Risks for homeless residents still prevalent in Montgomery Co., despite declining population

Homelessness may be trending downward in Montgomery County, Maryland, but it remains a life-threatening issue for the county’s unhoused.

Amanda Harris, chief of Services to End and Prevent Homelessness for the county, said 60 homeless residents died in the state’s largest county in 2021.

“We know that people experiencing homelessness have shorter life expectancies than the average person, and they also age prematurely, so it’s very hard on the body,” Harris said.

Harris said these deaths reflect a connection between housing and healthcare — the reason Montgomery County has moved 2,000 residents off the streets and into permanent housing in the past two years.

Councilmembers gathered with the community in Rockville on Wednesday to memorialize the county’s homeless residents who had died.

“This is not about data or facts. This is really about the community coming together,” Harris said. “We share stories about all the individuals that passed away. We also hear from folks that have been served through the homeless continuum to share their stories.”

According to a 2022 survey, there are currently 581 homeless people in Montgomery County.

Harris said the county aims to end homelessness for all populations by 2025.

WTOP’s Matthew Delaney contributed to this report.

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