During Housing Crisis, Donations Keep Loudoun County Families Off the Streets

For the past ten years, Northern Virginia has experienced a boom in population accounting for 60% of the state’s growth, and the fastest growth is happening in Loudoun County. Situated a half hour from D.C, Loudoun offers an ideal place for commuters to reach newly constructed worksites like Amazon’s up-and-coming Crystal City. With growth comes new amenities, upscale restaurants, shopping and entertainment; unfortunately, the nearly 400,000 residents also face a crisis in affordable housing.

Along with the DC area at large, Loudoun has seen an increase in the number of homeless persons since 2000. As median housing prices rise and households have to choose between paying the rent and acquiring adequate nutrition for their residents, the county is struggling to identify or construct 11,200 additional rental units by the year 2040. Already, a third of all households in Loudoun must spend 30% of their incomes on rent and utilities alone, and things show little sign of improvement.

First, the number of available spaces to live in is rapidly shrinking: between January of 2018 and January of this year, the number of active listings fell 17.1% to 727. In the second place, average wages have not grown to meet the cost of housing which has risen 1.6% since last year. As a consequence, 17% of children in Loudoun County struggle with hunger, qualifying for meal assistance in public schools. For some, costs have forced them onto the streets, with homelessness among families rising 36% between 2017 and 2018.

“17% of children in Loudoun County struggle with hunger”

The evidence is clear that, for some residents of Loudoun County, the region’s growth has driven them to choose between the basic needs of food and shelter. And while local officials debate the best way of solving this problem, some families will depend on the charity of friends, neighbors and local businesses to make a concrete difference.

Today, donation and distribution programs like those supported and funded by Backpack Buddies Foundation of Loudoun are the best safety nets local residents have against poverty. For those facing economic struggles, they offer strong support; for those in a secure position, they offer an effective way to strengthen the area’s future.

We believe no child should go to school hungry, and nobody should be forced to sleep under a bridge. By spreading the word and giving assistance to the people who need it most, BBFL’s ongoing mission is to make sure that never happens. As a community, we have the power and resources to make that goal a reality: will it start with you?