By Gerod A.O. Blue
As the years progress, the constant fluctuation of economic stability within the District of Columbia has created issues in all aspects of community development and family stability. The major problem plaguing our nation’s capitol is the rising rate of homelessness. Seeing individuals walking and sleeping amongst the streets of DC, one has to wonder how much is being done to provide shelter and other assistance to these individuals. Furthermore, the question of how homelessness affects our other aspects of living arises.
Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, a legal group committed to representing low and no income individuals, has just completed a study showing that it is difficult for families and individuals to find shelter during the winter. With standards set by the District Homeless Services Reform Act, the District of Columbia is already in violation of many of its standards. One standard DC is in violation of includes providing shelter to homeless families and individuals during the severe weather. Though Mayor Vincent Gray has decided to commit $100 million dollars to affordable housing programs, will this help to prevent the issues that homelessness has caused throughout the communities?
With changes and promises devoted to fixing the issue of homelessness, we have to look at how this major dilemma has created other issues for the District of Columbia.
One major aspect affected by homelessness includes education. DC has had constant issues with education and low test scores. Education Week published its 17th edition of Education Week’s Quality Counts, which ranks the schools in the United States on the basis of policy and performance, ranked the District of Columbia’s education at 45 of the 51 states.
It has been proven that high poverty communities show low test scores in the schools. With homelessness affecting the education rates of our community, educated parents have to decide whether to send their children to the public schools while low- and no-income families often have to settle with sending their children to the substandard schools.
So, how do we fix these issues? What can we do as individuals to help solve the issue of homelessness and low test scores? We at the Arch Inc. have decided to slowly assist these individuals with a clothing drive. As weather becomes more severe, having clothing is essential to making sure you are as warm as possible. If you would like to donate any old clothing to our cause, please send clothing to The Arch Inc, 3358 Dean Drive, Suite C, Hyattsville, MD 20782.