Yesterday, Poverty and Policy Blog posted an entry about the death of a homeless woman shortly after the vigil for Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. As the blog points out, we don’t know the facts surrounding this death. Nevertheless, it highlights the crisis in the shelter system and in affordable housing in the District.
The recession is forcing more families into poverty and resources to meet basic human needs are shrinking. In just the last year, we have seen the closure of the Franklin Shelter, huge cuts to the homeless services network, major cuts to housing and services to domestic violence victims and a retreat from a commitment to expand the local voucher program. Compounding matters, the administration has made proposals to cut the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program and there is the threat of further cuts to meet budget shortfalls in 2010 and 2011.
We are told that the recession is over. But for people who live in or near poverty it is still getting worse. A major change in direction will be needed to ensure that more names are not added to the list to be read at next year’s Homeless Person’s Memorial Day.