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Homeless Census Today, Shelter Use Increases

by Katie Pyzyk January 30, 2013 at 9:50 am 1,325 45 Comments

Homeless man on a bench outside Arlington Central LibraryVolunteers and staff from Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN) are canvassing the county today for the annual census of homeless people.

The local Point-in-Time Count is part of a nationwide count that occurs during the last 10 days in January each year. The census helps to highlight trends, justify requests for federal funding and measure community progress towards preventing and ending homelessness.

Last year, the Point-in-Time count of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless people dropped to 451. That’s down two percent from 461 in 2011.

“In this ‘great recession,’ the number of homeless people in Arlington has actually been trending downward for the last three years,” said A-SPAN Executive Director Kathleen Sibert. “Arlington non-profits and the county have done a great job of connecting people with housing; and we hope this year’s count will be even lower now that the 100 Homes Campaign has already housed 47 homeless adults.”

From 6:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. todady, census teams will visit areas frequented by homeless individuals such as Metro stations, parks, malls and meal serving sites. Additionally, there are six indoor meeting places used for the count, and meals are served to encourage participation. Staff members will also distribute hygiene kits and socks donated by Marymount Women’s Basketball team.

“Survey questions go beyond headcounts and ask about instances of domestic abuse, veteran status, and disabilities in order to learn more about the specific homeless population in Arlington and what resources are needed,” said Sibert.

The annual report for Arlington’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness was presented to the County Board yesterday (Tuesday). It showed that 708 individuals used Arlington homeless shelters at some time in 2012, which is a six percent increase over 2011. However, the average length of time a person stayed in shelter decreased by 28 percent. The average stay for homeless families showed the most significant improvement, dropping from an average stay of 5.4 months to three months.

“The goal of the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness is that no individual or family lack access to decent, affordable housing,” said County Board Chairman Walter Tejada. “That is a tall order in these troubled economic times, but this report, the progress we are making in housing Arlington’s most-at-risk homeless persons who were identified last year, and the County’s many programs aimed at getting those in need into housing shows that we intend to meet that goal.”

  • Hee-Haw

    As good as it sounds, homelessness will never end.

    • novasteve

      Exactly, because many are mentally ill, and unless you force them off the streets, there are some who will want to remain on the streets. In a free country, can and should you be able to force someone into a facility who isn’t a threat to themselves or others?

      • 1RLI

        If they’re not a threat to themselves or others, I’m not sure how you can force them into a facility.

        • KalashniKEV

          They are a serious threat to the health and safety of the community.

          I’m not sure why you would *want* to log them into a facility or program. Just give them a strip map the Key Bridge.

          • drax

            You may not declare that a class of people, unless they are actually doing something wrong, is a threat to health and safety, and ban them or whatever. That’s fundamentally unAmerican.

      • drax

        Just to clarify, treatment for mental illness doesn’t always require a “facility.” Lots of treatment can be outpatient these days.

      • Josh S

        What percentage of the total are you including in that “some”, steve-o?

      • drax

        Also, some are disabled, not mentally ill, though the two aren’t that different.

  • Pheng

    Are those socks game-worn, or have they been laundered?

  • KalashniKEV

    Wait, wait, wait… they grab 100 homeless guys off the street, stick him in 100 houses that someone else had to pay for, plus “wrap around services” (whatever that is) and it’s “problem solved?”

    Or problem 10x worse???

    Are we using any rational thought here at all?

    • drax

      How about you actually read the plan and what it calls for instead?

      You don’t even know what “wrap around services” are, and you’re bashing them.

      Here, so you won’t have to even click through to get to it:


      • Just want to say thanks. I’ve downloaded this document and will read it carefully. I need to learn about homelessness. I have a 46 year old son living in Colorado who has been homeless for 5 years. I wonder if they have as attractive a plan as Arlington has for helping these unfortunate people.

  • KalashniKEV

    I think we all know what time it is…

    • SomeGuy

      Well done, KEV. I like that meme you started.

      • drax

        Me too. Time to round up any members of any group you blame for our problems! But hey, he didn’t invent that meme. It’s been used lots of times.

        • speonjosh

          I believe most effectively by MC Hammer.

        • SomeGuy

          It’s a meme on this web site. Regardless of whether I agree with the sentiment in which it originated, I do find it funny.

          • KalashniKEV

            **’* **** *** * *** *****-**!!!

          • drax

            So do I. I said so: “Me too.”

  • Patrick

    Just move them all in with Tejada. Problem solved.

  • John Fontain

    Don’t forget the guy behind the Pio Pio.

    • KalashniKEV

      Or Pioneer Bum Village between Key Bridge and Roosevelt Island.

  • Mike

    Nice to see that there are still horrible, thoughtless people still providing “commentary” on ArlNow.

    Carry on.

    • Hee-Haw

      like what ? I see nothing wrong with any comments above. Please state what is horrible, and thoughtless about any of these comments.

      • novasteve

        Hee Haw, Arlington is a progressive and tolerant community, therefore different opinions shouldn’t be allowed.

  • MissKittenCat

    not so much thoughtless just a bit of shade was thrown at the homeless people of arlington. why even throw shade at someone who doesn’t even have anything? thats kinda low

    • ThatGuyAtYourHolidayParty

      I like lampshades.

  • Buckingham Bandit

    How about the panhandlers at Glebe & Fairfax in Ballston?

  • Fuzzy

    If homelessness has been trending downward in Arlington and is expected to drop fairly significantly with the 100 Homes Campaign, why is the county building a new $28M homeless shelter? Is Arlington trying to recruit more homeless from DC and Alexandria?

    • novasteve

      FEEL GOOD MOMENT. Plus they can attract homeless people from DC and MD.

    • KalashniKEV


      • novasteve

        Do they get residency for purposes of voting?

        • KalashniKEV

          They probably get to vote as much as they want.

    • Common Sense

      According to an article I just found on it, the shelter’s total cost will be $42 million over 5 years. That breaks down to nearly $100,000 per homeless person. ($93,126, to be exact)

      • drax

        They’re going to tear it down and stop using it after five years?

  • Concerned Citizen

    Many of the comments here are very disappointing. The commenters seem to resent the homeless and criticize any public or private effort to help them. The government subsidizes your mortgages, your health care, and your private retirement savings through enormous tax expenditures, and makes enormous payments for your education, your Social Security and Medicare, your transportation network. Are you really that upset that the government, working along side of private charities, also tries to help the least fortunate among us? Your comments that you voluntarily chose to share with us make you sound like very selfish people. Do you believe in charity? Good works? Have you ever done anything to help someone less fortunate than yourselves?

    • fuzzy

      Am I selfish…probably. But my top concern is take care of my family’s current and future needs, not the needs of random homeless people I’ve never met. Do I give to charity — yes. I also pay a lot of taxes, a good chunk of which goes toward helping those less fortunate.

    • Patrick

      “The government subsidizes….” You operate from a wrong premise. The government doesn’t subsizdize anything I do. There is no such thing as a tax expenditure only the government confiscating less money based on people participating in certain programs the government deems beneficial to society. The only thing disappointing is that other people actually operate from the same premise as you.

      • Concerned Citizen

        You couldn’t pass Econ 101 if you don’t know what a tax expenditure is. Government can spend money either directly or through tax expenditures. Both tax expenditures and government spending effect marginal tax rates. The question is how government allocates the money among society and whether the allocation corrects or causes market failure or markets distortions.

        My point is that the government spends a lot of money on well-to-do people. Government spending on the homeless and people on welfare constitutes less than two percent of government spending. So don’t be so please don’t be quite upset that Arlington is working with VOLUNTEERS to try to help the homeless, who, for whatever reason, are some of the least fortunate people in society.

      • drax

        Fine, so we’ll set up a program where people with mortgages get a check from HUD instead of a check from the IRS. Voila. Same difference. You pay less in taxes than someone else because of something you pay for? That’s a subsidy.

    • novasteve

      What’s with democrats calling letting someone keep more of their money being a “subsidy”? If I have a tax benefit that means I pay less, that doesn’t mean that someone else is paying my taxes, it means I’m keeping more of the money I earned. A subsidy is when someone else pays for your benefit. Ie if I got taxpayer money to actually pay for my mortgage, then I would be getting a subsidy. I think most of the complaints here about the homeless shelter is why would they put it in such an expensive area and building, and then harm the real estate values of those who live close by when they could have avoided this by locating it somewhere else?

      • drax

        If Congress passes a law that says everyone has to pay 20% of their income in taxes, except for Novasteve, that’s a subsidy for Novasteve. You have money that the rest of us don’t even though we’re all paying for the same thing, so the other taxpayers are subsidizing your tax payment.

        Yeah, it’s a subsidy.

        • novasteve

          Oh okay then. So the 47% who don’t pay any federal income tax are getting a subsidy (exclude even the EIC)? Are non profits getting a “subsidy”? If someone deducts $10,000 due to charitable donations to Planned Parenthood, are they getting a subsidy?

          You have no idea what the word means.

          • yeah drax does.

            Dunno about the 47 percent, but the deduction for charitable donations is among the largest of the tax expenditures listed in the federal budget. Joint Committee on Taxation says so, and I agree.

            Truth is, you swing the word subsidy around like a perjorative and now you are miffed that it came around and hit you in the back of the head. Face it, you’re on the dole like everyone else is, to some degree or another. Leech.

          • novasteve

            I only take the standard deduction. don’t own a place, so I dont’ get a mortgage interest deduction, despite my rent paying for interest (so home owners get a “subsidy”. I can’t deduct my student loan interest because I “make too much” money.. No kids, no business expenses, no medical expenses…


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