August 21, 2010 in housing
â€œOne paycheck away from the streetâ€ is an adage floating across our nation. It speaks to having the necessary resources to sustain a livelihood comprised of having a permanent residence to sleep at night and meeting basic household needs to prevent being homeless on the street. Unfortunately, now days, a loss of a paycheck can quickly lead to a devastating homeless experience.
Our struggling economy has contributed to an increase in the homeless dialogue due to the increase in unemployment and rise in evictions and foreclosures. In short, if you havenâ€™t lost your job, I bet you know someone who has. And if you haven’t lost your housing, I bet you know someone who has.
The National Alliance to End Hunger and Homelessness (NAEH) estimates that 1.5 million people will move into homelessness in the next two years due to our economy. These figures are alarming because many will be women and children.
From a recent count conducted by NAEH, there is a staggering estimated 671,859 homeless in our nation. Of the 66% who are single adults, 25% are women. Of the 11% who are parents with children, 84% are single women head of household. These are unimaginable figures for a country of such great wealth.
If you expect assistance from the federal government, think again. The waiting list for housing is closed most of the time in Los Angeles County. Furthermore, Section 8 Officials expect to take in 300,000 applications, out of which 3,000 to 4,000 families max will get Section 8 certificates. Then once again, the list in Los Angeles County will close.
Financial advisors suggest having a six-to-eight month nest egg to support a household in times of an emergency. And yet, ironically, studies show that most of us are living close to the edge with little or no savings to prevent us from homelessness. More than 70% of households across the nation lack adequate savings to support more than three months of basic living expenses. With the unemployment rate of 7.1% for women and more female head of households, saving for a rainy day is unattainable and puts countless women and their families at-risk of becoming prey to homelessness.
The Good News
When the last paycheck translates to homelessness, there are local agencies out there to assist. Contact your local community development block grant division or homeless services authority for more information.