D.C. General shelter to close by end of 2018, Mayor Bowser says

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser plans to have it torn down, a move she's been working toward for over three years. (ABC7)

Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday that D.C. General will be closed by the end of 2018.

"It's an old hospital that is too big. It's not safe enough, and our families aren't getting the services that they need and that's what I've heard loud and clear from D.C. residents," she said.

Bowser plans to have it torn down, a move she's been working toward for over three years.

However, the families ABC7 spoke to who benefit from its services are split on the decision.

"All in all it is a good shelter. It's stable," shelter resident Franklin Turner said.

Said another resident Tanya Jenkins, "That shelter's dirty. There's an opossum in there and they ain't found him yet."

D.C. General started as a hospital decades ago. It became a shelter in 2012 and now serves more than 250 families.

Bowser's plan is to build new short-term housing shelters in all eight wards.

In the meantime, families will be placed in other shelters around the city or better.

"The plan for the homeless who are there now is that they get into permanent housing," Bowser said.

But can the city afford Bowser's plan? D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute says yes.

"The city has budgeted money both in the capital and operating budget to cover these costs and it's an investment in our families. Families experiencing homelessness,” Kate Coventry said.

Still, many homeless would rather see the building renovated then torn down.

Currently, there are new shelters being built in Wards 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. The city just acquired a property in Ward 2.

Demolition of the shelter will begin in April. The rest of the buildings will be demolished once D.C. General is completely vacant.

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