How Many Homeless Residents Are Threatened by the Cold?

Jan 7th, 2014 | By | Category: All Posts

The temperature’s already starting to plummet, and it won’t stop until it hits single digits. That’s annoying to most Washingtonians, but potentially life-threatening for the city’s homeless population. The city is required by law to provide shelter to all homeless residents in need when the temperature drops below freezing, but that’s sometimes easier said than done, partly because not all homeless people will find shelter (or be found by the city), and partly because the shelters have limited space. Here’s a breakdown of the latest numbers.

Last night, there were 1,645 single homeless residents in D.C. shelters, according to Michelle Williams of the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness, which tracks homelessness numbers for the city. Those shelters have 1,727 beds, so they’re near but not quite at capacity. Additionally, there were 431 families at the D.C. General shelter and the apartment-style shelter program. The city has only 431 shelter units for homeless families. In recent years, the city has begun putting some homeless families up in motels, at substantial cost to D.C. taxpayers. There are currently 243 homeless families staying at motels on the District’s dime, for lack of shelter space.

Read more @ The Washington City Paper


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