Being homeless is expensive.
💸 Without a home, you’re always transient. Transient = gas money, public transport money, oil changes & maintenance on your car, plus car payment (if you have one), etc.
💸 Without a home, you have nowhere to store food. That means eating out of fast-food restaurants, gas stations, etc. (For my family of 3, it costs $21 to feed us at McDonald’s. Do that 3x per day, 7 days a week…I’ll let you do the math.)
💸Without a home, you have nowhere to sleep. That means risking being arrested for loitering or trespassing by sleeping somewhere public, OR paying for a hotel.
The hotel we’re in now is $355 a week. That’s a little over $1500 a month.
The hotel we were at in AR was $398 per week. That’s roughly $1724 per month. It didn’t include a kitchen so we still had to pay to eat out. We’d be paying less in rent or a mortgage in a regular house (even with utilities factored in).
When you’re spending $1700 or $1500 a month on a hotel, plus bills & other expenses, that leaves virtually nothing to save up for a deposit or down payment.
💸When you’re homeless, it’s hard to pay off debt. A lot of homeless people have medical debt or debt they incurred trying to prevent homelessness (like maxing out their credit cards).
All of this reflects poorly on your credit & makes it nigh impossible to qualify for a rental. If you can’t sit still somewhere & earn money, how can you ever pay off debt & come out of the hole you’re in? Sometimes you can’t even get a job with a bad credit score!
💸When you’re homeless, the loose ends don’t tie themselves. There’s a penalty. Like:
– I qualified for reduced-cost internet but we lost our home & haven’t used the service & didn’t have a way to call the company. I won’t be able to qualify for it again when we finally have a house.
– I qualified for a reduced-cost phone but my former landlord essentially withheld the phone, now I’ve lost that benefit, too.
– Charter is charging me $170+ for an unpaid bill even though I tried to cancel services on the 1st day of the billing cycle. Their policies dictate you can only cancel via phone or in-person (didn’t know that was an option). I didn’t have a phone at the time, so I couldn’t call in, but I used online chat & was rebuffed. Now they’re sending me to collections…over a service I didn’t (& can’t) use.
– I had to drop out of school because of our situation, losing the money I paid in application fees, orientation fees, transcripts, etc.
These are all major headaches & added stress I don’t need.
💸Being homeless is unhealthy & it’s expensive to heal from. Homeless people overburden the medical care system with millions of dollars in hospital visits, to have a warm place to sleep or to treat injuries & illnesses they’ve sustained. The toll on your body is astronomical. You can’t afford the medical treatment you need, which only exacerbates problems, costing *everyone* more in the long run.
8/19/2022: I wrote this post for my LinkedIn about 4 months ago. This particular article is about the real cost of homelessness. I began writing about our homeless journey on LI in late March, after sleeping in the car nearly 20 consecutive nights. I was worn down, I was frustrated, I was on my last thread. I had nothing left to do but speak. I kept hearing God say to write. So I finally gave in. Not to ask for anything, but just to share the truth of what it is to be homeless, and hopefully change people’s perception. To make them as upset about homelessness as I was/am. People act like being homeless is the easiest, laziest way to live. In reality, it’s the hardest and most expensive way to live. I hope that our story will help break stigmas and false ideas surrounding homelessness. I hope my posts will challenge you and convict you and stir you to action. Thank you for reading.