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Homelessness Drops Slightly Throughout Metro Area

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments released its annual report on the homeless population.

Although the number of homeless men and women throughout the whole metro region dipped slightly since 2011, the percentage of homelessness inside the District is up 6 percent. 

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments released its annual report on the homeless population Wednesday. Homelessness is down .4 percent throughout Washington, Northern Virginia and Montgomery, Prince George's and Frederick counties in Maryland. In 2011, the council counted 11,879 homeless men and woman in the region. This year, that number dropped to 11,830.

The picture is much different inside city limits, though. In 2011, the council counted 6,546 homeless men and women in D.C. One year later, the population has jumped to 6,954 - a difference of more than 400 individuals.

According to the report, the homeless are "defined as people who reside in some form of emergency or transitional shelters, domestic violence shelters, runaway youth shelters, and places not meant for human habitation, which include streets, parks, alleys, abandoned buildings, and stairways."

In an editorial recently published in the 's newsletter, center director Gunther Stern wrote about Mayor Vincent Gray's efforts to rid the city of homelessness by 2014.

"It struck me it really is almost 2014. Two more years to end homelessness. How are we doing? When I look around me at work I don’t see much difference from 21 years ago when I started working with the homeless here in Georgetown. The faces have changed. Some have found their way off the street, but too many have died on the street, victims of their circumstances: hit by a car, stabbed by a friend in a drunken rage, or just worn out from a hard life. And some have just gotten older...like me. I don’t know if the number who have found their way off the street is more or less than the number who have died, but the depressing thought is that there seems to be just as many people living on the street now as there were in 2004."

Full copies of the Council of Government's 2012 homelessness report and Gunther Stern's editorial are attached to this article.

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