Community News: Homelessness Point-in-Time Count 2024, McLean Day, Skate Rink, Honor Guard

Community News: Homelessness Point-in-Time Count 2024, McLean Day, Skate Rink, Honor Guard

Community News at a Glance

Point-in-time count demographics for Fairfax County

Point-in-time count demographics for Fairfax County

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Homeless Services Planning and Coordinating Committee's regional point-in-time counts are a "limited and imperfect perspective." In their May 2024 report, the authors acknowledge that it is a single-night snapshot of who is experiencing homelessness in the metropolitan Washington area. Weather, shelter bed availability and other variables affect the count, which does not show the scope of homelessness or the number of people assisted weekly, monthly, or annually.

“It is not unusual for a jurisdiction to serve as many as four or five times the number of people during a year as are counted during one night of the PIT enumeration.” [Homelessness in Metropolitan Washington [pg. 8]

People experiencing homelessness by jurisdiction 


In Fairfax County, 1,278 people reported homelessness on the night of  January 24, 2024, a reduction of 2% from 2023. Fairfax County was the sole jurisdiction in the metropolitan Washington region’s homeless services system that recorded a decrease. 

The counties of Arlington, Loudoun, Montgomery, Prince George's and Prince William; the City of Alexandria, and the District of Columbia all saw percentage increases from 2023 to 2024. The highest percentage change was 38 percent in Loudoun County, followed by 28 percent in Montgomery County, Md.

Nine thousand seven hundred seventy-four people were recorded in the metropolitan Washington region’s homeless services system — the total excluded persons who doubled up with family or friends per HUD restrictions. From 2023 to 2024, regional homeless count rose by 1,078, a 12 percent rise. 

The 2024 Point-in-Time (PIT) enumeration also shows how many individuals use year-round winter shelters, emergency shelters, safe havens, transitional housing, and permanent housing solutions.

A critical finding of the report is that with COVID-19 ending, federal emergency funding for rental assistance programs and eviction prevention measures ended. Rising housing costs compound those losses. The collaborating jurisdictions and service providers worry that many more region residents will become homeless. The lack of affordable and available permanent homes for the lowest-income households is one of the biggest challenges to reducing homelessness in the area.

HUD mandates that communities that receive federal funds conduct the annual count during the last ten days of January. The count uses electronic administrative records to enumerate people living in shelters. Metropolitan Washington CoCs have also counted unsheltered people yearly for 24 years even though it is only required every other year.

Visit  Point-in-Time Count 2024, Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness, to learn more about trends by household types and subpopulations, including chronic homelessness, veterans,  youth ages 18-24, survivors of domestic violence, and demographics. 



The decision on who in the Fairfax County Public School division will receive a pay increase and the amount for FY2025, starting July 1, 2024, lies in the hands of the Fairfax County School Board. The board will adopt the FY 2025 Approved Budget on Thursday, May 23.

Community News at a Glance

Last-ditch attempt for targeted FCPS pay increases at 5%.

On Thursday, May 23, Mateo Dunne, the Mount Vernon District Representative on the Fairfax County School Board, will launch an effort through motion to amend the superintendent’s proposed FY 2025 Approved Budget. He aims to replace Superintendent Michelle Reid’s 3.0 percent across-the-board pay raise with a “targeted” 5.0 percent pay increase for the division’s personnel and teachers. The school board is adopting the FY 2025 Approved Budget that evening. 

From the beginning of the Fairfax County School Board budget discussions in January of this year, Dunne and some of the other school board representatives objected to any pay raise for administrators. Dunne has consistently argued that the pay raise should focus on teachers and support staff, including cafeteria workers, custodians, librarians, school bus drivers, and school counselors. 

“These are the people who educate, feed, transport and care for our children during the school day, and they are the ones who deserve a salary increase this year,” Dunne said in a statement that  every single dollar should be spent to ensure they receive fair and just compensation.” 

The school board approved the FY25 Budget Priorities Resolution on January 25, 2024.

Dunne noted  in his  statement the resolution directed Reid to include competitive pay with consideration ‘for differentiated pay for hard-to-fill positions, such as teachers in Title I schools and special education teachers.’  “Instead, the superintendent proposed an across-the-board 6 percent pay raise for all FCPS employees, including herself,” Dunne said.

Dunne wrote in an email that currently the superintendent “earns more than the president [of the United States] and her chief of staff is paid more than the secretary of defense. “It is unconscionable to increase the pay of administrators at a time when our teachers are overworked and underpaid,” Dunne said.

An outcry from some Fairfax County Public Schools staff and others erupted at last week’s budget public hearings as Fairfax County Public Schools attempted to finalize its fiscal year 2025 budget, currently written with Reid’s recommended reduced compensation adjustment from 6.0 to 3.0 percent for all staff. She reduced compensation across the board because state and county money for schools came in at less than the schools budget called for. The county budget reduced the amount for schools by $89,028,182 less, and state revenue was also reduced by $16,291,557 less.

Fairfax County Public Schools annual FY 2024 budget will increase from $3.5 billion to $3.7 billion in FY 2025. Dunne states, “In particular, the county is providing an additional $165 million, which results in the FY 2025 budget being the largest budget increase for FCPS in over ten years,” Dunne added.


The Fairfax County Sheriff’s deputies who marched in the Honor Guard competition, winning first place, are (from left) PFC Benedict, PFC Sapp, PFC Harb, PFC Chong, and PFC Felder, with Sheriff Stacey Kincaid who is holding the First Place plaque and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Rodney Lusk, (Franconia), vice chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Board of Directors, which sponsors the annual Corrections Wreath Laying Ceremony and Honor Guard Competition.

 Sheriff’s Honor Guard team wins 1st place.

 The Fairfax County Sheriff's Honor Guard team won 1st place in the Wreath Laying Ceremony and Honor Guard Competition at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., on May 6. A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office said, “The team worked very hard on their routine. Sheriff Kincaid and all her sworn and civilian staff are proud of their accomplishment and well-deserved recognition.”



Fairfax County Park Authority’s first inline skate rink celebrates opening with a ribbon cutting.

 County Park Authority opens first inline skate rink.

On Saturday, May 11, the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Washington Capitals launched the first inline skating rink in the county with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and free hockey instruction. The rink is located at Lake Fairfax.

“This new outdoor rink is focused on ball hockey and inline hockey, and we are excited for the programming that will take place here for years to come,” said Peter Robinson, Capitals director of youth hockey development.

Jeff McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, appreciates the partnership with the Washington Capitals. What he loves most about the inline skate rink is that it helps to level the playing field, he said. The facility allows people to come and use it, removing the cost burden.

“It's part of our One Fairfax mission to make sure equity drives everything we do, and this is a true testament to that,” McKay said.

Jai Cole, the Park Authority executive director, attended the opening. “One of the reasons we have a world-class park system is that we work with our community to provide a wide variety of amenities to support a whole world of interests.” 


Earlier this year, sewage flowed in DC Water’s Manhole #31 in Great Falls, located approximately a football field length from the Potomac River and near 18 private wells. (File image)

Update to Potomac Interceptor Sewer Line Repairs

The Great Falls Citizens Association released an update on May 10 on efforts to restore the Potomac Interceptor Sewer Line that failed in late February. The Connection reported the failure in the story “Major Sewage Line Fails Near Potomac River in Great Falls” as part of its March 6–12, 2024 edition.

According to the update on the GFCA website, Tijuana Haynes, a public outreach consultant at DP Consultants, Inc., shared the following information with the Great Falls community: DP successfully installed a temporary pipe to convey the flow into the existing manhole 31 (MH-31). The sinkhole location has been backfilled and restored. The project no longer relies on bypass pumps to convey flow. Normal work hours, Monday through Friday, resumed on May 13. To mitigate foul odors, DP has installed an odor suppression system on the premises. They are currently cleaning the Potomac Interceptor between MH-31 and MH-30, and DP estimates a completion date of Dec. 31, 2024.

Email Tijuana Haynes at for further information.

The Potomac Interceptor sanitary sewer system carries about 60 million gallons of wastewater daily from areas near Dulles Airport to the Potomac Pumping Station in Washington, DC. After being treated by the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, the pump station's flows are released into the Potomac River.


Julie Kagler of Parks and Recreation of the Town of Herndon checks off t-shirt distribution for Todd and Alexis Sloan Johnstone of Herndon during the  Fairfax County Bike to Work Day 2024 held Friday, May 17.

Bike to Work Day, Town of Herndon

Even before the first light of dawn broke on Friday, May 17, bicyclists peddled into the Fairfax Bike to Work Day 2024 pit stop on the Town Hall Green in the Town of Herndon. It was one of 27 different pit stops across Fairfax County this year for bicyclists during the 23rd annual Bike to Work Day. Commuter Connections, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), and other local governments hosted dozens more pit stops throughout the National Capital.


Shortly after 8 a.m., the Herndon Town Green was packed with cyclists. 



McLean Day, Soggy but Happy

Dad Bret Gallager and his two children set out to enjoy time at McLean Day and stop to talk with Doug Jeffery, a Governing Board candidate whose name McLean released in preliminary results on May 18, as an individual elected to serve a three-year term on the board. 

 Election volunteer Jane Pacelli hands an eligible voter a ballot.

Henry Linnemeier, 13,  has mastered the art of riding a bull given his proper positioning and gip to maintain balance. His mom, watching from the side, said there would be no bull riding for her. “I’m just going to have fun watching him,” she said.

Despite the constant mist and rain throughout the day, people flocked to McLean Day 2024, held on Saturday, May 18. Once again, the community's biggest annual festival showcased many attractions. Live music, gourmet food truck selections, and various games delighted the attendees. Over 100 exhibitors and sponsors were present, offering giveaways and creating a vibrant atmosphere. The event also featured entertainment such as balloon animals, magicians, amusements, and a range of carnival rides to suit all ages.
During the Carnival Rides on Friday and McLean Day on Saturday, residents of District 1A who were eligible to vote had the opportunity to choose their candidates for the McLean Community Center 2024 Governing Board. Ten adults and five teens competed to become members of the volunteer board that oversees the McLean Community Center. The board plays a crucial role in providing policy guidance, strategic planning, and ensuring the proper management of finances.

McLean released preliminary results on May 18, announcing the individuals elected to serve terms on the board. Doug Jeffery, Michael Monroe, and Peter Pin have been elected to serve 3-year terms, while Ron Kessing will serve a 1-year unexpired term. Sonya Thott will represent the Langley High School boundary area, while Aaron Stark will represent the McLean High School boundary. 


Oakton Student Wins Poetry Prize

In the Gaithersburg (Maryland) Book Festival poetry contest for high school students, second prize went to Oakton, Va., resident Isabela Revis, a sophomore at Oakton High School, for "The Bloody Lane.” 

Contest judge Clint Smith, a local poet and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction for his book “How the Word is Passed,” announced the top three winners at the Festival on May 18.

“These poems demonstrate a remarkable command of the craft and show extraordinary creativity,” Smith said of the winning poems. “I am in awe of these young poets. Their work took my breath away.”

Chelsea Zhu, a sophomore at Richard Montgomery High School and an Rockville, Md., resident, was awarded first prize for "Voyage to the Exoplanet." Ayomi Mukerjee, a Gaithersburg, Md., resident and freshman at Thomas Wootton High School, received third prize for "My hair’s twists and tangles."  Ariana Miranda, a senior at Wheaton High School and resident of Silver Spring, Md., won the fan favorite contest with her poem, “Color Coded.”


RESTON Photo #s 265-269

Kofi, Tracy, and Shanelle of Reston enjoy their Saturday at the Tephra ICA Festival at Reston Town Center.

33rd annual Tephra ICA Arts Festival

The Tephra ICA Festival held at Reston Town Center May 18-19  shaped up to be a great weekend event featuring contemporary artists and artisans from over 25 states producing high quality, hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind artwork. Robert Goudie, executive director of Reston Town Center Association, said the festival featured 216 artists this year, many first-timers.

“It’s as good a show as we've ever had.,” said Goudie. “And look at the people who are already out despite the drizzle. That tells you how much people are looking forward to this.”


Vienna Adopts Town Budget

The Vienna Town Council adopted the Town budget, real  estate tax rate, and water and sewer rates for fiscal year 2025. The adopted $53.8-million balanced budget reflects current economic conditions related to inflation and supply chain  issues and: 

• Maintains property tax rate at 19.5 cents per $100 of assessed value 

• Addresses inflationary increases in operating costs, mainly through tax revenue  increases related to assessed value of new construction 

• Funds compensation increases for eligible employees 

• Provides a night shift pay differential to police officers who work overnight 

• Adds one personnel position identified as a priority – An after-hours information  technology position to support police, the community center and other after-hours IT  needs 

This is the 12th consecutive year there was either no change or a  reduction in Vienna’s property tax rate.  

The adopted budget also includes a 10 percent increase in water and sewer bills. The result is an average annual water  service increase of $100. 

I-66 EMP Partners with Educate Fairfax Foundation

With its recent contribution of $15,000, I-66 Express Mobility Partners (I-66 EMP) became a 2024 Annual Partner with Educate Fairfax, the not-for-profit educational foundation serving Fairfax County Public Schools. I-66 EMP's contribution will help support Educate Fairfax to foster workforce readiness and career development.

Dr. Lynette Henry, executive director for Educate Fairfax, said "Our 2024 partnership with EMP is a tremendous boon for the students we serve."

I-66 EMP is the builder and operator of the 66 Express Outside the Beltway that runs through Fairfax County to I-495. In April of this year, I-66 EMP contributed funds to provide 10 student needs-based scholarships to the FCPS Tech Adventure Camp this summer. During 2023, the roadway operator made a donation to the foundation that went towards supporting the Innovators Fund, a program which augments STEM education, as well as the Kids In Need Fund, which provides essential school supplies for students from low-income households.

Since the relationship between I-66 EMP and Educate Fairfax began in 2019, three years before the 66 Express Outside the Beltway opened to the public, the transportation infrastructure consortium has contributed a total of $140,250 to FCPS’s not-for-profit foundation.

Raffle for Scholarships

The Herndon-Reston Rotary Club is raising money for its scholarships for South Lakes High School and Herndon High School. The $5 raffle is a great way to support local students. Purchasing raffle tickets is 100% online. The winner will be drawn electronically, too. Please help our students out. Everyone and anyone can help a little, and our kids will gain a lot. The winner receives a 1-month membership to D1 Reston, a $100 gift card to Glory Days Reston, and a gift basket valued at $100 from Weird Brothers Coffee. Winner will be notified by email after the raffle drawing on June 7, 2024.