Homelessness spiked in Arlington Co. last year. Here’s what a DC-based organization is doing to help

This D.C.-based nonprofit has been helping people experiencing homelessness in the city since the time of the Civil War. Now, Central Union Mission is expanding into Northern Virginia.

President and CEO Joseph Mettimano said there’s a great need.

“There is a tremendous population of low-income families and homeless folks in Northern Virginia as well,” Mettimano said.

In fact, he said homelessness spiked 17% in Arlington County alone last year.

The new venture will operate out of Greenbriar Baptist Church in Arlington. Mettimano said it will offer the essentials, such as food and clothing.

“But in addition to that we’re going to provide job training and job placement, education, helping people with addictions,” he said.

He said English as a second language classes will also be offered, along with after-school programs for kids.

The mission accepts volunteers and donations, but he said you can start helping by doing something simple if you see someone who could use a little help.

“When you see a person on the street, I think we all tend to not want to make eye contact,” Mettimano said. “That’s very dehumanizing to a person on the street, to not even be recognized as a person, so I encourage people just to say hello.”

Central Union Mission began its work in D.C. during the Civil War, helping soldiers who found themselves on the street. The organization recently celebrated 140 years of helping vulnerable people in the community.

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Kyle Cooper

Weekend and fill-in anchor Kyle Cooper has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years, Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP, Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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