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Charles County May Be the Wealthiest, but Homelessness is Still Here

Sandy Washington meticulously oversees the day-to-day operations of the largest nonprofit in southern Maryland as the chief executive officer of Lifestyles of Southern Maryland, helping people who are experiencing homelessness to discover a better quality of life. 

“Homelessness is the state they’re in – it’s not who they are. If we start realizing these are people that have had life experiences that brought them to that part, and but for the grace of God go I …and so we have to think of that and know that what I do for you I’m doing because who I represent and what I believe,” said Sandy Washington, Chief Executive Officer, Lifestyles of Southern Maryland.

Census Data recently distinguished Charles County, Maryland as the wealthiest black county in the nation. 

However, data also shows that over 14 percent of Charles County experienced severe housing problems in 2021 and nearly ten percent of children were living in poverty. 

“There’s one person that may have gone through sex trafficking, there’s someone else that’s renting a home, the owner sold the home and now their family is out on the street. There’s someone else that lost their income and they don’t have a means of getting back on their feet and people that experienced evictions,” said Washington. 

She expressed the importance of helping people who are experiencing homelessness to navigate ways to find those basic needs like food, shelter and clothing.

“ So when we start talking about value and wealth, wealth is a lot of other things other than money. Can you invest in making sure that someone finds housing and keeps it?”

Washington continues to explore solutions to help those who are left in the aftermath of housing increases and inflation, with the help of investors who support her mission to make shelters more livable and to give people a second chance at success. 

“ It’s truly intensive to house one person or one family depending on the circumstances. Our community has to decide, do you have the time? Do you have the time to care? Do you have the time to make sure this person gets from step A to step B? Is it worth it to you?”

Lifestyles Volunteers gather for Point in time Annual homelessness count