In the United States, every year between 2-3 million individuals experience some form of homelessness (Caton et al., 2005). Homelessness is the existence of people who lack secure, safe, and suitable places in which to live.
People living in makeshift homes such as tents, temporary housing, overcrowded conditions, or staying in motels for extended periods of time are considered homeless. Individuals of homelessness include families with children, individual adults, and young people. Poverty, lack of low cost housing, mental illness, and substance use are the leading causes of homelessness.
In the United States, it is estimated that approximately 550,000 people experience homelessness on any given night. This means that about 17 people out of every 10,000 people experience homelessness in the general population. (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2018)
In 2017 people experiencing homelessness increased compared to the 2016 totals due to population increases. Most of the homeless population lived in some type of transitional housing. Homeless status during this time also included abandoned buildings, the street, or areas not suitable for human habitation. The compilation of individuals included: veterans at 7.2 percent, 7.4 percent were children and young adults not accompanied by an adult, 33.3 percent were family members, 66.7 percent were single individuals. The most dramatic decrease in homelessness has been people in unsheltered locations and veterans. (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2018)
The above information is just a sample of articles available on homelessness. Every day people can also become homeless. People act shocked when someone is homeless. I know because I have been homeless.
Chronic illness, medical bills, and crushing debt from those situations can financially alter a person’s future. It damaged mine and my husband’s future. I was diagnosed with cancer, had multiple chemotherapy events, and radiation therapy. The crushing blow was the bone marrow transplant and the insurmountable bills that accumulated from this treatment.
It took awhile for the expansion of the debt, but eventually it exploded. We were forced to sell our home to pay off debt. Then we lived day to day in several hotels, because we could not get an apartment.
You always think it can’t happen to me, but it can happen to anyone. The Lord has blessed us since those fateful days. I would never have thought we would have a home again. Good friends, trusting partners, and answered prayers to the Lord were our salvation. I am thankful to God for all the blessings and connections made at this moment in time.
Caton, C.L.M., et al. (2005). Risk factors for long-term homelessness: Findings from a longitudinal study of first-time homeless single adults. American Journal of Public Health. 2005 October; 95(10): 1753–1759. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.063311