Low wages, high rents, accidents,illness,natural disasters,etc!! December 26, 2005 3:57 AM
According to one site (FreeDonation.com),
"Facts and Statistics on Homelessness
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, up to 600,000 men, women and children go homeless every night in the United States alone. The figure world wide is magnitudes higher.
Homelessness and poverty are tightly linked. People who are living in poverty often must choose between food, shelter and other basic needs. Some very difficult choices must be made when limited resources can only go so far. All too many times, it is shelter, which usually absorbs the most money, that must be dropped for more immediate necessities such as food. For the poor, an accident, a medical crisis, a lost paycheck can all translate into not having a place to call home next week.
Contrary to popular belief, the homeless is not lazy and dependent exclusively on public welfare. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, on average in the United States, a single worker earning minimum wage would have to work 87 hours each week just to pay for a 2-bedroom apartment with 30% (Federal definition of affordable housing) of his or her income. The rest would be barely sufficient to acquire other necessities such as food and clothing. As a result of low wages, many impoverished workers are forced out of their homes when extenuating circumstances come into play. In fact, up to 40% of the homeless are employed and working.
Children who are homeless are one of the fastest growing segments of the general homeless population as for every four homeless persons, one of them will be a child. Families with children make up 37% of people without homes. When children become homeless, they face additional setbacks such as in education. Requirements of legal guardianship, lack of a permanent address and immunization records often delay or prevent homeless children from enrolling in schools and receiving an adequate education. Without a chance to get an education, children who are homeless are often unable to acquire the necessary skills they will need to escape from the poverty that led to them to become homeless in the first place. Thus, a vicious cycle is set in motion where poverty results in homelessness and homelessness, through the obstruction of education, leads to future poverty for the children.
Homelessness also singles out other groups of people such as the sick. For example, the lack of affordable housing is a grave concern for people living with HIV/AIDS. Employers often unmercifully fire those carrying the dreaded disease and medication fees are expensive. As a result, it has been estimated that between 3% to up to 20% of homeless people are HIV positive. Many homeless youths, left with no other options, find that exchanging sex for food, shelter and clothing is their only chance for survival. As a result, homeless adolescents are at a greater risk of contracting AIDS compared to their peers with welcoming homes.
Another group singled out by homelessness is the elderly. A 1992 Urban Institute study indicated that up to 31% of homeless persons were over the age of 45 and this percentage is growing. With less income from work and more necessary expendictures such as medications, many elderly people are having to make a choice between food, shelter and medications.
It has been said that every human being has a primary and fundamental right to adequate food and shelter. Yet so many people in our world are deprived of this basic right. This right of feeling a warm bed at night, in a place called home.
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
I myself became homeless through a combination of high rent, a low wage job with few benefits, and an accident which resulted in a concussion and an injury to my neck. I was that "one or two paychecks away from homelessness" and suddenly there was no longer any "away from"- there I was - homeless- with a bunch of useless keys in my hand that no longer opened any doors of shelter for me.
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Lack of affordable housing, NIMBYism, etc! December 26, 2005 4:02 AM
Lack of Affordable Housing is one of the most outstanding causes of homelessness.
Not enough affordable housing is being built. Additionally, very often prospective building of new affordable housing units are challenged and blocked by the "Not in my Backyard" syndrome.
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Lack of affordable housing in SC.... December 28, 2005 6:03 PM
is all to true. According to the US Census Bureau, the average median home value in SC is $553,000. Ha! Believe me, homes in this range are tear downs for the most part. It's the corporate yuppies that are coming in to town, buying everything up and literally forcing the local folks out of here, and they don't give a damn who is being hurt by it.
Because of the university and the continued growth population of the "City on the Hill" as it is often referred to, local merchants can and do pay minimum wages, as the students fill a lot of these job openings. Anyone that wants to do better has to travel out of town to earn a few extra bucks. It's getting to be down right appalling. I've been in SC for 32 years, and believe me, I am ready to get the hell out of here.
I am homeless. How, you ask, am I able to get online. Well, I still have friends who have computers.
I am disabled, I can work part time, but that does not pay rent, buy food, purchase my meds or cover my bills. I am 55, I live in a 14 foot trailer that my son gave me. Otherwise I would be sleeping in a tent. I travel from friend to family member to friend, so that I won't be a burden on any one for more than a few days.
I get food stamps and Medi-Cal. But I'm not able to get cash aid. I collect cans and do house work for friends to get what little cash I can for gas to travel.
I am NOT mentally incapable nor a drug or alcohol user. I am a single woman who is homeless. I was married and I thought that my later years would be spent in comfort with my husband, but that turned out to be a pipe dream. I am too young for social security and to old for most employers to hire, there's also my handicaps to throw in there.
So what do I do? I have not found an escape from my situation. I will be able to apply for SS in seven years, am I to remain homeless till then, and the way SS is going, am I going to get anything?
Am glad to "see" you in here, but very sorry to hear you're homeless.
I am glad you've got friends with computers (sure beats the library!!)
"I am NOT mentally incapable nor a drug or alcohol user. I am a single woman who is homeless. I was married and I thought that my later years would be spent in comfort with my husband, but that turned out to be a pipe dream. I am too young for social security and to old for most employers to hire, there's also my handicaps to throw in there."
I hear you! Seems as if you're falling through somewhat the same cracks I fell through when I became homeless in Santa Cruz. I am now "homed" again, but it was an adventure and a half getting there.
Any way we can use our computers, our search engines, our telephones, to help? Off the top of my head I'm thinking we can search for local programs that could help?
Also, do you have a mailing address in care of anyone... an email contact, etc? (only if you feel comfortable doing so)
Please get back to us- we want to help. And welcome to the group!!
P.S. I also build free websites for homeless people and for non-profit orgs that help the homeless (in case that's of interest to you)
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Harmony wrote: Also, do you have a mailing address in care of anyone... an email contact, etc? (only if you feel comfortable doing so)
Yes, I have an address I use, LOL, it's my best friend, who lives in Pollock Pines. She has been trying to get me help in that area. The cost of living is high there, one reason I don't move to that area. I visit her at least once a month to be pampered by her as well as collect my mail.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, I check it at least once a week. I'm at my friend's house this week and have the luxury of getting online each day.
Thank you for your offers, I am unsure how the websites can help, could you explain what they consist of ?
thanks for your email- I'll send you a test email when I finish this post.
RE websites- I realize it may be a different experience and situation for everybody as to whether or not a personal website is of any use. When I think back on my most recent period of homelessness, it was useful to at least have a home on the Internet even if I didn't have one in real life:
I had all the links to resources that were most useful to me on one page, so that helped save time when I was on a library computer with very limited time.
2)a resume webpage
or a life experience page..
3) a contact page
with a message form on the page, in addition to the email address
But, bottom line, at least having an email address can make a world of difference.
The second (Homeless) time around, my husband and I were homeless in California. At first we were on the streets, but when I came up to Santa Cruz, my good friend YBeth repaid a favor and put me in touch with a friend who had a free VW van. It had sat, idle, on an industrial parking lot for two years and all it needed was a new battery. What a leap upward that was for my husband and me!
Of course, trying to find a place to park to sleep was a nightmare and a half!
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