The Top Five Myths About Homelessness
There are many myths surrounding homelessness which create barriers that actually prevent some people from overcoming their situation. The truth is most people who are homeless have simply fallen on hard times due to loss of a job or a medical condition which prevents them from earning enough to afford proper housing. Below is a list of the top five myths surrounding homelessness in Yakima County and the facts (gathered from the 2012 Point in Time survey and other studies) which refute them.
The 2012 Point in Time Survey found 996 individuals living in Yakima County who did not have permanent shelter, of those 297 were under the age of 18.
According to information gathered during Point in Time Surveys since 2006, the increase in shelters and advocacy programs for those without adequate housing has not brought about an increase in that population. In fact, since 2006, the number of people who are homeless and unsheltered in Yakima County has dropped by more than 80-percent.
The 2010 Point in Time Survey found 64% of those surveyed wanted to work but were not able to find a due to lack of training or a disability which prevented them from working.
According to the Interagency Council to End Homelessness, for people are living paycheck to paycheck, loss of a job would mean they would be unable to pay rent. The 2010 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, on behalf of CareerBuilder.com, found 77-percent of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck. That figure was up from 71-percent in 2008.
Based on the current minimum wage and the average cost of rental housing in Yakima, a minimum wage employee would have to work 696-hours a week just to pay for housing. The county-wide vacancy rate for rental housing was five-percent in 2011. The lack of available rentals has made it difficult for just about anyone in Yakima to find adequate housing.