Today, DHS Director Clarence Carter sent out a statement to various homeless advocates and shelter providers. Earlier this week, Carter and Councilmember Tommy Wells sparred on just how much the homeless services budget would get cut. Many shelters are facing 30 percent cuts or worse—-closing down.

I’m not sure Carter does himself any favors with this statement. Readers: Tell me what he’s trying to say! Are there still going to be cuts? I think so. Carter does stress one priority: making sure the homeless have shelter during the hypothermia season. But he is fuzzy on what the looming cuts are going to do for family shelters or transitional housing facilities.

Read statement after the jump.


Statement from DHS Director, Clarence H. Carter, Regarding Budget for Homeless Services

October 9, 2009

The problem of homelessness in the District of Columbia is complex, and it has an impact on many individuals and families each year. The District is addressing the challenges of homelessness and has developed a continuum of care that includes outreach, mental health services, numerous shelters, and permanent housing with services. DHS is committed to assisting individuals and families experiencing homelessness through appropriate services and programs designed to bring stability to their lives and to enable them to become self-sufficient over time.

The District will fully ensure that resources are available to keep shelters open and meet the emergency needs of our homeless neighbors. DHS is committed, and has identified all the needed resources, to meet the full demand for homeless services during the hypothermia season, as outlined in the District’s 2009-2010 Winter Plan.

Due to decreased tax revenue in FY 2010, the District has to stretch its resources further across programs to maintain services.   To enable us to do this, the DHS is identifying efficiencies in operations, increasing performance based contracting, and better aligning budgets with expenditures for homeless service providers funded through the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP).   This is intended to be a collaborative, back and forth process, that will be executed to find cost savings while maintaining essential services.  Further, we are maximizing opportunities in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that will help meet the gap between the local budget and the demand for essential homeless services.

DHS has requested that TCP cap spending for the implementation of the Winter Plan at 2009 expenditure levels.  Programs that operate outside of the Winter Plan will be asked to find efficiencies over the entire contract year.   Although I expect that there will be program implications to the reduced spending on the homeless program, I anticipate that DHS will be able to leverage resources to mitigate the impact on programs and maintain our current levels of capacity throughout the 2010 fiscal year.

I look forward to continuing partnerships with our community of service providers to ensure the safety and well being of our neighbors who are homeless and maintaining momentum in the execution of programs that prevent and find solutions to homelessness.”