.
DHS relocation protocol states that our service providers must assist a tenant in relocating to a different unit if, at any time during the participant’s time in the Rapid Re-Housing program:
- The participant needs to move as a reasonable accommodation
- The participant needs to move as a result of domestic violence; or
- The unit has substantial housing code violations which adversely impact the health or safety of the participant’s household, which the landlord fails to address after receiving notice of the housing code violation.