Helping homeless people means feeding, caring, clothing and educating them so they can get employed and back on their feet.
INCOME AND EDUCATION
Over 60,000 people living in Fairfax County live below the poverty level and over 90,000 of 25+ year olds living in Fairfax did not graduate high school. This creates an income and education problem that can lead to homelessness.
3,000 people experience homelessness everyday in Fairfax County. And more than 10,000 people per year in Fairfax need emergency housing payment assistance to prevent families and individuals from falling into homelessness. It’s our desire to transition people experiencing chronic homelessness to get back on their feet through serving meals, providing showers, clean laundry, counseling and employment assistance.
Barriers to Housing
The fair market rent in the Fairfax area for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,318 per month and a two-bedroom apartment is $1,494 per month. In order for this to be affordable, a single parent working full time would have to earn $28 per hour.
Many people experiencing homeless have a disability that affects their ability to earn a living. Even if a person with a disability receives Supplemental Security Income, its monthly average is only $674 or 15% of what they need to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
People earning minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour, earn only 1/4 of what a person would need to afford a two-bedroom apartment in our community. Most of them have incomes below the poverty line, $11,170/person.
Mental Illness and Addictions
Over 60% of our guests suffer from pervasive, long-term mental-illness or addictions. And about 20% of our guests are veterans or ex-offenders. Many are chronic and transient homeless who survive wherever possible including the street.
Many apartment complexes, landlords and owners require a renter to have a great credit score. Divorce, medical issues, poor decision-making and other factors can lead to deterioration of credit and can prevent people from securing housing.
Lack of transportation can hinder one’s ability to go to work, take one’s children to day care or doctor’s appointments, or to other essential places that contribute to stability. The result is often catastrophic and can lead to homelessness.
“Come inherit the Kingdom prepared for you… for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat… thirsty and you gave me a drink… a stranger and you welcomed me… when you did it for one of the least of my brothers and sisters… you were doing it for me.”
– Matthew 25:34-35,40
ADDING IT UP: THE RETURN
Every $1 invested in serving and counseling homeless people can have huge returns for the local economy. By helping homeless people clean up, secure employment and have transportation and directing them to sustainable housing initiatives, we can have a big impact at a surprisingly low cost. Just $100 provides all of our guests with hot showers and laundry for one day.