The Washington, D.C., area is experiencing a record drought that is causing many residents to ration water and tap into tap water wells in search of fresh supplies.
The Washington Post reports that the city of Washington, where the drought has lasted for nearly three years, has experienced its worst winter rainfall in nearly a century.
According to the Washington Post, the number of days with below-normal rainfall in the region increased to nearly 70 days, from 49 in January.
On the heels of the drought, the city is seeing an uptick in homeless people sleeping in parks and vacant homes, and more than 1,500 homeless people have been camping on the streets of the area.
In a recent report, the National Center for Homelessness and Poverty (NCHPP) warned that the state of Maryland has the second highest number of people sleeping outdoors, with more than 6,300 people sleeping outside the most recent census.
One man who had been homeless for more than a year was sleeping outside of the shelter on Tuesday, where he said he was being “punished” by authorities for his homeless status.
“They didn’t do anything to me.
I was on a bed, on a pillow.
They didn’t even give me anything to sleep on,” he told The Washington Times.
While homeless people are increasingly finding shelter and staying out of sight, a report by the Maryland Coalition for Homeless Youth found that more than 9,000 homeless youth are sleeping in the streets in Baltimore, with nearly two-thirds of those youth living in shelters.
More than 1.7 million people are homeless in the U.S., according to a report released last year by the U-M Health System.
Homelessness and mental health conditions have also increased in Baltimore due to a lack of affordable housing and mental illness.
An estimated 730,000 Baltimoreans live below the poverty line.
The city has a severe shortage of affordable rental housing, as well as shelter beds, and residents in the city who are homeless are forced to live in shelters for up to six months each year.
Residents of Baltimore are also seeing a resurgence in violent crime.
According to a Washington Post report, Maryland has recorded the highest rate of violent crime in the nation since 2005, when there was a record number of murders.
Authorities in the Baltimore area have also said that more people are committing crimes than ever before.