Washington, D.C. –This year’s enumeration of the metropolitan Washington region’s homeless population counted 11,988 people, a 2 percent increase from the previous year. The count, which was conducted in the last week of January 2011 by area governments and homeless service providers, found that the number of homeless people in families increased by 6 percent, while homeless single adults decreased by less than 2 percent.
Michael Ferrell, Executive Director of the D.C. Coalition for the Homeless and Chair of COG’s Homeless Services Committee, which compiles data from the count, attributed the increase in homelessness to the economy and a depletion of federal funds for homeless prevention and rapid re-housing programs.
Data from the count found that children represent 27 percent of the region’s homeless population and 61 percent of all people in families that are homeless. It also showed that 38 percent of all homeless adults in families and 20 percent of homeless single individuals are employed.
The annual count is conducted by area governments 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.
This year’s count was scheduled on January 26, but due to winter weather, some jurisdictions conducted their count between January 27 and 31. The jurisdictions that participated in the count include the District of Columbia, Frederick County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County in Maryland, and the City of Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County in Virginia.
A final analysis and full report will be released next month. The full report will include more detailed explanations of each jurisdiction’s respective survey results. To view past reports, click here.