June 29, 2022

Art & Lifestyle:

Best and Worst of Times

Homelessness

Not to be trite, but Lexington Park, Maryland is in the best of times and the worst of times. A social services power point  on homelessness  drives the point home in bullets.

St. Mary’s County is growing faster than almost anywhere else in Maryland. That’s because of jobs, primarily at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

This county has the youngest population in the state and the highest concentration of military veterans. Veterans make up nearly 20 percent of the county population which is at 103,000 and growing.

For this best of news there is the natural flip-side.

The strongest economic engine in the state will draw all seeking an economic grip  – from the highest paid engineers to the chronically out of work drifters. And of course everyone in between.

The strongest economic engine drew the infrastructure that permits the least expensive housing. Indeed as poverty grew in Lexington Park as surely as wealth, this infrastructure became the mandate for subsidized housing. That means, in large part, the least affluent of our neighbors live the closest to the engine. That happens simply because it is a successful engine. You can’t have one without the other.

And not all live indoors. A place in time count in 2011 found between 1,100 and 1,500 homeless people in the area, and indicators anticipate growth right along with the county’s population.

Noteworthy in the report was the growing homelessness among the veteran population. Nearly one in five of the state’s homeless population are veterans. A Maryland estimate concludes that 107,000 veterans are homeless any given night.

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