Poverty and Homelessness
Usually when a person thinks of the poor and the homeless, they think about those that are living and sleeping on park benches or under bridges. They think of those who are dirty, with ragged clothing, worn out shoes, and those begging or panhandling for food. The truth of the matter is that poverty and homelessness can affect people of any age, race or gender. More Americans are at the risk of poverty and homelessness today. There are many circumstances that can cause a person to live in poverty and become homeless. The lack of affordable housing, low paying jobs or lack of employment, and insufficient federal aid all contribute to poverty and homelessness. The lack of affordable housing is a significant hardship for low-income households. Most of the poor and homeless population is made up of families who work, but do not earn enough to pay for their rent. Many families are paid at the minimum wage and cannot afford the cost of housing. More than the minimum wage is required to afford an apartment. In Anna Quindlen’s, “Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Kids,” Quindlen states that “[t]wo years ago the National Low Income Housing Coalition calculated that the hourly income necessary to afford the average two-bedroom apartment was around $12[…..] more than twice the minimum wage” (p. 359). Families should not be spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Many spend well over that and pay more than they can afford. A big portion of their income must be used for their rent, thus leaving them with very little for other necessities. Americans who are at risk do not make enough to support themselves or their families. Their income has not risen along with the cost of housing. They generally try to be self sufficient but with the costs of basic necessities rising, it can become very difficult for someone to survive. A missed day of work or an unpaid bill can create a crisis for someone who is already behind or...
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