The number of homeless families in the Washington region rose nearly 10 percent during the economic downturn, according to data released Wednesday as part of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ annual survey of the homeless.
One snowy night in January, surveyors went out to parks, campsites, shelters and winter hypothermia rooms for their annual “point-in-time” survey, finding 11,988 homeless people, up from 11,774 last year. Nearly a third were children and 5,315 were in families, an increase from 4,995 last year.
The number of homeless families in the Washington area has risen 9.5 percent since 2007, the survey showed. Local officials said that increase was a measure of how stressed low-income residents have become in the recession, as thousands have lost their jobs, or their homes to foreclosure.
“The poor economic conditions, coupled with the lack of affordable housing in the region, is driving more families into homelessness,” said Michael Ferrell, executive director of the District’s Coalition for the Homeless.