I wanted to do something a little different with this post. I have 15 minutes left to write it, so there's going to be a lot of cutting and pasting.
I got these statistics from The National Alliance to End Homelessness so forgive me if they are wrong in any way. I often look to the NAEH (I like to abbreviate everything) for statistics and stories on homelessness.
Economic Factors Lending to Homelessness in America:
-The number of poor households that spent more than 50 percent of their incomes on rent – defined by HUD as households that are “severely housing cost burdened” – increased by 6 percent from 5.9 million in 2009 to 6.2 million in 2010. Three-quarters of all poor renter households had severe housing cost burdens.
-The number of unemployed people increased by 4 percent from 14.3 million in 2009 to 14.8 million in 2010. The unemployed population increased in 32 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Unemployment rose by 10 percent or more in 11 states.
-The average real income of working poor people increased by less than one percent, from about $9,300 in 2009 to about $9,400 in 2010. There was not a single county in the nation where a family with an average annual income of $9,400 could afford fair market rent for a one-bedroom unit.
-Foreclosure activity continued to increase with nearly 50,000 more homes in foreclosure in 2010 than in 2009. Foreclosures increased from 2.83 million units in 2009 to 2.88 million units in 2010, a 2 percent increase. Nationally, 1 out of every 45 housing units was in foreclosure in 2010. In Nevada, 1 out of every 11 housing units had a foreclosure.
Demographic Factors (this report examines four populations at increased risk of homelessness: people living in “doubled up” situations, people discharged from prison, young adults leaving foster care, and people without health insurance.)
-The “doubled up” population (people who live with friends, family or other nonrelatives for economic reasons) increased by 13 percent from 6 million in 2009 to 6.8 million in 2010. The doubled up population increased by more than 50 percent from 2005 to 2010.
-In addition to people living doubled up, people recently released from prison and young adults who have recently been emancipated from the foster care system (aged out) are also at increased risk of homelessness. The odds for a person in the general U.S. population of experiencing homelessness in the course of a year are 1 in 194.
For an individual living doubled up the odds are 1 in 12.
For a released prisoner they are 1 in 13.
For a young adult who has aged out of foster care they are 1 in 11.
-The number of people without health insurance increased by 4 percent from 47.2 million in 2009 to 48.8 million in 2010. Nationally, 1 out of every 6 people is uninsured.
The odds for a person in the general U.S. population of experiencing homelessness in the course of a year are 1 in 194. Look around you, I'm sure it wouldn't take long for you to count up 194 in your immediate surroundings, unless you live in Bum Fuck Egypt, heh. One of those 194 people is likely to experience homelessness within the next year. Hell, for the Facebook junkies that could be 5 or 6 friends! You never know when you're looking the homeless in the eye sometimes. Most people are shocked to hear that my husband and I are homeless because we are two average-looking individuals amongst the general population of the U.S.
I'm going to wrap up for now. I think there's enough power behind these statistics to get my point across: Even though the homeless trend wavers, you cannot deny that it is a rising epidemic and it's due in part to the rising costs of living in America. The line between poor and middle class is being washed away. The line between the middle class and the rich is being drawn in the ground deeper and deeper with every fleeting minute.
I have one question to ask you: are you going to do anything to help bring these fluctuating numbers down?