Homelessness plagues people in localities across nearly the entire world. While it’s nothing new, those that study it are growing concerned because it seems to be changing for the worse over time.
The Washington Post reports that there are now more homeless children and parents in Washington D.C. than single adults, which changes what many considered to be the face of homelessness. In January, a report counted 3,683 homeless single adults while it counted 4,667 children and adults, which is a 30% increase from just a year before. This is the first time the numbers have been skewed in this direction since 2001.
The increase of homeless families in the D.C. area reportedly started in 2010 during the height of the economic crisis. But the latest surge in the past year is believed to be a result of Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s handling of the city’s homeless population.
Due to Bowser streamlining the process for homeless families into shelters – D.C., New York and Massachusetts are the only major areas that guarantee homeless people a right to shelter – there’s been a larger number of homeless families to count, which causes the overnight surge in total population on file.
Bowser made a campaign pledge to make city services, including shelter, more accessible for women and children in need. She’s already proposed a $13 million increase in proposed spending for the city’s homeless, bringing it to a total of $173 million.
She’s also reportedly proposed a plan to build new shelter sites for 280 families, which would cost nearly $660 million over a 30-year period.
While many are concerned of Bowser’s handling of Washington D.C.’s homeless population, some take comfort in the idea that things are in the early stages of improvement.
“We were able to help families earlier, and because of that, we know that we are providing better services and support than in previous years, and that’s important,” said Laura Green Zeilinger, who oversees homeless services, to the Post.
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