Washington: A Homeless City
BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|
The capital of the United States is renowned for its imposing monuments, its beautiful landscapes, the cleanliness of its streets and boulevards. However, not many people know that Washington D.C is one of the cities in the US with high numbers of homeless people living on its streets.
Figures presented by The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness showed that in May 2019, there were 6,521 homeless people on the streets the night of that report. That is 6,521 too many. This was due to three causes that the study revealed: low wages, higher cost of living and inadequate supply of affordable housing .
These disastrous results are not only due to socio-economic factors, but also relate directly with mental health. Homelessness is accompanied by mental health issues, a cycle that can begin with the economic factors that led the person to become homeless, but subsequently generates emotional imbalances, such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, anger, lack of control, among others, which in turn can prevent a person from resolving their economic situation. As mentioned by Homeless Hub: “In general, 30-35% of those experiencing homelessness, and up to 75% of women experiencing homelessness, have mental illnesses. 20-25% of people experiencing homelessness suffer from concurrent disorders (severe mental illness and addictions).”
Solving such a complex problem as homelessness in our city requires leadership and funding. Private foundations and government funds are currently not nearly enough to begin addressing the issue, much less resolve it. The city provides useful information at DC Homeless Services . However, there are also many diverse organizations that can help with guidance, such as Neighbors’ Consejo; it is a matter of reaching out to them.