Homeless D.C. families must get apartment-style shelter, judge says

WASHINGTON (AP) - A D.C. Superior Court judge says city officials must stop housing poor families on cots in recreation centers on freezing nights, saying the communal sleeping quarters appear to deny the families their right to privacy and security under city law.

The Washington Post reports Judge Robert Okun on Monday granted a temporary injunction that forces the city to stop using the recreation centers while a lawsuit against the city over the accommodations plays out.

City law requires officials to house homeless families when the temperature drops below freezing.

D.C. government officials on Tuesday said they disagree.

“Unfortunately, we think the judge is simply wrong," said city spokesperson Dora Taylor. "The law does not require the District to provide apartment-style shelter or private rooms as defined by Plaintiffs during hypothermic conditions."

"Certainly we strive to provide the best possible environment for families - as evidenced by the approximately 800 or more families that we have placed at our apartment style shelters, the private rooms at the DC General family shelter, and over 470 hotel rooms, until we exhausted all of these shelter and hotel rooms available to us," Taylor continued.

Okun rejected the city's argument that finding private sleeping quarters for homeless families is a financial burden. The city plans an appeal.