Causes of Homelessness

Homelessness is a problem that all communities face – and it costs society more to ignore it than to repair it. But what actually leads an individual to becoming “homeless”? The answers are quite varied.

For starters, homelessness and poverty are linked. Poor people are frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care or education. Difficult choices must be made: often it is housing that must be dropped. Those who are poor are essentially an illness, accident, or paycheck away from living on the streets.

Unable to “Catch a Break”

Homelessness is usually the result of a cumulative impact of a number of factors. For example:

Structural Factors – A lack of adequate income and no access to affordable housing.

Failures in the System – Difficult transitions from child welfare, inadequate discharge planning from hospitals.

Individual and Relational Factors – Traumatic events like a job loss, or facing a personal crisis like a family break-up or domestic violence.

Unaffordable Housing

Homelessness is not just for the unemployed – even for those with jobs, the gap between wages and rental cost often makes housing unaffordable.

Personal Crisis

Homelessness is most often sparked by a job loss. The vast majority of homeless individuals and families fall into homelessness after a housing or personal crisis.

Hitting Home: Five Facts that Explain Homelessness in New Jersey

Saltbox Homes is based out of New Jersey and we witness homelessness every day. Speaking only to our home state, here are five facts that may shed some light on homelessness.

Making minimum wage, a person would have to work 100 hours to afford the rent for a 1 bedroom unit.

A household must make a minimum of $25.17 per hour in order to afford a 2 bedroom rental.

Making minimum wage, a person would need to have 3.3 full time jobs to afford a 2-bedroom unit (in Monmouth and Ocean Counties).

The percentage of SSI payments ($752) that are necessary to pay for a 1 bedroom apartment in Monmouth and Ocean Counties is 147%

For every 100 households of renters that earn “extremely low income” (30 percent of the median or less) there are only 30 affordable apartments available.

We’re Taking Action

Want to see what we’re doing to address the homeless crisis? Check out how we help those facing hard times!