The Coalition’s take on contributors to homelessness
Earlier this week, we shared some of the factors National Alliance to End Homelessness believes contribute to people becoming homeless (see our full post here). Today, as promised, we are sharing what we think are the top contributors to homelessness. As a bonus, we are sharing stories from our clients that demonstrate exactly what we are talking about.
At the Coalition, we commonly share that there are four main contributors to homelessness:
Lack of affordable housing and low wages:
The primary cause of homelessness is a lack of rental housing that very low-income people can afford. In Orlando, service industry employment accounts for 40% of jobs, with resulting wages of $8 per hour with limited benefits. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Orlando requires an hourly wage of nearly $18.00 (according to our most recent statistics) – making it almost impossible for a couple to afford, even with both working 40 hours per week at $8 per hour. Connie (shown in the video above wearing a pink shirt) is a great example of someone who just couldn’t make ends meet.
Loss of income or unemployment:
Any disruption for low-income families – unexpected illness and medical expenses, unemployment, divorce, loss of transportation, etc. – can create a housing crisis and may make it impossible for families to maintain their housing. The MacLaren family, shown in the video above, is a heartrending example of how an economic downturn can result in tragedy for a family.
Victims of domestic violence flee their homes, sometimes with only the clothes on their backs. Lisa, who tells her story in the video above, is a prime example of one of these victims. At our Women’s Residential and Counseling Center (WRCC), for example, almost 75% of the women and children are victims of crime, predominantly domestic violence.
Drug/alcohol addiction or mental illness:
Addictions and mental illness have a larger impact on the chronic homeless male population than on women and families. And even so, we have seen so many of our First Steps (a substance abuse recovery program) clients return to sobriety and self-sufficiency. Stephen is an inspiring example of how a homeless drug addict can get back on his feet, even going from ‘drug addict to Mr. Mom.’ Read his story!
After reading these four contributors to homelessness, and reviewing our earlier post on the same subject, we want to know what your opinion. How do you think homelessness happens?
PS – we know we have shared our video once before on this blog, but the stories included are so relevant to today’s topic, we just couldn’t resist sharing it again!