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Homeless crisis in Washington DC: 50 years old mother sleeps at a bus station VIDEO

July 3, 2011

Most likely you have noticed this already: there is a homelessness crisis happening in Washington, DC, including the metropolitan area. It’s happening in most urban areas of the United States.

Not coincidentally, the DC corporate media is not reporting on this crisis properly. It seems as if they are trying to cover the increasing levels of poverty and inequality in this city, which are a direct result of urban gentrification and the current neoliberal economy model.

This is what is happening to the people of the United States in times when Wall Street is running the White House. I took this photo last week at G St. NW between 14th St. NW and 15th St. NW, one block from the presidential residence.

Before gentrification started in DC, most homeless people were found in Downtown area, now they are in the suburbs or just riding the Metro train or buses, spending every day in loneliness and uncertainity. I know, I have been homeless at some point in my life. It’s a nightmare.

Meet “Fonda”, a 50 y.o. woman who sleeps in the streets, for over a year now. I have seeing her several times, and one day I decided to interview her. Here, she tells her story. In case you want to help her please call the number included in this video:

Scary numbers

According to a 2010 report of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (read PDF file):

  • Approximately 16,000 people are homeless in Washington, DC over the course of a year, one of the highest rates in the country.
  • In 2010, in a single night 6,539 people in DC were homeless, a 5% increase over 2009.
  • More than 2,000 familiesin DC apply for shelter over the course of a year, only 400 families are served. This data includes 1,535 children in homeless families in 2010, up 7.6% from 2009.
  •  About 7.8% of homeless people in DC are veterans.
  •  There are more than 2,000 homeless youth in DC over the course of a year, but only 64 emergency shelter beds and 78 units of youth housing available.
  • Among homeless individuals in DC, 33% report chronic substance abuse problems, 23% report severe mental illness, 24% suffer from chronic health problems, and 16% are physically disabled.
  • 24% of homeless adults in DC are employed, 45% have full-time employment, and 48% have part-time employment and the remainder have seasonal employment.

What do you think?

Is it time to do something about this homeless crisis? Are we just going to look at them and keep on walking? What kind of nation are we when we let our elders sleep in the streets?


Update August 8th 2011

I saw Fonda again this past weekend at New Carrollton metro station. She is still living in the streets, she said a case social worker reached out to her and is trying to put her in an assisted living home, but she needs to wait because the demand is “absurdly high”.  Fonda fell in the sidewalk a few days ago and now she has to walk slower.  However, she is still in good spirits, optimistic that a better day will come. She refuses to talk to her family.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    August 8, 2011 6:51 pm

    very valid points made by the gentleman. seems all he needs is a hand up. living for people who are considerd mdidle class is very difficult and most are just a stones throw or paycheck away from being homeless themselves. you do need family, it is imperative when you need a hand up with no one to care

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