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Report finds rise in D.C. poverty to nearly 1 in 5 residents

This month, The Washington Post reported that the District is being overwhelmed by a rise in homelessness, resulting in about 200 families jammed into a shelter meant for 35. A Post story in January reported that D.C. service centers that process welfare and other aid applications were so crowded that some applicants had to wait for days to try to get assistance.

With the District facing a $500 million budget gap in fiscal 2010, the city's social service network could be hit with more budget cuts this spring.

Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, said the city can't tap reserve funds to close the shortfall without risking its credit rating on Wall Street. Evans also noted that the council raised cigarette, sales and income taxes to help fill a budget gap last year.

"You are left with human services, public safety and education, and the mayor told me he is not cutting education," Evans said.

Staff writer Carol Morello contributed to this report.

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