Shortly after the District’s memorial vigil for homeless persons ended, a woman died when a fire broke out in a boarded-up row house. She’d apparently taken shelter there. And that’s all we know for sure. No name. Just “an adult female in her mid-30’s” or maybe her 40’s, depending on which news report you read.
Was she there because she’d been turned away from a shelter that was full or because she preferred to hole up in an unheated building rather than try to get admitted?
In two recent local surveys, homeless people said they hadn’t gone to a shelter the night before because shelters were over-crowded, unsanitary and/or unsafe. Was she one of those? Or was she one of the people who didn’t go to a shelter because of problems with transportation? We’ll probably never know.
What we do know is that there is something dreadfully wrong when anyone in our community doesn’t have a safe, secure place to stay. How many more needless deaths will we have to mourn before we end this situation once and for all?