In one of the richest and most powerful cities in America, homelessness is reaching crisis point – a record 4,000 people are in emergency shelters in Washington DC, many of them children.

The easiest way to explain away homelessness is to make it personal: drug abuse, mental health issues, alcoholism. However, in the US capital the easy answer is no longer the right one.

In a city with one of the highest concentrations of personal wealth in America, income inequality is growing.

Rising rents and a lack of affordable housing are changing the profile of those people with nowhere to live.

Alongside the chronic homeless with long-term needs, are a rising number of families and people who have previously held down jobs.

Now President Barack Obama has announced he wants to spend an extra £345m in 2016 to help tackle homelessness, alongside rental assistance for an additional 67,000 families.

Crystal White used to work in a dialysis centre, her husband Anthony is a qualified chef. After losing their jobs in Florida they moved to DC with their two young children, living in motels.

Things snowballed when their family car broke down and they struggled to find work. Running out of money, they were forced to sleep overnight at the train station.

Crystal said: “You really don’t want to fall asleep there, so you have to keep your eyes open. It was just really hard.”

The family are now living at the Central Union Mission, a faith-based shelter that relies on donations to provide food and beds for hundreds of homeless people every day… see more

source: skynews