Washington DC is struggling for answers after figures reveal that a record 4,000 people now live in the capital’s homeless shelters.
It is an expensive and complex problem for the city as authorities are legally required to provide shelter for those in need when temperatures fall below freezing.
As many as 12 new homeless families contact the city for help every night.
Anthony White is one such man who has fallen into the homeless trap: “I feel hurt on the inside, I do not feel like a man on the inside, because I can’t provide for my family, I can’t provide for my kids. And I’m asking everybody for a handout.”
An acute shortage of affordable housing, rising rents and low-pay are key factors.
Jasmine Hayes is from the Council of Homelessness:
“DC is an example of what is happening in cities across the country – there is a severe lack of affordable housing. I think anywhere in this city you see a lot of construction and building but this is not affordable housing for the really low-income families and individuals that need access to those kinds of resources.”
The problem has been acknowledged by the administration with President Obama announcing an extra $345m to tackle the issue nationwide.