“Homelessness is like a deep hole you can’t climb out of. Drinking makes the day go by. Once you’re caught in that rut, it’s hard to get out.” George
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head and Singing In the Rain – “yeah right, you live outside and tell me you love raindrops…” Mary
George and Mary spent many years homeless and unsheltered in Fairfax County. Yes, in Fairfax County, one of the wealthiest counties in the country. But in Fairfax County homeless persons such as George and Mary are generally hidden. They live in the woods, behind dumpsters, and in shopping centers. Out of sight, out of mind.
For many, many years local nonprofit partners have been working with county staff day in and day out to offer persons who find themselves homeless a chance to start anew. When given the stability of housing and the support of professionals and volunteers, homeless adults - including those who have lived many years on the streets and in the woods - can and do change and become stable, contributing members of our community. We nonprofit homeless services providers can tell story upon story of what a difference stable housing and supports can make in a life of someone whom others have given up on, whom others have discarded as “hopeless."
In January 2012, 697 single adults were counted as homeless in Fairfax County and 51 percent of them (353) were chronically homeless –12 consecutive months or four separate incidences of homelessness in the past three years. Twenty-four percent of homeless adults were unsheltered. These numbers are going up.
This month you can help us find out who is ʺout there." You can hear their stories and you can help provide them the housing they need.
As part of a nationwide effort to put a name and a face to each number, the Fairfax-Falls Church community is participating in a national campaign – 100K Homes –that will help us understand WHO is homeless, WHY they are homeless and HOW we can get them housed.
Join us on Feb. 25, 26, and/or 27, as a part of a volunteer team visiting campsites to interview homeless individuals. On March 1 we will give a detailed report to the community about who we found and where we go from here. See http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/homeless/100khomes/ for details.
Help us help everyone in Fairfax County find a way home.
This blog entry was written by Pam Michel, Executive Director of New Hope Housing and part of the Fairfax-Falls Church Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness. This also was published as an Opinon story in the Connection Newspapers on February 6, 2013