Washington, D.C. – Preliminary results of a recent survey indicate that homelessness is up slightly in the metropolitan Washington region. Year over year comparisons of counts taken in 2008 and 2009 show that homelessness increased by 2.2 percent over the past year.
The preliminary results are based on data compiled by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) from the ninth annual point in time enumeration of the region’s homeless population. The 2008 enumeration counted 11,752 homeless in the region. In 2009, this count grew to 12,012. Although the number of single persons counted as homeless decreased by 428, among persons in families, the number increased by 697.
Across the region, the figures varied among jurisdictions. The District of Columbia, for example, saw a three percent increase in the number of homeless, whereas Prince George’s County saw a 9.5 percent decrease. The results released indicate that Loudoun County saw a 10.6 percent decrease in its homeless population, the largest decrease in the region, while Arlington County, at 24.6 percent, saw the region’s largest increase.
District of Columbia Council Chair and COG Board Member Vincent Gray asked about the impact of the current economic crisis on the number of homeless in the region. In response, Michael Ferrell, Executive Director of the D.C. Coalition for the Homeless and Chair of COG’s Homeless Services Committee, which gathered the data, stated that although the full report and official analysis have not yet been released, “anecdotally, we are aware of an increase in the number of families requesting assistance.” The preliminary results, which do indicate an increase in the number of homeless families, do not take into account people who are living with relatives as a result of being displaced by foreclosure.
This annual enumeration is conducted by local area governments and is 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. The final analysis and full report will be released next month.
To view the full report, click here.