Washington, D.C. has the highest rate of homelessness among big cities, according to a survey of 32 big cities by the United States Conference of Mayors.
In D.C., there are 124 homeless people for every 10,000 residents, more than twice the national average, while homelessness nationwide has gone down 12.9 percent over the last seven years, the New York Times reported.
Survey data was taken from the annual “Point in Time” count distributed by the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness, a nonprofit that works with the local government.
According to the count, a total of 8,350 people experienced homelessness: 318 lived on the street, 6,259 lived in emergency shelters, and 1,773 lived in transitional housing.
Recent census data shows that outside the number of homeless in the city, 17.3 percent of D.C. residents live in poverty.
Those who work with the homeless and experience homelessness say the reason for the crisis stems from the high cost of urban living.
Median home prices soared to record highs in 2016, according to WTOP.
Census data released in December showed that four neighboring counties to the District of Columbia — Loudoun County, Falls Church, and Fairfax and Howard Counties — were the richest in the nation.
Meanwhile, D.C. itself maintained a median income of more than $70,000.
“There are no ‘new homeless,’” said Michael Ferrell, the executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless, which runs 10 shelter programs in D.C. “The one single thing that really has changed is the lack of affordable housing.”
“The housing that’s being created today in the District is not for working-class people,” he said.