Under-housed and almost homeless in America

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Homeless person

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Sometimes homelessness wears disguises.

We here in America have slipped into a shared fantasy. There are the homeless and then there are the rest of us. It would be reassuring if there were only those two kinds of people and if we could somehow pretend that the majority of us would never be homeless.

The truth is that many of us are at risk of becoming homeless. Homeless for many does not spring up overnight. It can begin as a slow slide off the cliff and into the deep waters of hopelessness.

Most of us are only 30 days away from being homeless. Lose your job or other sources of income and the eviction proceedings begin. You can try to starve it off as long as possible, borrow from friends, max out the credit cards. You try one thing, then another. But unless the money flows in again the slide to the street begins.

There is this shadow thing here in America – the under-housed.

Many stop off here on their way to the homeless encampments. One reason it is so hard to get a handle on homelessness is because people slip back and forth between being without a home, the out on the street night after night, and the short-term stay places.

The slide towards homelessness can begin when suddenly you have to leave the place where you stay. Couples fight and break up. There may be domestic violence or addiction. One partner, often the woman has to leave suddenly. So they go to stay with friends and relatives. The intention is to be there for a while until they can find permanent stable housing.

These stays may be temporary. The people who took in their friends or relatives only have so much space, so much money. Eventually the under-housed have to leave and move on.

Couch surfing on the way to being homeless.

Repeated moves can become “couch surfing,” a night here and a night there. You may be able to afford a motel for a night or two. Eventually, this gets expensive. Expensive beyond many people’s means.

Sometimes they are able to stay longer. We find two or more families living together in a house or apartment not designed for much more than a single person.  Not because they want to live in crowded conditions, not because they are cheap, but because they have no income or only limited funds and the cost of permanent housing is beyond their reach.

Families with small children may come apart.

One child stays with grandma, another with an aunt. But there is no place for mothers and children together.

Some of you are saying there are programs for the homeless, why don’t they go to the shelters? Plenty of nights the shelters are full. There are waiting lists and programs may need your contact information. Some programs require a background check. Where do you stay while you wait to qualify for those programs?

If they do find logging in a woman’s shelter, dad or child’s father can’t come.

Women are at high risk to hook up with a man, most any man, in order to have a roof over their head and food for them and their children. Most of these relationships do not last. The cycle repeats.

Before we congratulate ourselves on the efforts to place the homeless into permanent housing, we need to be ever aware of the host of almost homeless who on any given night might end up down at the local encampment.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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