- Automobile related - Broken down car, no insurance, tickets, etc.
- Decline in Public Assistance - Current TANF benefits and food stamps combined are below the poverty level in every state; in fact, the median TANF benefit for a family of three is approximately one-third of the poverty level. Thus, contrary to popular opinion, welfare does not provide relief from poverty.
- Divorce - Divorce often leaves one of the spouses homeless. Most often it’s the father, but sometimes it’s the mother and children or everyone involved.
- Domestic Violence - Battered women who live in poverty are often forced to choose between abusive relationships and homelessness.
- Drug and Alcohol related problems - Rates of alcohol and drug abuse are disproportionately high among the homeless population.
- Illness - For families and individuals struggling to pay the rent, a serious illness or disability can start a downward spiral into homelessness, beginning with a lost job, depletion of savings to pay for care, and eventual eviction.
- Job loss - No income to pay rent.
- Lack of affordable housing- The lack of affordable housing has lead to high rent burdens (rents which absorb a high proportion of income), overcrowding, and substandard housing.
- Lack of child support - In families where child support is ordered but not paid, the decrease in income can lead to an inability to pay rent, utilities, or both.
- Low wages - Declining wages have put housing out of reach for many workers: in every state, more than the minimum wage is required to afford a one- or two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent.
- Mental Illness - Approximately 20-25% of the single adult homeless population suffer from some form of severe and persistent mental illness.
- Natural Disaster / Fire - Situations where due to chance a fire, tornado, flood or hurricane renders housing inhabitable.
- Physical Disabilities - Disabled individuals may be unable to work or find appropriate employment. For those receiving SSI, they often struggle to obtain and maintain stable housing.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - This disorder is common with veterans and those that have been in violent situations. It can make it difficult to have a stable life.
- Poverty - Being poor means being an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from living on the streets.
- Roommates - When one or more roommates falls through with their end of the bargain, they can be a reason for others becoming homeless.
- Severe Depression - Can make it impossible for an individual to maintain a stable life.
- Tragedy - It is surprising how many people just quit functioning because their families died or were killed...sometimes recently...other times 15 years ago...other times 30 years ago.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Causes of homelessness
I found a good list online of the causes of homelessness...two I'd add...kids who age out of foster care, especially when their placements have not prepared them to live independently...and kids who have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused at home and run away...which ones can you add?