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D.C. searches for contractors to build new men’s homeless shelter on St. Elizabeths East Campus

The 375-bed project has a $33 million budget and will feature in the campus’ overall redevelopment

A rendering of the planned St. Elizabeths East Campus redevelopment
D.C. government/Ayers Saint Gross

The District government is looking for companies who could design and build a new 375-unit homeless shelter for men on the St. Elizabeths East Campus in Southeast, which is currently undergoing major redevelopment into a mixed-use community. The planned shelter would replace St. Elizabeths’ 801 East Single Men’s Shelter and has been budgeted for $33 million.

The D.C. Department of General Services (DGS) released a solicitation for the project last month. The shelter is anticipated to be about 85,000 square feet and include five primary components: employment-focused housing (100 beds), senior/medically frail housing (75 beds), a health clinic, low-barrier housing (200 beds), and a day center to provide services, including laundry, showers, haircuts, clothing, storage, computers, phones, and other uses.

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration has described the current shelter building as having “outlived its life cycle.” The facility is open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily for men 18 and older, according to service provider Catholic Charities. It lies at 2700 Martin Luther King Ave. SE.

DGS says that at the new facility, dormitories will be organized as “modular pods based on [clients’] specific needs.” “Each pod will contain standardized clusters of beds that can be assigned, and will have nearby shared support spaces such as lounges and toilet/shower facilities,” the solicitation explains, adding that the design should emphasize natural light.

On Jan. 3, the department held a pre-proposal conference that drew more than three dozen attendees. Responses to the solicitation are due on Jan. 31, with a team set to be selected by the end of February. The chosen team will have until May 6 to submit final design plans and final completion of the shelter project is expected by Jan. 13, 2021, the solicitation explains.

By that time, more than 250 mixed-income apartments are scheduled to have been built on the St. Elizabeths East Campus as part of its overall redevelopment. Last year, the 180-acre campus saw the addition of the Entertainment and Sports Arena, a concert and event venue.