- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - There are 30 percent more homeless families in the nation’s capital than there were a year ago, according to an annual census of the Washington homeless population.

And for the first time since the annual census began in 2001, homeless children and their parents in the District outnumbered homeless single adults, The Washington Post reports.

Officials and volunteers on Jan. 28 counted 4,667 homeless children and their parents in the District, the newspaper (http://wapo.st/1qeCv78) reported. That’s about 1,000 more than the number of homeless single adults counted in Washington. And it compares to 3,477 homeless persons in families counted in 2015.

The newspaper cited a report released Wednesday by the nonprofit Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Homeless.

Rising housing costs in the area and a policy of guaranteeing homeless residents a right to shelter have produced record numbers at city shelters, city officials and advocates for the poor have said.

“We are in the midst of a very serious affordable-housing crisis,” said Kate Coventry, an analyst at the left-leaning D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute.

The report found that the overall homeless population rose about 5 percent in the past year in the region’s nine jurisdictions, driven by increases of 14 percent and 12 percent in Washington and Frederick County, respectively. Homelessness fell in the other seven jurisdictions, including a 27 percent drop in Arlington County.

The District, New York City and Massachusetts are the only major U.S. jurisdictions that guarantee homeless residents a right to shelter.

Washington Mayor Muriel E. Bowser who has in the past pledged to largely end homelessness by the end of 2018, has proposed spending about $173 million on homeless-related services this year. That would be about a $13 million increase over last year

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

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