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Causes of Homelessness

The causes vary widely, but often homelessness and poverty are linked. Being poor can mean a person is one illness, one accident, or one paycheck away from living on the streets. Top contributors to homelessness also include:

  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Unemployment
  • Low wages
  • Mental illness and the lack of needed services (Single adult individuals)
  • Substance abuse and the lack of needed services (Single adult individuals)

The Growth of Homelessness

National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) cites three top factors that have fueled an increase in homelessness over the past 30 years.

  1. Housing has become more scarce for those with limited incomes;
  2. Earnings from employment and benefits have not kept pace with the cost of housing for people with limited incomes;
  3. Services that every family needs for support and stability have become harder for poor people to access and afford.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do Police generally arrest people for being homeless?

  • I have seen a homeless encampment. What should I do?

  • Isn't homelessness a form of trespassing?

  • What about littering?

  • Why shouldn’t I give money to someone on the street who needs it?