In spite of there being little overall change in the homeless population in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, homelessness inside the District nevertheless increased 6 percent from 2011, according to Homeless in Metropolitan Washington, a new report by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
The report was released May 9 at the monthly meeting of the council’s board of directors.
The number of formerly homeless people now in permanent supportive housing has nearly doubled over that period, growing from 4,395 in 2008 to 8,657 in 2012.
“This increase has enabled us to keep the overall number of homeless people from substantially increasing in metropolitan Washington,” Michael Ferrell, executive director of the D.C. Coalition for the Homeless and Chair of COG’s Homeless Services Planning and Coordinating Committee said in a statement.
Yet, while the data indicate the numbers have been fairly steady in the region, the District is facing a shortfall of $7 million in services for the homeless after a loss in federal funding, according to The Washington Post.
In addition, the city’s family shelter is filled to the brim and about 100 families currently are living in motels at a cost to the city of about $100 a night.
The annual count is conducted by area governments and homeless service providers as part of an ongoing effort to monitor and report on the number of people found on the streets, in emergency shelters, in transitional and permanent supportive housing, or otherwise homeless and in need of a safe shelter.
Data from the count found that the changes among jurisdictions from 2011 to 2012 ranged from a 17 percent decrease in homeless persons in Prince George’s and Prince William Counties to a five and six percent increase in Loudoun County and the District of Columbia, respectively. The report also shows that 40 percent of all homeless adults in families and 17 percent of homeless single individuals are employed.
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