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The Mobile Homeless in America

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Ian Urbina had a great article in the NY Times a few days ago. Consider this statistic.

Last year was the first year on record, according to an annual study conducted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, that a full-time worker at minimum wage could not afford a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country at average market rates.

From what I can tell, the NLIHC used 30% of income as the standard for housing affordability.

More disturbing, many municipalities have made it illegal to live in ones vehicle. “In 2001, officials in Lynnwood, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, passed an ordinance imposing penalties of 90 days in jail or fines of up to $1,000 against people caught living in their cars.” In light of this other fact – “Though the average duration of homelessness is four months, it tends to be shorter for the mobile homeless, experts say.” – Consider this perverse scenario:

A minimum wage-earner loses a job due to illness and is evicted from his/her apartment. According to the average, they may be back in a new home in under four months, unless of course, they get caught living in the interim and spent 3 months in jail, or deeper in debt.

Link: NY Times Keeping It Secret as the Family Car Becomes a Home

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