What it means to end family homelessness

2014 St. Francis Holiday Party 18 Sharieka Lightbourne

The numbers speak for themselves:

6,865 people are homelessness in Washington, DC.
3,795 parents and children or 1,231 families are homeless in Washington, DC.
While other kinds of homelessness are decreasing in DC, family homelessness increased 50% from 2010-2014.

And this number is rising.
At the same time, affordable housing options for families are decreasing rapidly.

No family should be homeless. No parent should have to raise their child in a homeless shelter.

This is why we are working to end family homelessness by 2020 in DC.

You might be saying to yourself – this is impossible, people lose their homes all the time. How do you end homelessness?

You’re right. There is no way to completely stop a person or family from experiencing a housing crisis, but we can make sure that when this does happen, they have the services and support needed to keep their housing, or find new housing without an exten

ded stay in a shelter or on the street. This would effectively end family homelessness as we know it.

As the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness said, “An end to homelessness means that every community will have a systematic response in place that ensures homelessness is prevented whenever possible or is otherwise a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience.”

To do this, as a community and city we need to do a few things:

  1. For people or families that are on the cusp of homelessness, we need to prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place by providing support to either keep their housing, or to identify a place to go.
  2. For people or families that are already homeless, we need to have a shelter system that is easy to enter and access with a direct line to permanent stable and appropriate housing and support services that fit the needs of each unique family or individual.

Over the past 25 years, THC has grown not only in the number of families that we serve, but also in the kinds of housing we provide. We did this because we wanted to better support the unique strengths and challenges of the families that are in our programs.

Beyond the work that we do with our families, THC is part of a broader network that supports families with short and long term housing needs, and we are excited and ready for the hard work ahead. We know that family homelessness is a serious problem in DC. We also know that it is a solvable one.

Keep up to date with our work to end family homelessness in Washington, DC by following us on Facebook @thcdc
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