How much do you know about homelessness?

On a typical night in Greater Washington, 10,480 of our neighbors are homeless. While this is a 6% decrease from 2017, homelessness is still a reality for far too many of our neighbors.

There are different ways to be homeless. People living or sleeping on the street, in the parks, in cars, or in abandoned buildings – all places not meant to be lived in – are unsheltered. People living in transitional housing, with family or friends for a short time, or in a shelter are sheltered. In either situation, a person is considered to be chronically homeless if they have been homeless – sheltered or not – for over a year or has had four or more episodes of homelessness over the past three years.

For most people, employment is essential to having a stable and secure home. The lack of affordable housing, poverty, unemployment and low wages are the top causes of homelessness. A domestic violence experience is common among youth, single adults and families who become homeless and for many it is the immediate cause of their homelessness. Additionally, in 2017 approximately 9,000 returning citizens came home to DC. Without intensive assistance, these individuals are unlikely to find work due to significant barriers to employment. Unless there is intervention, the likelihood of homelessness and returning to jail for these neighbors is great. 

Even if a person has a job, how much you earn is important. The minimum wage in DC is $13.25 an hour; Virginia is $7.25 and Maryland is $10.10. The living wage (the amount of hourly income a single adult working 40-hours per week needs to meet their basic needs) in the Washington-Alexandria-Arlington area is $16.90.

Click here to learn more about Samaritan Ministry’s Empower The Homeless campaign.

Click here to take a short quiz and test your knowledge!

[Much of this information is taken from the “Homelessness in Metropolitan Washington: Results and Analysis from the Annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness” May 2018.]