The Cold Reality of Homelessness in Alexandria


One day last week, as I stood waiting outside the Metro station for my bus to get me home, the wind picked up and the temperature was definitely dropping.  I shivered, but was glad to have a warm coat, gloves, scarf, and hat.  At home, the heat is on a timer so my house is nice and welcoming when I get there after a long day at the office.  I am lucky and very thankful to have a cozy, warm house to come home to at the end of a day, as you probably are too.

Homelessness in Alexandria

Many people in our area do not have those comforts or basic things necessary to stay warm and safe as the wind picks up and the temperature falls.  According to the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance’s report,  Homeless in Northern Virginia: Local Communities Respond To Preventing and Ending Homelessness [PDF], in 2009 there were more than 3,000 people homeless in Northern Virginia, almost 10% of these were in Alexandria.

The people at Alexandria-based Carpenters Shelter are working to “end homelessness through services, education, and advocacy” and have been since 1988.  From November through April every year, Carpenters’ Shelter, with the assistance of several area churches, annually provides nearly 300 homeless families and individuals with a warm, safe place to sleep.  You can get involved with this important mission this winter by volunteering with the Carpenter’s Shelter, or by giving a simple cash donation.

The Emergency Shelter is open now through April 15, 7pm until 7am.

More Than Just Emergency Shelter

Not only does the Carpenter’s Shelter provide emergency shelter and winter warmth to homeless families and individuals, but they also house more than 100 children and 400 people throughout the year in the residential shelter.  They help people build life skills so they can rise out of homelessness and into cozy, warm places of their own.  You can help the Shelter tutor children, provide basic, daily necessities for the chronically homeless, or just volunteer to help when you have time.

CONTACT CARPENTER’S SHELTER:
www.CaprentersShelter.org
930 N. Henry Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-7500 (phone)
(703) 548-3167 (fax)
Email: information@carpentersshelter.org

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