The DowntownDC BID has the only non-governmental, clinically-based outreach team for individuals experiencing homelessness in Washington, DC. Through collaboration with property managers, business community leaders, city officials, and leading service providers, the DowntownDC BID aims to decrease the number of people living on the streets and in shelters, while facilitating dialogue and building consensus on how to provide for the housing and service needs of Downtown's homeless population.
The BID's philosophy is that homeless individuals are part of the city's fabric, too. And like every other citizen--Downtown workers, residents and visitors-- we need to serve this segment of the population. We’re about finding solutions to people living on the streets. Our goal is not to maintain those who are homeless, but to provide a hand-up.
In order to facilitate overall best practices to end homelessness, the Downtown DC BID has partnered with the city government and 20 local service providers. Through our partnership with Pathways to Housing DC, the BID employs the Downtown Homeless Services Team: a four-person, clinically-based outreach team that provides street-level intervention to move individuals beyond homelessness to independence. In addition, the BID’s Safety/Hospitality and Maintenance employees (SAMs) have 12 specially-trained members, known as the Homeless Outreach Service Team (HOST), who work closely with the Downtown Homeless Services Team and are trained to recognize and engage individuals with mental and addiction challenges. Employing a housing first strategy, the goal is to provide stability through housing and wrap-around supportive services.
Two Leadership Papers, Homelessness Downtown: Moving People from the Street to Independence (October 2008) and Ending Chronic Homelessness in DC: A Unified Strategy (August 2010) provide in depth details about BID, city and national efforts to end homelessness.