OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
2:55 PM – Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser baffled legislators when she claimed in her testimony that there are just over 200 homeless persons living in the nation’s capital.
In her hearing on Tuesday before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, Bowser asserted that her figures are “the facts,” despite the fact that other estimates are far higher. She spoke with Representative William Timmons (R-S.C.).
“Do you agree that we have a major, major problem in Washington, D.C., as it relates to homelessness?” Timmons asked.
“We have 221 people, as of today’s count, who are living on the street,” Bowser responded. “Those are the people that you are referring to.”
“Councilman [Charles] Allen gave me a 5,000 number. He sent me a report that was produced by your –,” Timmons said prior to Bowser interrupting him off.
“There are not 5,000 people living on the street, sir –,” she said before being cut off herself.
“There’s 221 people living under 395. We can go right now. It’s 300 yards away,” Timmons responded. “What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about facts,” Bowser said. “There are not 300 people under 295 or 395. We have outreach teams that are out across all eight wards, and those are the facts.”
“Your own councilman sent me a report saying 5,000 people are homeless in D.C. What are you – OK, look, we’re going to move on,” Timmons said.
A copy of the homelessness study from Timmons’ office showed that, according to a point-in-time study from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, 4,922 “people experiencing literal homelessness” were present in the city as of 2023.
In a news statement issued by her own office in April of last year, Bowser used the report’s 2022 iteration. According to the 2022 report, there were 4,410 homeless individuals in the city, a 13.7% decrease from 2021, she boasted.
Despite the inclusion of certain regions that are not strictly inside the city limits, the MWCG report from 2023 revealed that 8,944 people were homeless throughout the entire Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
A request for Bowser’s office to clarify how she calculated the 221 number went unanswered. The mayor’s office also did not explain why she chose a number that was far less than her earlier estimate of 4,410.
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