I’ve discussed how to avoid foreclosure and how to avoid bankruptcy in the past, but in some cases, things don’t work out too well, and there are people who end up becoming casualties of the real estate bust, credit crisis and weak job market.
Lots of people have been forced into homelessness due to a variety of reasons. Many cases of homelessness are because of mistakes and choices people make in their lives. There are those who fall into substance abuse and become stuck in this kind of existence. But there are other cases — particularly in recent years — that are not from bad choices. In some situations, it may be due to poor planning.
But this is not the entire story because there are those who fall into homelessness even with reasonable planning. Sometimes, even when you think you’re sufficiently ready for any kind of emergency, the sky does fall on you and you find yourself reeling from an unrecoverable financial predicament. Bad health can do it. Extended job loss can do it as well. Sheer bad luck and misfortune can just be in the cards for a while.
I used to think that with enough savings and preparation, nothing is insurmountable. Well, I’m halfway through my life now and I’ve seen enough to think otherwise. Sometimes, it’s about crossing your fingers too, and hoping that you never have to face a financial tsunami in your lifetime.
On that note, I’d like to share this CNN video that I found quite surprising in many ways. It’s about “tunnel dwellers” in Las Vegas; not everything is what it seems…
Steve Dommer and his girlfriend, Kathryn, live in the depths below the Vegas Strip. They created an elaborate 400-square-foot space, complete with a living room, bedroom, kitchen and workshop to fix bicycles. Everything is elevated off the floor with wooden pallets or milk crates because of potential flooding.
The guy in the video does not look homeless, yet he is. He’s coping, somehow. I guess this is the type of story that reminds us that homelessness can befall anyone, and why public awareness of programs like Help USA is important.
Homeless Myths and Facts
Here are a few more homeless myths and facts that may clear up a few misconceptions:
Myth: Homelessness only befalls a small percentage of people.
Fact: It’s a small group, but it’s not as small as you may think. For any particular year, around 1% of the population becomes homeless. The U.S. population is around 300 million, so that homeless group is around 3 million.
Myth: Homeless people are generally nomadic.
Fact: Not really. Studies show that homeless folks tend to stay put. They actually don’t move as much as the average person or family.
Myth: The homeless are stuck in their situation.
Fact: Not true. Majority of those who are homeless are able to get out of their situation within two years or less (70%, in fact).
Myth: Homeless people are to be feared.
Fact: Many homeless folks are substance abusers (around 25% to 40%). However, their chances of being involved in a violent crime are pretty much the same as someone who has a residence.
Myth: Homeless people have mental problems.
Fact: The mentally ill in this population amount to 15% to 25%.
Myth: Homeless people are in their situation because they lack motivation. They are lazy.
Fact: They certainly spend a lot of time and energy doing some kind of “work”. But work that may not be entirely productive. A lot want to be employed but find themselves unable to secure a job due to the potential discrimination of employers against those without a permanent address.
Created November 6, 2009. Updated November 26, 2012. Copyright © 2012 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.