Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

DC Ends Pandemic Housing Program for Medically Vulnerable

Washington, D.C. will begin phasing out their pandemic housing program immediately for unhoused and medically vulnerable residents due to a lack of federal funding.

The Department of Human Services announced Jan. 6 that the Pandemic Emergency Program for Medically Vulnerable Individuals (PEP-V), an initiative that opened hotels exclusively for unsheltered, medically vulnerable individuals, will not be continuing. The program, which began in March 2020, helped house over 2,200 District residents experiencing homelessness, according to the D.C. government. 

At-large District Councilmember Robert White cited monetary issues as a contributing factor to the decision to gradually eliminate PEP-V housing, according to a Jan. 6 press release. 

“The Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced that it will phase out the Pandemic Emergency Program for Medically Vulnerable Individuals (PEP-V) in part due to the lapse of federal government funding to support the program,” White said in the press release.

White maintained that the DHS is committed to protecting unhoused individuals as the program ends despite the decrease in federal funding. 

One method for doing so will be the distribution of housing vouchers, according to the press release.

“In this transition, we must ensure that DC residents experiencing homelessness who are currently being housed temporarily in hotels through PEP-V have a safe and stable place to stay as the program phases out,” White said in the press release. 

Many people in PEP-V are likely eligible for housing vouchers, according to a source familiar with the subject.

Holiday Inn | D.C. will end the Pandemic Emergency Program for Medically Vulnerable Individuals (PEP-V), which has provided hotel housing throughout the pandemic, as funding dwindles.

Annemarie Cuccia (SFS ’22), accountability reporter for The DC Line and Street Sense Media, said the District has been delayed with its distribution of housing vouchers.

“Worth noting 1. because of PEP-V requirements, a lot of residents are eligible for PSH vouchers if they’ve experienced homelessness for a while and 2. it’s still taking D.C. a long time to get the people eligible for PSH vouchers into housing,” Cuccia wrote in a Tweet shared with The Hoya.

PEP-V served 488 customers and matched 249 individuals to permanent housing locations between March and October 2020. Of these 488 customers, 85% were Black or African American, and around 40% were between 60 and 69 years of age.

The program expanded to a fourth hotel as the demand for PEP-V increased, according to an email sent to community members on Apr. 2, 2021. 

The DHS also said it was grateful for its stakeholders in the email but clarified that the program would not be permanent.

“We appreciate the robust advocacy for the expansion of the PEP-V program and we are counting on members of our community to support both the successful expansion of this temporary program as well as the successful transition of individuals as we quickly prepare to phase out the program this coming fall,” the DHS said in the email.

Despite its mention of a fall 2022 phase-out of PEP-V, the DHS did not end the program until Jan. 6, 2023, for unstated reasons.

The source familiar with the subject also said that supporters of PEP-V are especially worried about how unhoused D.C. residents will get through the winter months without the shelter provided by the program. 

White emphasized that although the PEP-V program is ending, support for medically vulnerable and unhoused D.C. residents is still a priority as COVID-19 rates continue to remain high. 

“The challenge of protecting medically vulnerable unhoused residents from COVID-19 and other health risks is not going anywhere, and congregate settings are not appropriate or safe for everyone,” White said in the press release. “I’ll be conducting close oversight of this process to ensure that the city meets the needs of unhoused residents who should not be in congregate settings.”

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  • K

    Kimberly RossJan 27, 2023 at 10:33 am

    I am a disabled person and I been waiting on housing for four years .I’m with MBI services and my case worker is a piece of —-.I had Covid,Phnuemonia, and Shingles at the same time and they couldn’t find me a place to stay after I was discharge from the hospital, Nor to mention I have been on their housing list for 3 1/2 years.I would like to be safe and have roof over my head and don’t have to worry about where I’m going!
    Thank you