Threats of severe temperatures and hunger — that’s what more than 1,000 children, women and men may face again today. Homelessness is a real problem in the Fairfax County-Falls Church community.
These numbers come from an annual Fairfax-Falls Church community survey. This Point-in-Time survey will give you a comprehensive look on the homeless population in our community. Read the 2016 Point-in-Time Count for more details.
People in families accounted for 49 percent of all persons counted.
- Thirty percent of all persons who were homeless were children under the age of 18.
- Eighty percent of the adults in homeless families are female.
- Fifty-seven percent of adults in families that were homeless were employed.
- Thirty-nine percent of the homeless families were in a transitional housing program. Sixty percent were being provided emergency shelter.
Single individuals represent 51 percent of the total number of persons counted.
- One-hundred fifty were experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Six percent of the single adults were reported as veterans.
- Seventy-four percent of the homeless individuals were male.
- Twenty-three percent of single individuals who were homeless were employed.
We are home to the second largest number of people without homes.
It might surprise you, but the second largest number of people who are homeless in our region live in the Fairfax-Falls Church community. Only in Washington, D.C., are there more people without homes.
Lack of affordable housing is a national concern and it's the main cause of homelessness in Fairfax County.
Low incomes and expensive housing are the main reasons for homelessness in our community. It is impossible to pay for an apartment when earning minimum wage — even if you work 24 hours per day, 7 days a week:
- The average monthly rent as of January 2017 for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,746.
- A family must earn $33.58 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
- A family must earn an annual income of $69,840 to afford a two-bedroom apartment. (Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition)
Domestic violence and health issues are also causes.
The Point-in-Time survey on homelessness says:
- Forty-two percent of all persons in families were experiencing homelessness due to domestic violence.
- Eighty-one percent of single individuals who were experiencing homelessness suffered from serious mental illness and/or substance abuse, and many had chronic health problems or physical disabilities.
Real Cost of Homelessness
Homelessness Hurts Us Too
Homelessness doesn’t just hurt families. It also affects us, with social and economic costs to our community.
Increased Public Costs for Medical Care
- Hospital bills are $2,414 more for people who are homeless. This is because they stay in the hospital for four days longer on average, says a New England Journal of Medicine study. 1
- Children who are homeless are sick and go to the emergency room more often than other children. 2
They also have:
- Twice as many ear infections.
- Four times as many asthma attacks.
- Five times more stomach problems.
- Six times as many speech problems.
- Twice as many hospitalizations.3
Increased Public Costs for Education
- Children who are homeless are more likely to have lower academic achievement.4 They are:
- Four times as likely to have developmental delays.
- Twice as likely to have learning disabilities.
- Twice as likely to repeat a grade, most often due to frequent absences and moves to new schools.5
1 Salit S.A., Kuhn E.M., Hartz A.J., Vu J.M., Mosso A.L. Hospitalization costs associated with homelessness in New York City. New England Journal of Medicine 1998; 338: 1734-1740.
2 Weinreb, L., et al., “Determinants of health and service use patterns in homeless and low-income housed children,” Pediatrics 102(3) (1998): 554-62
3 National Center on Family Homelessness, Homeless Children: America’s New Outcasts. Newton, MA: 1999.
4 Buckner, J.C., Bassuk, E.L., Weinreb, L.F., and Brooks, M.G. (1999). “Homelessness and its relationship to the mental health and behavior of low income school age children” Developmental Psychology 35(1): 246-257
5 Garcia-Coll, C., et al., “The developmental status and adaptive behavior of homeless and low-income housed infants and toddlers,” Am. J. Public Health 88(9) (1998): 1371-4; Bassuk, E.L., et al., “Determinants of behavior in homeless and low-income housed preschool children,” Pediatrics 100(1) (1997): 92-100;National Center on Family Homelessness, Homeless Children: America’s New Outcasts. Newton, MA: 1999.