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  • Writer's pictureSuzi Dearmont

Causes of Adult Homelessness and How Helping the Homeless Improves Communities

Updated: Mar 19

For the most part, no one wants to be homeless. Often, homelessness is the result of a job loss, medical issue, domestic violence or eviction. People sometimes just need a little assistance to rise out of the poverty they face. Most low-income people are one paycheck away from homelessness. When we help the homeless, we improve our community. Returning these individuals and families to a safe, stable living arrangement and helping them return to work improves the economy and overall community. Homelessness defined Many people think that to be considered homeless, one must be living on the streets. However, homelessness is defined as lacking stable and appropriate housing. People can be categorized as homeless if they are living on the streets, moving between temporary shelters, “couch hopping” between houses of friends and family, and other emergency accommodations. Here's a look at some of the causes of homelessness. Job loss Losing a job can lead to homelessness rather quickly. Around 69% of adult Americans have less than $1,000 in a savings account. With day-to-day bills, that money runs out quickly. These individuals who have lost their jobs can max out their credit cards while working hard to find another job. And while unemployment can help, it only covers part of their original income and runs out after a set period. With time, bills become too much and those who have lost a job unexpectedly may end up homeless despite their best efforts to avoid it. Medical issues Medical bills add up very quickly. On average, one day in a hospital costs more than $3,000 and the average bills for a hospital visit are well over $15,000. It's no surprise that such bills could leave a person in financial trouble. Depending on the medical issues a person is facing, they also might not be able to work, leading to added strains on their household finances. And so the bills pile up and they can no longer make their mortgage or lease payments to keep living where they are. Domestic violence According to the Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness, U.S. Conference of Mayors (2012), domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families in the United States. No woman chooses to be a victim of domestic violence, but some do choose homelessness over remaining trapped in an abusive relationship. Eviction For a family of four living in the U.S., the poverty line is $26,200. This extremely low line to be considered in poverty means that many working families do not qualify for financial aid. In comparison, a livable wage is more than $60,000 for a family of four. So they work as hard as they can as long as they can until their bills become too much and they get evicted. Some individuals don’t meet the guidelines for being considered in poverty so they turn to homelessness due not having somewhere to live. Helping the homeless improves communities In addition to treating those who are down on their luck with the human dignity that they deserve, helping the homeless improves your local community in a variety of ways. · Reduces government aid by returning people to work · Improves the community economy through increased cashflow · Children returning to a more stable environment perform better in school · Can decrease crime Lincoln Hygiene Network is restoring health, dignity and self-esteem of adults and children who are struggling financially with our distribution of basic hygiene and personal care products. We distribute these items at no cost through direct service organizations, programs, schools within the Lincoln, Nebraska community.

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