Instead of triaging, create housing
Thank you for the April 16 front-page article “Families fault D.C. shelter system,” which laid bare the terrible hardship faced by the District’s homeless families and ongoing violations of the legal right to shelter. Also critical is the larger context in which this crisis is playing out. The mother in the family highlighted by the article held a steady job, and her partner was sometimes employed, yet the family was unable to avoid homelessness.
While each family’s circumstances are unique, this much is clear: In the District, and in many communities around the country, escalating housing costs are severely squeezing many working families; for the poorest, homelessness is often the result. Instead of wasting resources on trying to “triage” desperate families, and in the process shifting blame to them by questioning whether they are “truly” homeless, the District should focus on creating housing that is truly affordable for even its lowest-income residents. Maria Foscarinis, Washington The writer is founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.