Finding housing can be a challenge to lower middle-income people. For people in the poverty range it can seem insurmountable.When Istarted learning from people about how they ended up homeless I was astounded at the myriad of barriers people were faced with trying to get housed again.
Serious illness: I have personally met three people who had worked all there lives and became seriously ill, two had cancers and one had surgery with complications involving MERSA. They all ended up losing their houses, life savings, and all other items of value. The devastation of their illnesses, and the pain of the material losses that they lived through are heartbreaking. Two of the men are housed now and I can’t find any information about the third.
Natural Disasters: Hurricane Katrina, House fires, tornado’s etc
Foreclosure/Evictions: The massive number of foreclosures caused by poor banking practices has caused a wave of homelessness. It not only affects the owner of the property, it also has displaced a large number of renters.People who have paid rent for years are finding themselves scrambling for a place to stay.When a family has been living paycheck to paycheck and they are evicted,the moving costs, higher,and first and last rental costs are giving people few options.Some move in with friends or family, some end up in shelters, and some end up on the streets. these are all forms of Homelessness.
Demolition of public housing with inadequate replacement units. this is a serious problem in Baltimore.
Domestic violence: Although there are resources in place to help battered women get into safe houses I have seen women that for some reason don’t want to report the abuse and end up on the street or end up in the city shelter. When I was 14 years old I was in an adoptive family that was extremely abusive. I ended up on the streets until I was locked up and finally ended up with a safe and loving family.
Bad credit report: Often illness, divorce, layoffs,and business failures cause bad credit reports. This is also a racial issue as a disproportionate percentage of African-Americans and Hispanics have lower credit scores than whites. The practice of using credit scores to determine if a person deserves a job keeps people from having a fair chance of working their way out of poverty. This system really sucks. PLEASE check your own credit report and see if it is accurate, you might be surprised. The discrepancies that I have heard of are amazing.
Not earning a living wage: A person working at minimum wage would have to work 3 full-time jobs in order to rent an apartment at the prevailing rate. 17 dollars an hour would be required for a single person to afford to support themselves in a one bedroom apartment. 7.25$ an hour is a travesty. To rent a room in another’s house with shared bathroom, kitchen, and other facilities runs from 400 a month and up often with additional charge for utilities.
Loss of a job: With the unemployment rate as high as it is and wages low most workers don’t even realize how close they are to being homeless. Within 2 months of being unable to work I was on the street. Saving are at a record low because of the continuing rise in price of basic commodities. With the continuing rise in cost of fuel everyone is taking a hit. Everything we use is transported to us so the increased cost of fuel hurts us across the board. I see more people using public transportation, (which I believe is one positive effect of increased gas prices) yet a lot of commuters and workers don’t have this option. A lot of people are eating less healthy diets because healthy foods cost more. When you are jobless and homeless you can get food from soup kitchens and churches but in order to feed more people they give and feed people they use a lot of starches but without this assistance people would be starving. The people providing food to the needy are being forced to try to feed more people with donations dropping. Any help they can get, whether donating time or donating food is greatly appreciated.Well I’m tired and getting of track. I will continue with barriers to housing soon. good night.