Fairfax County is continuing to see the number of locals experiencing homelessness over the last year increase — and a new report said inflation and housing costs are partially to blame.
This year’s point-in-time count — an annual count of individuals in shelters, transitional housing, and experiencing unsheltered homelessness — found 1,310 people experiencing homelessness in Fairfax County.
That’s a 10% increase (119 people) over the previous year, when a slight drop was reported. Around 30% of those were adults experiencing chronic homelessness.
The survey found that 87 households said they were fleeing domestic violence and 229 households reported a history of domestic violence, according to Fairfax County.
This year’s count follows a recent trend of homelessness increasing again after years of decline throughout the D.C. region.
“After a steady reduction of people experiencing homelessness on the night of the Point-in-Time Counts between the 2008 and 2017, a decrease of 47 percent (871 people),” the county said on the Point-in-Time report. “The number of people experiencing homelessness identified through the counts increased 27 percent (258 people) between 2017 and 2021 and then decreased 3 percent (31 people) in 2022.”
In particular, the report says there’s been a notable increase in families with children facing homelessness:
The number of people in families with children experiencing homelessness increased by 33 percent (188 people) between the 2022 and 2023 counts. This increase is primarily attributed to the multiple negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on families in terms of health, employment, and inflationary costs, especially for housing. Meanwhile, the number of single adults experiencing homelessness decreased by 11 percent (71 people) during the same time.
As with the previous year, the report noted that people who identify as Black or African American are disproportionately likely to experience homelessness in Fairfax County:
The most significant disparity in the demographics of those experiencing homelessness on the night of the 2023 Point-in-Time Count remains the disproportionate representation of people identifying as Black or African American. While 10.8 percent of the general population in Fairfax County is estimated to identify as Black or African American , 48 percent of people experiencing homelessness on the night of the count identified as Black or African American. The imbalance slightly improved from the 2022 count, when 50 percent of people identified as Black or African.
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