Causes of Homelessness

The true cause of homelessness does not always match the public perception. People are homeless for a variety of reasons. And itís not always a result of choice or poor life decisions. Many people have physical or mental disabilities that limit their ability to work in a job that pays enough to allow for independent living. In the current economic climate, many simply are unable to find work or the work they find pays such a low wage, they cannot afford housing.

In cities such as Seattle high housing costs place an extra burden on peopleís ability to find suitable housing. Itís simply more advantageous for private property owners to build more standard housing for higher income earners. The result is less affordable housing for those at the lowest incomes.

It is true that family problems, substance abuse, unemployment and other issues contribute to homelessness and at the Aloha Inn, many of our residents are here as a result of those conditions. Some of our residents are here due to physical and mental disabilities. However, the Aloha Inn isnít a homeless shelter, itís a transitional housing facility. Our mission and goal is to not only provide housing to those in need, but to help them find a way to secure permanent affordable housing. We work with our residents to help them become employed, to help find assistance through other public programs and give them a safe environment free from the negative influences that many have come from. The Aloha Inn is more than a roof over their head. Itís a place for them to improve their lives and to take responsibility as a member of a community.

Facts about Homelessness in the United States of America

See the fact sheet from the National Coalition for the Homeless.

The Seattle King County Coalition for the Homeless has current local and national information.

See the Washington State Coaliton for the Homeless's excellent fact page for statewide data.

The annual One Night Count of homeless people gives a snapshot of the people staying in shelters and a count of people observed sleeping outside in the middle of the night in Seattle, Washington.

For more information, contact the Seattle/King County Coalition for the Homeless.

For an excellent, comprehensive report on how housing costs exceed workers' wages, look at Out of Reach, on the National Low Income Housing Coalition website. You can pull up data for any locality in the U.S.