WASHINGTON — Through shelters and motel rooms, the District expects to provide a roof for more than 700 homeless families this winter, by far the most ever.
But by limitation or personal choice, other homeless people, particularly individuals, are planning to brave the elements.
In the past few weeks, a homeless encampment along Rock Creek Parkway near Virginia Avenue has swelled, with more tents going up daily.
“About 12 new people have come in the last three days,” says one man who didn’t give his name. “The problem is that we don’t have work and some are disabled.”
On Monday afternoon, 14 tents — some with multiple rooms — dotted the grassy area just north of the Watergate.
It’s unclear how many recently became homeless. All said the tents — which appear new — were donated.
“Winter’s coming, and folks got to get up out from the rivers and from underneath the trees,” says a man who gave his name as John, who’s spent years in the area.
City agencies come by this and other encampments regularly, both to check on the welfare of the people there and to clean out the debris.
During winter, workers clean up debris, but they don’t take down tents or other garments that protect people from the elements.
The District’s Department of Human Services housed 12 people from the encampment this summer, the agency said.