Last Sunday, Infusion teens met with Liz Dillard of the Homeless Resource Network. (This year the students have chosen to study Homelessness for their theme).
Among many things, she talked about the reasons that people end up homeless, and they are vast! The graphic above shows just some of these factors she shared with the group.
She also broke down some more specific information on poverty in Columbus, and it's so good we thought we'd share some excerpts of one of their handouts with you:
How Much Is Enough?
"Many people in the Metropolitan Columbus area are not aware that 19.6% of Muscogee County's population lives in poverty. Poverty for a family of 3 is $20,090. Keep in mind that a minimum wage ($7.25/hr) position has a yearly income of $15,080.
Fair Market Rent is based on a formula where 60% of renters pay more for rent and utilities and 40% pay less, as set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. So what this means for Columbus, GA?
At the current minimum wage, a person would have to work:
- 67 hours a week to afford a one bedroom apartment at $628/month
- 79 hours a week to afford a two bedroom apartment at $745/month
- 109 hours a week to afford a three bedroom apartment at $1,026/month.
With a Yearly Gross Income of $20,090, that comes down to $1,674.17/month. After taxes, rent, utilities and childcare, only $272.22 are left for groceries, toiletries, transportation, health care and everything else.
"Depending upon the family's assets they might qualify for food stamps and will need to complete the application process. In the meantime the family must visit the food pantries in the area. But even food pantries have rules about the frequency of visits so they must have a plan to make sure they don't visit the same one within the forbidden time period. They can't even think about getting sick; they can't afford to visit the doctor's office or even to purchase over the counter medications. Unless they live within walking distance from their place of employment and daycare center, they must pay for public transportation or pay for vehicle maintenance, insurance and gasoline. In this situation the family is one illness, a vehicle breakdown, a missed paycheck or several months of high utility costs away from becoming homeless. "
For more information on Homelessness in Columbus, visit the Homeless Resource Network's Website.
It's a lot easier to remove ourselves from homelessness. To put distance in our situations and theirs, but with so many factors contributing to this complex issue, we probably aren't so different after all.
We are happy Infusion is taking on such a complex and important issue and will keep sharing the journey with you!
Below are some pics of teens serving at Trinity Breakfast.