§ 4–753.02. Eligibility for services within the Continuum of Care.
*NOTE: This section includes amendments by temporary legislation that will expire on December 29, 2022. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation, click this link: Permanent Version.*
(a) An individual or family is eligible to receive services within the Continuum of Care if the individual or family:
(1) Is homeless or at risk of homelessness;
(2) Is a resident of the District, as defined by § 4-751.01(32), except that low-barrier shelters and severe weather shelters operating as low-barrier shelters shall not be required to receive demonstration of residency or prioritize District residents, pursuant to subsection (b) of this section; and
(3) Meets any additional eligibility requirements that have been established pursuant to § 4-754.31 by the provider from whom services are sought.
(a-1) Notwithstanding subsection (a)(2) of this section, the Mayor may exclude certain services within the Continuum of Care from the residency requirement; provided, that the Mayor publishes which services are excluded from the requirement.
(a-2) In determining whether an applicant can demonstrate residency pursuant to § 4-751.01(32), the Department shall search Department databases and other data systems to which it has access to assist individuals and families in demonstrating residency.
(a-3) If in consideration of the relevant factors, the Department can demonstrate, by clear and convincing evidence, that an applicant is not a resident pursuant to subsection (a)(2) of this section, the Department may determine that the applicant is ineligible to receive services within the Continuum of Care.
(a-4) If the Mayor determines that an individual or family has an ownership interest in safe housing or is listed on a lease or occupancy agreement for safe housing, the Mayor may presume that the individual or family is not eligible for shelter, unless the individual or family provides credible evidence that the individual or family cannot safely inhabit the housing associated with the lease or occupancy agreement. This presumption shall not apply to individuals or families seeking shelter for reasons of domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking. Additionally, this presumption shall not affect an individual's or family's eligibility for crisis intervention services, including family mediation, conflict resolution, or other family stabilization services.
(b) No individual or family may be deemed ineligible for services solely because the individual or family cannot establish proof of homelessness or residency at the time of the individual or family’s application for assistance. The District shall give priority, however, to an individual or family who establishes proof of residency and homelessness at the time of application for assistance.
(b-1)(1)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, upon receipt of new and relevant information regarding the program eligibility of an individual or family receiving services within the Continuum of Care, the Mayor may redetermine the individual or family's program eligibility; provided, that the Mayor shall not redetermine the program eligibility of an individual or family more than once every 180 days.
(B) Without limitation, upon receipt of new and relevant information regarding program eligibility related to the age, household composition, an absence of more than 4 consecutive days without good cause (according to a standard established by the Mayor), or identification as a tenant on a residential lease or occupancy agreement of an individual or family receiving services within the Continuum of Care, the Mayor may redetermine the individual or family's program eligibility.
(2) The Mayor may not determine that an individual or family is ineligible for services within the Continuum of Care pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection if the individual or family cannot safely inhabit the housing associated with the lease or occupancy agreement that identifies the individual or family as a tenant.
(3) An individual or family shall have the right to continue their current services while the Mayor redetermines their eligibility pursuant to this subsection.
(c)(1) The Mayor shall operate at least one central intake center for families for the purposes of:
(A) Assessing the eligibility of families for services within the Continuum of Care and making appropriate referrals for those services; and
(B) Serving as a resource center for families who are seeking information about the availability of services within the Continuum of Care.
(1A) The Mayor shall operate an intake center specializing in crisis intervention services and located in close proximity to the Landlord and Tenant Branch of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
(1B) Intake workers shall provide the following for each individual seeking services:
(A) An overview of the shelter’s policies in regards to the protection of residents based upon actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity;
(B) The opportunity for the individual to disclose whether he or she requests special placement or care based on safety concerns due to actual or perceived sexual orientation status or gender identity; and
(C) The opportunity to disclose, voluntarily and only following a discussion of the shelter’s policies and accommodations for LGBTQ populations and ability to safeguard confidential information, the individual’s sexual orientation and gender identification and expression; provided, that the intake worker and all staff shall conduct this discussion in a culturally competent manner.
(2) Families who are eligible for services within the Continuum of Care shall receive appropriate referrals based on the District's centralized or coordinated assessment system protocol, consistent with any additional eligibility requirements established pursuant to § 4-754.32 by the provider from whom services are sought.
(3) Any family who is determined to be eligible for services pursuant to subsection (c)(1)(A) of this section, but who is not immediately served due to lack of capacity, shall be placed on one or more waiting lists for the services sought and shall be served in the order in which appropriate referrals become available.
(4) In determining what is an “appropriate referral,” the Mayor shall consider relevant factors, including prior receipt of services, disability, family size, affordability of housing, age, and whether an individual is an LGBTQ homeless youth, and may use these factors to prioritize a family’s placement in shelter or other service.
(5) The Mayor shall not impose or apply eligibility criteria that exclude or tend to exclude an individual with a disability or any class of individuals with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying any services within the Continuum of Care, unless such criteria are shown to be necessary for the provision of the services.
(c-1)(1) If eligibility for a family seeking shelter cannot be determined pursuant to subsection (a) of this section on the business day on which the family applies for shelter, the Mayor may place the family in an interim eligibility placement for a period not to exceed 3 days; except, that during a public emergency declared pursuant to § 7-2304, the Mayor may place the family in an interim eligibility placement for a period not to exceed 60 days.
(2) The Mayor may extend an interim eligibility placement no more than 3 times; provided, that an interim eligibility placement shall not exceed a period of 12 days, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (6) of this subsection and § 4-754.11(a)(20); except, that the Mayor may extend an interim eligibility placement to coincide with the period of a public emergency declared pursuant to § 7-2304.
(3) The Mayor shall issue an eligibility determination pursuant to subsection (a) of this section to a family placed in an interim eligibility placement within 12 days of the start of the interim eligibility placement; except, that during a public emergency declared pursuant to § 7-2304, the Mayor shall have 10 business days following the end of the public emergency to issue the eligibility determination required by this paragraph.
(4) If the Mayor does not issue an eligibility determination within 12 days of the start of an interim eligibility placement, or as otherwise required by paragraph (3) of this subsection the interim eligibility placement shall conclude and the family shall be considered eligible for shelter.
(5) If the Mayor determines that a family in an interim eligibility placement is eligible for shelter, the Mayor shall place that family in shelter, subject to the requirements of § 4-753.01(d).
(6) If the Mayor determines that a family in an interim eligibility placement is ineligible for shelter pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, because the Mayor determines that the family has access to safe housing or for another reason, the interim eligibility placement shall conclude on the date indicated in the written notice issued pursuant to § 4-754.33(b-1), unless the family has filed a timely fair hearing request pursuant to § 4-754.41.
(7) The Mayor may consider a family that was placed in an interim eligibility placement, but was determined to be ineligible for shelter because the family has access to other safe housing, for the same housing and case management services offered by the Department to family shelter residents.
(8) If the Mayor determines that a family placed in an interim eligibility placement is ineligible for shelter because the family has access to safe housing, and the family subsequently loses access to that safe housing within 14 days of the Mayor’s determination, the Mayor shall place the family in shelter if the Mayor determines that:
(A) The family is participating in prevention and diversion services; and
(B) The family has no access to other safe housing that complies with paragraph (9) of this subsection.
(9) For purposes of determining the eligibility of a family in an interim eligibility placement for shelter pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, safe housing, in addition to meeting the definition of “safe housing” set forth in § 4-751.01(32A), shall satisfy the following criteria:
(A) The family shall be expected to have access to the safe housing for at least 14 days; and
(B) To the best of the provider’s knowledge, the family’s presence in the safe housing shall not imminently jeopardize the tenancy of any household already occupying the safe housing.
(10) Other than during a hypothermia alert, no provision under this subsection shall be construed to require the Mayor to provide shelter to a family if there is no existing capacity in the shelter system or if the Department has exhausted its appropriation for family shelter services.
(d)(1) The Mayor shall operate the HMIS to collect, maintain, and distribute up-to-date information regarding the number of beds or units available in the Continuum of Care and the current usage and unmet demand for such beds and units.
(2) Intake providers shall enter the information provided pursuant to subsection (c)(1B) of this section in the computerized information system.