Homeless families in the District will likely have to take additional steps to prove they’re eligible for shelter on freezing winter nights after the D.C. Council on Tuesday approved sweeping changes to the laws that govern homeless services in the nation’s capital.
The legislation’s backers — including Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who originally proposed the changes — say the new eligibility requirements are needed to make sure the city’s overburdened shelter system is used by those who need it most.
But some advocates for the homeless say the rules — which, among other things, require that those who live on the streets provide detailed documentation that they were District residents before becoming homeless and that they have no other safe housing options — will lead to many being turned away with nowhere to go.
The mayor praised the council’s action in a statement Tuesday.
“As we continue to produce and preserve affordable housing across all eight wards, this legislation will ensure that our most vulnerable residents are always first in line for the resources and support they need to get back on their feet,” Bowser said.
Officials said it is unlikely that the new rules will be in place for this winter, when demand for shelter peaks.