This Tuesday morning the city cleared another homeless encampment, this time in NoMa.
We've been here before; the city forcibly removes people and encourages them to go to a shelter. The residents mostly refuse because, as one resident puts it: “I’m not going to another shelter. I don’t like how the shelters treat us.” They then move to a new space and the cycle repeats itself.
What makes events like this especially frustrating is that it's hard to expect a different outcome. DC has around 6,000 emergency shelter beds for 8,000 homeless individuals. That's not enough.
More affordable housing could create a pathway out of homelessness, but the city has only set aside enough funding for around 200 affordable units next year. That's not nearly enough to meet the need.
Clearing the encampment in NoMa does nothing to solve the problem. It just moves it somewhere else.
Homelessness is complicated. There are a lot of factors affecting our homeless community, but also a lot of ways to get involved and make a difference. The first step though, is to learn what's going on.
That's why Thrive DC is going on a Summer Speaking Tour. If your church is interested in a presentation on homelessness, or your company would like to do a "Lunch and Learn"... let us know! If we are going to advocate for our vulnerable neighbors, we need to know what say.