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Lack of affordable housing one root cause of homelessness

By Staff | Dec 30, 2020

To the editor:

The city council has talked about studying the problem of homelessness. That discussion is moot — there are many problems that cause homelessness and yes, there needs to be a solution, but studying it is not one. I will say that we as a community need to come together on this and come up with ways to help. I looked up these three sites and they all have one main thread that is a cause for homelessness. It is the lack of affordable housing.

From https://atlantamission.org/7-major-causes-homelessness/ :

Lack of Affordable Housing

This issue is particularly prevalent on the coasts, both east and west. As housing costs skyrocket, people are being forced out of their apartments and homes, and they often have nowhere else to turn.

According to EndHomelessness.Org, “When housing prices force typical households to spend more than 32 percent of their income on rent, those communities begin to experience rapid increases in homelessness.” This stat puts into perspective the entirety of the issue, from the increase of housing to costs to ending up without a place to stay.

From https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/what-causes-homelessness/ :


A lack of affordable housing and the limited scale of housing assistance programs have contributed to the current housing crisis and to homelessness. Recently, foreclosures have also increased the number of people who experience homelessness.

From https://nlchp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Homeless_Stats_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Causes of homelessness

Insufficient income and lack of affordable housing are the leading causes of homelessness: In 2012, 10.3 million renters (approximately one in four) had “extremely low incomes” (ELI) as classified by HUD. In that same year, there were only 5.8 million rental units affordable to the more than 10 million people identified as ELI.

Additionally, only 31 out of every 100 of these affordable units were actually available to people identified as ELI. After paying their rent and utilities, 75% of ELI households end up with less than half of their income left to pay for necessities such as food, medicine, transportation, or childcare. The foreclosure crisis also played, and continues to play, a significant role in homelessness:

In 2008, state and local homeless groups reported a 61% rise in homelessness since the foreclosure crisis began.

Approximately 40% of families facing eviction due to foreclosure are renters; the problem may continue to worsen as renters represent a rising segment of the U.S. population

So, as we can see that this is a big problem we have, I know the argument against any type of help is low-cost housing will be that “there is too much crime and drugs and prostitution associated with this type of housing” which, in some cases, is true but not all of the people who need low-income housing fall under that stereotype. A good number of them are law-abiding citizens and hard workers and want to do better for themselves.

I would ask the previous writer who weighed in on the Council discussion on homelessness on Dec 17 to give some solutions to the council, not just his crying about how his taxes is spent.

I, for one, will be thinking on how to help with this problem and be getting with the council.

Steven Comstock

Cape Coral