DC Mayor Bowser grilled on claim that city has just 221 homeless people: 'What are you talking about?'
Homeless encampments can be found all across the nation's capital
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser stunned lawmakers when she testified that just over 200 homeless people live in the nation's capital on Tuesday.
Bowser made the claim during testimony before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee on Tuesday, telling Rep. William Timmons, R-S.C., that her numbers are "the facts," despite other estimates being far higher.
"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."
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"Councilman [Charles] Allen gave me a 5,000 number. He sent me a report that was produced by your --," Timmons said before Bowser cut 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, exasperated.
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Timmons' office provided a copy of the homelessness report he referenced to Fox News Digital. It is a point-in-time report from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments stating that the city has 4,922 "people experiencing literal homelessness" as of 2023.
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Bowser cited the 2022 version of the same report in a press release from her own office in April of last year. The 2022 report found that there were 4,410 homeless people in the city, and she touted that the number was down 13.7% from 2021.
The 2023 report from the MWCG found that the D.C.'s whole metropolitan area has a homeless population of 8,944, though that report includes some areas not technically within the city limits.
Bowser's office did not immediately respond to a request to explain how she arrived at the 221 number. Nor did they explain why it was so much lower than her past estimate of 4,410.
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Homeless encampments can be found throughout the nation's capital, with populations congregating under freeways and around major landmarks like Union Station. City and federal officials have moved to clear out some encampments, but many remain.