SOME’s comprehensive approach to addressing homelessness and poverty includes more than the direct services we provide to the individuals and families who come to us for help.
- We advocate for policies and programs that will better serve the needs of all experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty in DC and those at risk of homelessness.
- We seek changes that will eliminate the root causes of homelessness and poverty.
- We strive to empower our residents, students, clients, and other community members that are affected by homelessness and poverty to speak out for their interests and play an intricate role in our policy and advocacy work.
- We foster an active commitment to social justice by educating public officials, our volunteers, faith-based and community organizations, and schools.
SOME partners with many other organizations to develop and advocate for the best feasible solutions. We also enlist concerned citizens to voice their support through our grassroots SOME Advocacy Network.
Contact us: [email protected]
Homelessness in Washington, DC
Almost one in five DC residents live at or below the poverty line. More than 62,000 people in Washington live in extreme poverty, unable to meet even their basic needs.
According to the 2019 Point-in-Time count, 6,521 individuals are currently experiencing homelessness in Washington on a given day, 1,593 of whom are children. While the total number of people experiencing homelessness has decreased by 5.5% since the 2018 count, because of a 12% decline in the number of homeless families, the incidence of homelessness in DC is still among the highest in the nation and the number of homeless individuals actually increased by 2.8%. The count would be even higher if not for permanent housing made possible by SOME and other organizations, and prevention efforts by the District.
- 91% are sheltered in emergency or transitional housing
- 87% are black or African-American
- 44.2% are between the ages of 25 and 34
- 41% have been institutionalized in the past
- 44.1% are chronically homeless (homeless for more than a year or 4+ times over the course of three years)
- 24% are employed but cannot afford housing. A worker would need to earn $34.48 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment in DC.
- 21.9% suffer from chronic substance abuse
- 23.2% reported a history of domestic violence (40% of women in the count reported this history)
- 6% are veterans
Key Programs and Policy Tools
SOME encourages the support of certain programs and policies that aim to improve the current condition of homelessness. These include: tools for building and preserving affordable housing, income supports, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. We advocate for access to affordable and nutritious food, senior services, family and domestic abuse services, homelessness prevention, informed regional transportation planning, workforce development, and more.
We encourage community organizations of all kinds to participate with us in speaking out for these programs and policies.
In 2018, with support from SOME’s residents and Advocacy Network along with coalition partners, SOME succeeded in getting increased funding into next year’s District Budget for several important citywide programs:
- Effectively financed the Career Pathways Innovation Fund, enabling individuals to learn industry skills while building basic literacy, math, and employement skills.
- Added nearly $16 million to the DC Housing Production Trust Fund, $11.5 million for the Affordable Housing Preservation Fund, and $12 million for Workforce housing tax abatements.
- Secured over $6 million for transitional housing for families and single adults.
- Stabilized funding for the Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Mobile Crisis Response Program.
- Achieved $8 million for Housing Counseling Services that are essential to helping renters know their rights, retain their housing, and become homeowners.
- Engaged in comprehensive plan to improve conditions in emergency shelters.
- Ensured funding to develop a 10-year all-inclusive strategic plan for the aging population in DC. A new senior wellness facility will break ground in 2020.
- Increased funding to continue homeless outreach services that totaled over $3.5m, previously funded by federal grants.
Resources and Tools
- SOME's Advocacy and Social Justice Department
- SOME's Poverty, Homelessness, and Hunger Brochure
- Resource lists and essential reports
- Tips on Presenting Oral and Written Testimony
- DC Interagency Council on Homelessness
- Coalition for Nonprofist Housing & Economic Development
- Fair Budget Coalition
- Senior Advisory Coalition (SAC)
- DC Behavioral Health Association (DCBHA)
- DC Primary Care Association (DCPCA)
- DC Fiscal Policy Institute
- Coalition for Human Needs
- National Low-Income Housing Coalition