In DC there are currently 7,298 persons experiencing homelessness, including 2,049 children.
The number of persons in homeless families in DC increased by 29% between 2011 and 2015.
Homelessness can happen to anyone. Each person is unique and their stories attest to that.
From SOME’s viewpoint, the first thing a homeless person needs is to be treated with respect and dignity.
Homelessness is defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as the following:
- Individuals and families who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence;
- Individuals and families who will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence;
- Unaccompanied youth [under age 25] and families with children and youth who are defined as homeless under certain other federal statutes who do not otherwise qualify as homeless under this group of four definitions; and
- Individuals and families who are fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or other dangerous or life-threatening conditions that relate to violence against the individual or a family member.
People can become homeless for many reasons, some of which are due to a systemic issue out of the individual’s control. For example, affordable housing is the one of the leading causes of homelessness. In only a decade (2000-2010), the number of units renting at less than $750 per month fell nearly in half. Now, for a person on minimum wage to afford a one bedroom apartment at the fair market rate, they’d have to work at least 97 hours per week.
According to the latest Point-in-Time Count of Homeless Persons, homeless adults had the following characteristics:
- 16.9% reported domestic violence history
- 17.4% had a physical disability
- 8.5% had limited English proficiency
- 20.4% had a severe mental illness
- 19.2% reported chronic substance abuse
- 10.7% reported both chronic substance abuse and severe mental illness
Call to Action
SOME and our community partners advocate for funding that will prevent and end homelessness by increasing:
- The availability of affordable housing for very low-income individuals and families.
- Mental health services available to low-income residents.
- Cash assistance provided under the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program and IDA (Interim disability Assistance) program
We also collaborate to improve protections and services for homeless people, including:
- Procedures to ensure that homeless residents have shelter on extremely hot and cold days.
- Discharge planning protocols for public institutions like hospitals and prisons.
Please help us by joining our Advocacy Network!