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Homeless and stuck in a D.C. motel with family

Homeless and stuck in a D.C. motel with family. (ABC7)

D.C. is right in the middle of a sweeping overhaul on how the District handles homelessness.

Its goal is to re-house families who end up on the streets in 60 days or less by the year 2020.

Investigative Reporter Scott Taylor has discovered families stuck in motels for months in an exclusive I-Team investigation.

Scott takes you inside a Motel 6 in the heart of Northeast where being homeless hits multiple families right in the face but you and I won't ever see it until now.

Ginee Stover who lives here at the motel says “I've been here for over 8 months."

610 families are currently placed at motels across the District by DC's Department of Human Services and promised permanent housing.

Jewel Stroman and her family adds “My Family and I moved in on May 19th. Going on two months now."

Lisa Hamelin and her family "I've been here 8 months."

Many families inside motels with no fridge, stove or washer and dryer. Some rooms costing taxpayers $179 a night.

Eric Herrion who lives at the motel says "Where are you supposed to store your food. Do your children supposed to eat cup of noodles every day?"

Last year the City created a new attack plan to end homelessness.

The plan claims by 2020 homelessness in the District will be a rare, brief and a non-recurring experience.

DC's Department of Human Services is helping families.

In the past 8 months, 584 families moved from motels into permanent housing and with new programs helped more than 1300 families avoid homelessness since last year.

Jewel Stroman who is stuck in a motel believes most don’t know the length of stay in motels for families in DC and adds "I think its DC's secret because I didn't know about it.”

Seven on Your Side's presence at the motel got a lighting fast response.

After Scott Taylor wrapped up his interview with the residents he was approached by a worker with the Department of Human Services and was told DHS Officials were on their way to talk to ABC7 News.

Deputy Administrator Susan Keenan from DC's Department of Human Services arrived moment later.

Taylor asked "We have residents who are telling us they have been in this motel for 8 months. Is that true?"

Keenan responded “"That may be true. We certainly have families who have multiple barriers and we have a housing shortage in the City and we are doing everything we can to move them out as quickly and effectively as we can but…"

Taylor says "8 months is not quick and 8 months is not effective."

Keenan adds "No it isn't. 8 months is definitely longer that what we strive for. We strive for less than 60 days but that doesn't always happen."

Maybe the most disturbing thing ABC7 NEWS witnessed? Children who live at the motel use the parking lot as a playground.

Jewel Stroman says "So I think basically we have been dumped here and forgotten about."

Seven on Your Side did the math. Even at the lowest motel rate of $92 a night, DC's Department of Human Services is spending $2760 a month on each family. A real home will cost tax payers $940 a month.

A difference of $1,820.

The Department of Human Services say they do not turn any homeless family away from temporary shelter.

If you would like to learn more about the District's plan to end homelessness in DC view the strategic plan here.

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