Do people choose to be homeless?

Homeless Myth: True or False

Myth 5: People choose or want to be homeless

Keys to Ending HomelessnessPeople experience homelessness because they cannot find rental apartments that are affordable. In order to afford a two bedroom apartment in New Jersey, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $4,215/month or $50,577/year.

And there are many full-time jobs in our state that do not pay that salary. In New Jersey, a minimum wage worker earns $7.25/hour. In order to afford the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner must work 134 hours/week, 52 weeks/year. Or, a household must include 3.4 minimum wage earner(s) working 40 hours/week year-round in order to make the two bedroom fair market rent affordable.

Besides not being able to afford an apartment, people become homeless because of low wages and lack of job opportunities, a financial crisis due to health issues and mental illness and/or substance abuse.

To read our posts on all of the myths about homelessness click here.

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