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DC Region Homeless Population Increased in 2011, Georgetown Non-profit Assisted in Count

The homeless population of the D.C. area increased by two percent in 2011.

The homeless population of the D.C. region now stands at 11,988, up two percent from the previous year. The number of homeless families across the region increased by six percent. Though there was a negligible increase in the number of homeless in D.C. proper, the total for the District is higher than any other juridiction in region.

On a frigid night just after a heavy snow in January, volunteers, including a team from the , spread out across the city searching alleys, doorways, under bridges, behind buildings and interviewing the street-bound homeless.

From 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. the group assisted in the Point in Time Enumeration that takes place nationwide to help understand the size and demographics of the country’s homeless population.

For D.C. the initial count was a total of 6,546 homeless people, of whom 1,620 were children in families.

At the Council of Governments meeting Wednesday, Michael Ferrell, the executive director of the D.C. Coalition for the Homeless and chair of COG’s Homeless Services Committee, presented the initial data from the work of volunteers in January.

According to the results, children represent 27 percent of the region’s homeless population and 61 percent of all people in families that are homeless. Additionally, 38 percent of all homeless adults in families and 20 percent of homeless single individuals are employed.

The number of homeless individual adults decreased by just under two percent, which Ferrell attributed to the availability of permanent supportive housing.

The official counts will be released next month.

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