Counting Arlington’s homeless population one by one

A homeless encampment near 15th Street and I-395 just outside Pentagon City includes blankets, sleeping bags, shopping carts and personal accouterments. (WTOP/Alicia Lozano)

WASHINGTON — The snow crunched underfoot as volunteers carrying flashlights shimmied their way through a small opening in a chain link fence separating Crystal City from the Virginia Railway Express tracks.

One by one, they negotiated an icy incline and crossed the tracks onto a makeshift trail leading to a homeless encampment.

A snowy mattress marked the entrance. Tattered sweatshirts hung frozen on a clothesline, and leftover trash hinted at what used to be there.

“Hello!” calls David Ordo