The number of homeless people in Fairfax County has decreased about 14 percent since 2007, according to the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness.
Partnership Chairman Michael O’Reilly presented an update on his organization’s 10-year plan to end homelessness in the area on Tuesday during the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting.
As of Jan. 26, 2011, there were 1,549 homeless people in the county, he said, down from 1,800 in 2007. The 10-year plan’s ultimate goal is to make affordable housing accessible to “every person who is homeless or at risk of being homeless” by Dec. 31, 2018.
Of those 1,549 people, 883 were persons in families and 666 were single adults.
According to the presentation, 60 percent of single homeless individuals suffered from disabilities, including mental illness, substance abuse and chronic health problems.
The cost of living in the Fairfax-Falls Church community plays an integral role in these numbers.
The fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,328 per month, O’Reilly said, and a two-bedroom apartment is about $1,500 per month. A household would need to earn more than $5,000 a month to afford such a place.
“Its impossible to pay for an apartment in our community if you’re earning minimum wage,” he said.
The partnership came up a bit short in its goal to provide 228 housing units in fiscal year 2011, as it was only able to secure 196 units, leaving a gap of 32.
The 10-year plan requires 2,650 units to be made available to homeless individuals by 2018.
O’Reilly said the partnership needed to look at new and creative ways to acquire funding and housing in order to meet that goal.
“Our goals cannot be met by just repurposing the scarce resources that we have,” he said.
During all of the fiscal year 2011, the Fairfax-Falls Church community served 2,982 people who suffered from homelessness in fiscal 2011. Of those people, 714 were moved to permanent housing.
Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee) called attention to 875 homeless children whose families were helped during fiscal 2011.
“That, roughly, is an entire elementary school,” McKay said. “We don’t want to lose sight of those kids. The chance of them succeeding is directly related to some semblance of a stable home life, which starts with having a house.”