While everyones situation is unique there are commonalities in the causes of homelessness. These include lack of affordable housing, domestic abuse, unemployment, low wages and health issues.
Lack of Affordable Housing
This is a huge issue in Austin. The cost of housing in Austin is not rising equal to wages so many people can’t afford to buy or rent. The City of Austin isn’t keeping up with the demand for affordable housing as well. For those facing a need for affordable housing click here.
According to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty “for women in particular, domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness.” Women leave abusive relationships without a means of income and face homelessness. For women facing this situation there are local resources available for you and your children.
Most Americans are one paycheck away from transitional homelessness. One of the most common causes is unemployment. If you unexpectedly lose your job it can be hard to land on your feet and it takes time to get a new one. This can be made even more challenging without a steady place to live.
Another common cause of homelessness in the US is low wages. The minimum wage in the U.S. is set at $7.25 and is determined by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Considering the high rise in cost of living and home prices this is not a realistic wage to live on. While most states have state wages that are higher than the federal wage however Texas is not one of them.
The cost of health care in the US is a burden on many American families and is a catalyst for homelessness. This also includes mental health issues. Without affordable medical care or high income that can afford it health issues often cause people to lose their homes.
Crystal has been coming to AFTS Open Studio for more than 5 years and tries to attend once a week “so that I feel like I’m doing something - life’s not just passing me by. I have something to look forward to.”
“Life can draw you away from your real talent, and AFTS helped me rediscover an old talent. [AFTS] gave me the opportunity to rekindle that talent.”
During these times of lock down, social distancing and increasingly less human connection, we are determined to bring our artists and others experiencing homelessness an opportunity for self-expression and creative relief to combat the increasing risk of depression and isolation.