What are the main contributors to homelessness?
Loss of income, low wages or unemployment: Any disruption for low-income families – unexpected illness and medical expenses, unemployment, divorce, loss of transportation, etc. – can create a financial crisis that results in loss of housing.
Lack of affordable housing: The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Orlando requires an hourly wage of over $19.27 – putting it out of reach for many working poor. A couple who are both employed full-time at minimum wage ($8.25 per hour) can still face significant hardship, preventing them from meeting their other basic needs, such as nutrition and health care, or saving for their future. (Source)
Domestic violence: Victims of domestic violence flee their homes, sometimes with only the clothes on their backs. Nationally, approximately 50% of all women who are homeless report that domestic violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness. (Source)
Substance abuse or mental illness: A common stereotype of the homeless population is that they are all alcoholics or drug abusers. The truth is that a high percentage of homeless people do struggle with substance abuse — but it is both a cause and a result of homelessness, often arising after people lose their housing. For many homeless individuals, substance abuse co-occurs with mental illness as a way to self-medicate.
Single men make up 39% of the homeless population served by the Coalition nightly. Many of the men at the Coalition work every day and rely on the Coalition for shelter because they cannot afford housing.
Women, children and families make up 61% of the Coalition’s residents on an average night. Throughout the nation, the fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families with children.
The Coalition serves about 140 children with their families each night. The average age of the children at the Coalition is just seven years old.
Aren’t shelters just a band-aid?
Many times, for a variety of reasons, permanent housing is not readily available. During that time, the Coalition provides stabilization and support for ongoing needs. In addition to shelter and food, we offer childcare, employability training, financial literacy, and other crucial services to put someone on the road to permanent housing.
Homelessness is a complex issue.
The causes are multifaceted and require a combination of permanent housing, bridge housing, and shelters like the Coalition.