A man waits for DC Central Kitchen to open in the early morning on Capitol Hill on Dec. 1. More than 5,000 volunteers a year help to prepare 3,000 meals a day 365 days a year at the kitchen.
A 2011 study by the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness, a nonprofit corporation contracted by HUD, showed the number of homeless families in D.C. increased 46 percent from 2008 to 2011. That included almost 860 homeless families, with a child population of 1,620 through 2011, making homeless families one of the fastest-growing demographics in Washington’s homeless population.
“Homeless families are dealing with unemployment or underemployment, divorce, family issues and a lack of affordable housing options,” said Jacob Wilkins, communications and development manager for the Capitol Hill Ministry Group. “Many families also get foreclosed on, leaving them homeless with no place to stay.”
According to recent data from the D.C. Recorder of Deeds and the Office of Tax and Revenue, foreclosure inventory in the district grew from nearly 1,000 cases to more than 2,000 in the past four years.
A lack of shelter service and a rise in the foreclosure rate can help explain the stark growth in the population of homeless families in D.C., but concerns about people coming from Maryland and Virginia persist among officials and those who live on the streets.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.