WASHINGTON (WDVM) — New point in time data has been released for 2022 in the district showing a decrease in homelessness across the district.
Homeless encampments still continue to pop up while organizations work with them to challenge those stats.
“I mean I had faith in the system,” said Donald Brundage, a former homeless person.
In the summer of 2020, Washingtonian Donald Brundage walked into a men’s homeless shelter, looking for a place to call his own. Now 18 months later, he has the key to his own apartment.
“It’s been working. The mayor and the people have been doing what they say they was gonna do. And I’ve done seen the proof of a lot of people getting apartments that was at the shelter,” Brundage said.
Brundage’s success story comes through a streamlined process to move people off the streets and into their own homes.
“For the sixth consecutive year, overall homelessness is down in Washington, D.C. — and it’s not just down, it’s down to its lowest point in 17 years,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Data from the 2022 point in time — which measures homelessness in D.C. — shows the number of families and single people experiencing homelessness has decreased, attributing the decline to Bowser’s outreach programs like Homeward D.C.
“We have reduced chronic homelessness among single adults in the last year alone by over 22%,” said Laura Green Zeilinger, director of the Department of Human Services.
That decrease was not seen across the board. The numbers for veterans experiencing homelessness are up by 11 percent, and the numbers for kids under 18 also had a jump of 8 percent.
“The number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness was effectively flat there were nine additional people between 21 and 22 were counted is unsheltered,” said Zeilinger.
Homeless advocacy organization Thrive D.C. takes an issue with the way the city figures out who gets at the top of the help list. They say it’s based on a vulnerability scale and some people fall through the cracks.
“We’ve had clients who were who had cancer, for instance, and you know, had very bad prognosis, who weren’t eligible. So who died, you know, in unfortunate circumstances because they were not eligible or couldn’t get housed quickly in them,” said Alicia Horton, executive director for Thrive D.C.
Brundage, whose faith along with helping hands brought him this far, is embracing this second chance.
“I’m gonna do what I always did. Go to work, go to church, and live life. I was going over to my sister’s house and grilling on her porch and whatever, but now they’re all talking about coming over here,” said Brundage.
Mayor Bowser plans to allocate almost $150 million to end homelessness in her fiscal year 2023 budget.