What are the main causes of homelessness?
- Lack of affordable housing and low wages: The primary cause of homelessness is a lack of rental housing that very low-income people can afford. In Orlando, service industry employment accounts for 40% of jobs, with resulting wages of $8 per hour with limited benefits. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Orlando requires an hourly wage of over $20.00 – making it almost impossible for a couple to afford, even with both working 40 hours per week at $8 per hour.
- Loss of income or unemployment: Any disruption for low-income families - unexpected illness and medical expenses, unemployment, divorce, loss of transportation, etc. - can create a housing crisis and may make it impossible for families to maintain their housing.
- Domestic violence: Victims of domestic violence flee their homes, sometimes with only the clothes on their backs.
- Drug/alcohol addiction or mental illness: Addictions and mental illness have a larger impact on the chronic homeless male population than on women and families.
Who are the homeless?
- Homeless men make up less than 40% of the homeless population served by the Coalition. However, nearly half of the chronically homeless men at the Coalition work every day and rely on the Coalition for shelter because they cannot afford housing.
- Women and families with children make up 40% of the Coalition's residents. In Orlando, the fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families with children.
- The Coalition shelters more than 250 children with their families each night. The average age of the children at the Coalition is eight years old.
What is the most common misconception about homelessness?
Some people believe that homelessness is a “lifestyle choice” and that homeless shelters are a revolving door providing just a meal and a place to sleep for chronically homeless men.
What’s the reality?
Homelessness is a condition that is the result of other problems. The Coalition provides a broad range of services to help deal with the root causes of homelessness, including job training and educational programs; psychological counseling for families and children; scattered site apartment rental support; and a residential substance abuse program designed specifically for homeless men.