STATEMENT: Biden Administration’s Plan to Evict D.C. Encampment Residents Violates Federal Policy

Statement issued on behalf of The National Homelessness Law Center, A Way Home America, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), Disability Rights & Education Defense Fund, Funders Together to End Homelessness, Housing Justice Collective, Southern Poverty Law Center, The National Alliance to End Homelessness, The National Coalition for the Homeless, The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, True Colors United, Youth Collaboratory

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (May 14th, 2024)

Starting on Wednesday, May 15th, The Biden administration, through the National Park Service, in coordination with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser will begin evicting upwards of 90 homeless individuals from their communities by the end of June. Displacing people without connections to housing not only goes against the Biden Administration’s Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness but also makes homelessness worse.  

The tent communities, located in the Foggy Bottom area of Washington, D.C, are targeted for destruction on May 15th and 20th, with more raids scheduled in June. These communities are home to many people displaced by the National Park Service’s forced and traumatic raid of the encampment in McPherson Square in February 2023, which displaced nearly 50 people and where Park Police arrested two homeless military veterans. Notably, most people displaced from McPherson Square were not connected with housing or shelter that met their needs. Pushing people from site to site without addressing their needs prolongs homelessness, erodes trust in the government, and makes it harder for caseworkers to locate and connect with their clients.  

Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that closing encampments does not solve homelessness but leads to increased illness in residents and can even be deadly. Instead of perpetuating displacement and harm, we call on the Biden administration and Mayor Bowser to focus on proven solutions to homelessness, like housing. Concerningly, DC has hundreds of unused vouchers for homeless individuals and is weeks away from opening a new, non-congregate shelter in Foggy Bottom. These upcoming evictions are particularly cruel since proven solutions are already funded and ready to be used. 

During the arguments for the Johnson vs. Grants Pass case before the Supreme Court, the most important case about homelessness in 40 years, both the city of Grants Pass and the United States Solicitor General used the eviction of McPherson Square to show that the Biden administration approved of forced encampment closures. As we await a decision in this case and as homelessness increases, the Biden administration’s approach to the upcoming evictions in DC will let us know whether they stand for proven solutions to homelessness, like housing and services, or for punitive, harmful practices that make homelessness worse.  

It is not too late for the Biden and Bowser administrations to reverse course. The following organizations demand that they stop the eviction and instead focus on the proven solutions to homelessness: housing and services.

  • The National Homelessness Law Center
  • A Way Home America
  • Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
  • Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH)
  • Disability Rights & Education Defense Fund
  • Funders Together to End Homelessness
  • Housing Justice Collective
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
  • The National Alliance to End Homelessness
  • The National Coalition for the Homeless
  • The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
  • True Colors United
  • Youth Collaboratory


The National Homelessness Law Center’s vision is to cultivate a society where every person can live with dignity and enjoy their basic human rights, including the right to affordable, quality, and safe housing, and its mission is to fearlessly advance federal, state and local policies to prevent and end homelessness while fiercely defending the rights of all unhoused persons.

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