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D.C.’s Homeless Problem

Homelessness in Washington, D.C. rose by 18% in 2023

Homelessness in Washington, D.C. rose by 18% in 2023, increasing for the first time in five years, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. D.C’s longest serving homeless shelter, Central Union Mission, saw the biggest increase in the number of single homeless males.

Recent reporting shows 12% of the city’s population does not have stable housing, in part, because of an unaffordable market. But, Central Union Mission President Joseph Mettimano felt the problem was far more than just a housing issue.

“It’s an oversimplification of the problem to say that putting a roof over somebody's head, creating more housing, is the solution to homelessness,” Mettimano told me. “Because there's not just a homelessness crisis in this country, there's also a crisis of mental health, and there's also a crisis of drug and alcohol addiction.”

Mettimano felt unless all of those issues were addressed, the U.S. homeless crisis would persist.

Watch the full video to hear more about Mettimano’s experience dealing with homelessness in the city.

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