There are a variety of contributors which can lead to someone becoming homeless, such as loss of income, domestic violence, drug/alcohol addiction, mental illness, healthcare costs, etc. But one of the primary contributors to homelessness, especially in Central Florida, is lack of affordable housing. As we mentioned in a previous blog, the Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Central Florida is a staggering $1,052. This high cost of renting can cause homeless individuals to get creative when searching for housing.
Alternative housing is not a new concept. For years, homeless individuals have lived in cars, tents, motels, and sheds, etc. Recently, an article posted on www.povertyinsights.org shed some light on another unconventional form of housing in California, public storage.
When you initially read that people are being “stored” in units just like furniture or extra junk, the idea seems de-humanizing. As you read further, you can see how this might be appealing to some. Storage units include a dry place to sleep, air-conditioning and a security gate – all for about $100 a month. Sounds ideal right?
Yes, this situation might sound tempting, but only for the short term. Living in a storage unit will not help a homeless person gain the skills needed so they can live a self-sufficient, productive life.
We at the Coalition are trying to help homeless individuals find permanent solutions rather than just a “quick-fix.” Homeless individuals and families are much more than “storage.” Our goal is to stop the cycle of homelessness; and our services, including education and job skills training, will help homeless individuals not just for today, but for tomorrow and the rest of their lives.
Our hope is that fewer individuals will choose these unconventional forms of housing and seek the opportunities that we and other shelters across the country provide.