Wage stagnation, lack of affordable housing greatest factors in homelessness
The two leading causes of homelessness in the U.S. are insufficient income and a lack of access to affordable housing, according to a 2018 report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, a nonprofit organization based out of Washington, D.C., that operates programs across the country dedicated to preventing homelessness.
The same report stated that 10.3 million renters in the U.S., approximately one in four, were classified as having “extremely low income” by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The same statistics revealed only 5.8 million rental units were affordable to more than 10 million people.
According to Edie McKinley, the director of Lawton’s C. Carter Crane Emergency Homeless Shelter, one thing that often gets overlooked in reports on homelessness is how many homeless have active incomes.
“I think people expect us to say it’s drugs or alcohol, and it can be, but I can’t even say that alcoholism or drugs is in the top three reasons for homelessness,” McKinley said.
McKinley said that, in her experience, the two biggest drivers of homelessness in southwest Oklahoma are wage inequality and a lack of affordable housing.