D.C. Government Gets Credit For Tackling Chronic Homelessness | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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D.C. Government Gets Credit For Tackling Chronic Homelessness

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The District's approach to curbing chronic homelessness appears to be paying off.

From 2008 to 2009 –- during the height of the recession -– the number of chronically homeless fell by more than 12 percent in the city.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness, which looked at homelessness in each state and the District, credits the city for embracing a number of innovative programs.

"There was a real effort on the part of the District government to identify chronically homeless people and get them into permanent supportive housing," says National Alliance CEO Nan Roman.

Known in the District as Housing First, it is an effort to move away from the shelter system, and the Fenty administration aggressively pursued the policy.

Ebony Roscoe and her four children were homeless until she found permanent housing with an organization called Community of Hope.

"Finding housing is like a brick being lifted off of my shoulders and being placed on the ground," Roscoe says.

During that same time period, the number of chronically homeless in Maryland jumped by more than 35 percent.


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