At its March 4 meeting, the city council heard, indirectly, from 64 people who live in Hyattsville — though not in houses or apartments of their own, but rather outdoors, in cars, or in other kinds of makeshift or temporary shelters.

Hyattsville commissioned a survey of unhoused residents, conducted in December 2023 and January 2024 by outreach workers from an organization called The h3 Project

Of the 64 people interviewed, 58 were men, and 50 preferred to respond in Spanish. Roughly half said they had experienced homelessness for one year or less. Four had been homeless for 15 or more years. Two were veterans. 

Twelve of those interviewed were originally from Maryland, whereas 22 said they arrived with the help of a “coyote,” a Spanish term for someone who smuggles people across borders illegally. Most said they wished to remain in Hyattsville because of local family and friends. 

Outreach workers asked about causes of homelessness: Thirty-six cited financial crisis, 33 mentioned family members or relationship fallout and 19 mentioned addiction. 

Only seven of those interviewed had a case manager. None were receiving social security benefits, though some worked as day laborers. All but one expressed interest in employment. 

Outreach workers asked about favorite pastimes. Soccer was mentioned most often, according to Amy Angell, the founder and director of The h3 Project, who presented the survey results during the council meeting.

Angell said outreach workers found two minors, ages 4 and 17, living with unhoused parents.

Survey participants received $10 gift cards, with the majority selecting gift cards to McDonald’s, according to Angell.