The recent COVID-19 crisis is also a factor that is making the plight of our homeless neighbors even worse, as they are considered at high risk of catching a severe and possibly fatal form of the disease. They are also much less likely to be able to practice social distancing and frequent handwashing, as facilities available to them are becoming less under the rules for organizations counteracting the virus in the State of Washington.
Build a Bus Home is invested in making a difference by offering a mobile shower trailer program in conjunction with our service partners in Thurston County.
We are creating a community to empower people, encourage cooperative strategies, and meet basic human needs
Rent Affordability Crisis
Homelessness in our community and nationally is the result of many factors including lack of affordable housing, loss of jobs, domestic violence, evictions, physical and / or mental health problems and addictions, to name a few. All these affect different individuals differently and no two individuals have the same story about how they came to be homeless. The COVID-19 crisis has added another health dimension to this set of problems which puts more of our homeless neighbors at risk.
It’s all over the news that there is a rent affordability crisis in our country. Rental prices have continued to skyrocket, and people are looking for ways to live within their means. Many people are a couple hundred dollars, or less, away from homelessness.
The state of Washington is one of 8 states with 30 or fewer affordable and available rental homes per 100 extremely low-income renter households. The median wage to afford a two-bedroom apartment is approximately $21.21 while the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. A minimum wage worker would have to work 122 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
On their website they state that “Affordable homes provide a foundation for positive health outcomes for families, correlate with better cognitive development and academic achievement for children, and lower public expenditures on other services like healthcare.”
Increasing homelessness in Thurston County
People all around us are suffering from the high cost of housing and unlivable wages. Many people work full-time jobs, and still they cannot afford the high cost of rent. Most people in the low-income population spend over 50% of their income on housing costs. Some people have physical or mental health challenges, and, if they cannot work any longer. they usually cannot afford their living costs or health insurance in addition to rent.
For someone with a costly medical emergency and little savings the result is the same: they must give up housing. When people cannot live with friends, or family, they either live in their vehicles or end up on the streets.
You may have noticed the increase in the population of homeless on our city streets, and in parks, and green spaces.
You may also hear more and more about this crisis in the news.
The Point In Time (PIT) homeless census conducted in 2019 is below.
The January 23, 2020 in Thurston County, found an increase of 43% in the number of unsheltered homeless people counted, and the total homeless counted was over 1,000, This is considered a substantial understatement of the actual number. (Official snapshot is not out for 2020)
These are some of the problems we MUST address!