Why are People Homeless?


Severe Affordable Housing Shortage
A lack of adequate income and a lack of affordable housing are the top two reasons why people become homeless in Rhode Island.  Rhode Island is one of the least affordable places to live in the US. Our state has experienced the second largest increase in the nation for the largest gap between what people earn and the cost to rent a home.  In order to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Rhode Island, a minimum wage earner must work 102 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. 

Housing  is simply unaffordable to many Rhode Islanders.  In 2008, nearly 25% of renters in Rhode Island were spending more then half of their income on rent. This shortage of affordable housing makes it more difficult for people to exit homelessness and increases the risk of homelessness for low-income individuals and families.

Slashed Services
As the state and municipalities attempt to balance their budgets, service programs have been cut including health care, childcare, housing subsidies, and food assistance.  When families are living paycheck to paycheck, these types of cuts can turn a stable family into a homeless family. 

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