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1.The official number of homeless people in the US is over 500,000. But experts believe the real number is closer to 3 million.

According to the US State of Homelessness report, 564,708 people experience homelessness on any given night—meaning they sleep outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program.

Amongst 32 of the largest US cities, DC has the highest homelessness rate with over 8,000 homeless individuals, or 124  homeless people for every 10,000 residents in the general population.

The rate in DC is almost double the national average.

2. The average age of a homeless person is 9 years old.

The face of homelessness is not an old man-- it’s actually a young child. HUD reports that on any given night, over 138,000 of the homeless in the US are children under the age of 18.

In our nation’s capital, families make up 52% of the homeless community.

3. The main cause of homelessness isn’t drugs or alcohol - it’s a lack of affordable housing.

With rent prices soaring across US cities, many low-income people turn to subsidized housing for a place to sleep.

But in recent years, HUD’s budget has been slashed by over 50%, resulting in the loss of 10,000 units of subsidized low-income housing each and every year.

4. For women, the main cause of homelessness is domestic abuse.

Over 90% of homeless women are victims of severe physical or sexual abuse, and escaping that abuse is a leading cause of their homelessness.

Slipping in and out of homelessness, studies find DC women stay in a low-barrier shelter a median number of 27 nights.

5. You can do a LOT to help.

Many homeless people rely on non-profits like Thrive DC for daily hot meals and showers. But with government funding cuts, these organizations need your help fundraising and donating.

Just $26 provides organizations like Thrive DC with a full month of hot showers for their homeless clients. You can also see your donations in action by volunteering with Thrive DC.

And if you encounter a homeless person on the street and want to help right then and there, print out or pick up these cards that include info about how to get any sort of help they may need.

Consider helping out your community today

Four years ago, Ellen’s daughter volunteered in the computer lab at Thrive DC. She told her mom that she would enjoy working in the kitchen. She’s been a Breakfast Program volunteer ever since!

On a typical Thursday morning, Ellen loves to help in the kitchen – unless she has to cut onions.

Ellen also enjoys greeting and signing in clients. She gets to see them again and again, watching clients become her friends. She’s happy to see clients and clients are happy to see her.

When asked why people should volunteer at Thrive DC, Ellen said, "There’s a community here."

The staff consistently shows respect and kindness to their clients. They are also organized, having a broad range of services and referrals like showers, laundry, and a mailing address.

It’s clear to Ellen that we’re in it for the long haul.

During the spring semester of 2012 we had the pleasure of working with Socorro, a first year student at The George Washington University, through one of our Service Learning partnerships. Socorro provided tireless assistance to staff, volunteers, and clients during our morning meal program. Socorro was recently selected as the winner of the school's 2012 Ethics Writing Prize for her essay, titled The Man under the Tree: An Analysis of Children’s Perceptions of Homelessness. 

With her permission, we invite you to read her thoughts on homelessness, her experience at Thrive DC, and the unique characteristics of children's perceptions of homelessness. (more…)

1525 Newton St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 737-9311

Client Hours:
Monday - Thursday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM | 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Staff Hours: 
Monday – Friday
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
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