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With Winter Comes Increased Need for Shelter

November 2, 2010

Over the last six months, Calvary has received requests for services from over 500 women we could not serve, a rate of two or three women every day.

Now that November has started, the city is officially in hypothermia mode. From now through the end of March, the District is legally obligated to provide emergency shelter to anyone who is in need. Problems begin to arise, however, when you take into account that, according to the Department of Human Services, homelessness in the metropolitan area is expected to increase 10% this winter. Unfortunately, such a rise in need doesn’t always correspond with a rise in available shelter.

“The District has about 6,500 homeless people, including 800 families with more than 1,500 children, according to a census taken this year by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.”
The Washington Post

Calvary is dedicated to providing individualized support to help women who come to us reach their goals in moving towards independent living. While we are proud to have served over 140 women last year, unfortunately we are unable to accommodate every woman who comes to us – and there is always a full wait list for one of the 25 beds in Calvary Women’s Shelter.

There’s already a chill in the air, and those of you who experienced last year’s Snowpocalypse know the incredible hardships that come along with winter in the District. Agencies around the area are scrambling to lay out plans to expand homeless services before even colder weather sets in. The city has allocated $2.2 million in their budget to provide shelter this winter. The real question is… will the resources they’ve set aside prove to be enough?

Last winter, area men and women seeking refuge from the cold often found themselves faced with shelters that were overcrowded. While the shelters’ open doors may have kept them out of the snow, these large capacity spaces offer few, if any, support services. Living in these conditions, it is unimaginably challenging to make positive changes like overcoming addictions, addressing physical and mental illnesses, regaining employment, or accessing education or job training programs.

The daily quality of life Calvary offers women is remarkably supportive in comparison. They are lucky enough to have a safe haven that empowers each of them to address their unique needs and move towards independence, so they never spend another winter without a warm bed to sleep in at night.

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