The United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines a person as being homeless when they “reside in some form of an emergency or transitional shelter; or in places not meant for human habitation (such as: streets, parks, alleys, or abandoned buildings).” In the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, according to the Council of Governments’(COG’s) 2011 Regional Portrait of Homelessness Report, approximately 11,988 persons in the metropolitan D.C. area were reported as being officially homeless. Of this number, D.C. reported 6,546 cases; Prince Georges County reported 773 homeless families; while nearby jurisdictions of Alexandria, VA reported 416 cases; and Montgomery County, MD reported 1,132 cases.
Unfortunately, what the statistics do not report is the number of homeless youth, pregnant teens and women with HIV/AIDs, which are actually living in the metro DC/MD area. In fact, according to HUD, it is almost impossible to validate the number of youth that are homeless, as often they are living on the street; or bouncing from one friends couch to another. As a result, seldom will numbers for homeless youth in a specific geographic area be the true statistic.
In 2011, the entire state of Maryland reported only 327 permanent supportive housing beds. An additional 105 beds are reserved for the mentally ill and chemically dependent. This alone makes an even greater case for the need of additional residential housing and shelters. (Source: www.HomelessShelterDirectory.org).
Although, there are other residential programs for persons with severe mental illness; as of yet, there is no known Maryland (MD) residential facility solely devoted to helping homeless young women, especially those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. In fact, in 2010, the state of Maryland ranked 2nd highest for AIDS cases reported among all U.S. states. Consequently, this made MD’s cases 2.05% higher than the national average AIDS case rate.
There is also documented proof that homeless youth face even greater barriers than homeless adults. Specifically, they lack options; have less education and little to no income compared to most adults. As such, it would be very beneficial to have a place for young homeless women to come to for refuge. Arnold Place will be a house of serenity that will provide young women hope, direction and the help needed to get their lives on track.