Homelessness is a major problem in America, and with the cost of living continually increasing, poverty is only going to worsen. The discrepancy between the rich and poor will create broader wage gaps that push people who would have been considered financially stable years ago into poverty. Affording shelter, food and transportation are becoming an increasing challenge, and small populations of homeless communities are emerging throughout the country.
Making Housing More Accessible
Affordable housing has many factors, and those who suffer from disabilities are at a higher risk. One medical emergency can completely drain a person’s financial resources, and while recovering from surgery or living with a chronic illness, they can find themselves facing eviction with no safety net.
Creating affordable housing programs is no longer simply a kind gesture; it’s necessary to save a large portion of an increasingly vulnerable population. With over 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring each year, and many with under $10,000 in savings, states will have to either provide safe alternatives for the community or prepare to face a massive homeless problem.
What Can Be Done?
Apartments that offer affordable housing to low-income individuals should focus on creating a community. People’s living environments are about far more than where they lay their head down at night; a housing building should create a community that gives people from all walks of life a chance to thrive and do better for themselves.
For those with disabilities or seniors, having a fixed residence is imperative to wellness. Communities that offer simple amenities like prayer groups, church meetings, transportation to local shops and a rec center can transform people’s entire lives.
Rather than placing the burden on the afflicted to save themselves, states need to provide greater housing options to those in need. People cannot thrive if they are deprived of basic needs, and the fight to survive will only lead to a vicious cycle of crime, poverty and poor health that creates an even greater financial burden on the state.
According to a 2018 study, more than half of all American households spend more than 50 percent of their monthly income on rent. Many low-income adults, especially older individuals who can no longer work full-time, have to sacrifice food, clothing and other basic amenities just to stay off the street.
While creating better housing opportunities is imperative, America’s government must also recognize the needs of its people and implement programs that are accessible, responsive and innovative.