Playtime recently learned that the D.C. Department of Human Services (DHS) will be ending its contract at the end of this month with the Days Inn on New York Avenue as an emergency overflow shelter for families.
As you know, Playtime has provided play programming to the families at the Days Inn shelter since September 2018. Over the past five months, we have been able to support children and families there with Playtime to Go kits, emergency supplies, and social services aid. We will continue to provide assistance to families during these last three weeks.
We are deeply grateful to our volunteers who made an enormous, positive impact on the lives of so many children at Days Inn. We applaud their ongoing dedication to Playtime during the lockdown and social distancing and look forward to their support as we evolve to serve children in need across the city.
DHS says families currently in the Days Inn shelter will transfer to one of the new short-term family housing facilities, a rapid-rehousing apartment, or transitional housing program.
So what does this mean for Playtime? This is our fourth imposed program closure in two years, including D.C. General family shelter, Hotel Arboretum, and Quality Inn. Each closure takes an enormous toll on families, partner staff, committed volunteers, and Playtime staff, who all invest so much in the children, the families, and the creative program planning at each site. As these site partnerships end, there is always a sense of deep loss for the precious bonds we’ve created. But Playtime is nothing if not resilient.
We continue to serve three other shelters: My Sister’s Place, Turning Point and DASH (District Alliance for Safe Housing), and we are nearing agreements to expand to the city’s short-term family housing facilities in Ward 3 and Ward 8. We continue to explore opportunities for Playtime to make an impact on families experiencing homelessness throughout D.C., and this pandemic has opened a way for us to ensure children benefit from the power of play through our play kits, online programming, and emergency assistance.
Seventeen years of experience and our thorough strategic planning have given us the flexibility to respond to the ever-changing landscape of homelessness. With your ongoing support, we will continue to ensure children living in shelters get equal access to play and child-focused services that are more important now than ever before.