Solving Homelessness Together

Factors contributing to Homelessness

There are many factors that contribute to an individual or family becoming homeless. See the list below to see a few.

 

  • 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 population without homes.
  • 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 single adult people experiencing homelessness 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 fall through with their end of the bargain that can be a reason for others to lose their housing.
  • 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, but other times years ago.

 

While it can be difficult to identify a singular cause of homelessness, here is a chart of self-identified causes that individuals experiencing homelessness in the Chattahoochee Valley reported at the 2010 PIT count.