Homelessness can often be only a lost job, accident, or illness away.
In 2023, much of the population lives paycheck to paycheck, and falling behind in rent payments occurs more frequently than we realize. When something unexpected happens that interferes with a person’s ability to work, the consequences of losing a week or more of wages are enough to change a life. And not in a good way.
Three months rent just to get started
Without the ability to earn a constant paycheck, a person can find themselves unable to make rent. In this downward spiral, how does one scramble to find backup housing? It’s virtually impossible to have the finances to afford alternate housing when you couldn’t afford the first.
To get an apartment or rent a house, the standard lease often requires the first and last month’s rent plus a down payment. This is equal to approximately three months of rent – which is a quarter of a year’s housing costs. All at once.
If you’re lucky to have family or friends nearby who will let you couch surf, you’ll benefit from their shared roof for as long as they can house you. But if you’re alone in a city with no support system?
That’s a recipe for homelessness.
Rising housing costs and zoning laws perpetuate housing instability
Securing reliable housing isn’t just vital – it’s a precarious and scary challenge for many. As rent prices increase to absorb rising property taxes yet paychecks don’t increase to absorb rising housing costs, the confluence of events leading to homelessness becomes more likely.
Compounding this lack of accessible housing problem are the restrictive zoning laws that prohibit multifamily buildings or restrict the number of unrelated people who can live together under one roof.
The workforce: essential and struggling
Many of the essential workers we see every day – the cashier at Wal-Mart, the pizza delivery person, the barista handing you your morning latte – deserve stable housing yet are struggling to make ends meet as the costs of living (from rent and food to healthcare and car repairs) mount.
As one member on Quora who was once homeless shares, “There are programs that help with housing, but they are so horrifically underfunded that from a functional standpoint, they exist in name only. There are programs for the homeless who have drug/alcohol problems, but most of us do not have those sorts of problems and won’t be able to get into those programs without lying through our teeth – which skews the numbers and gets the government to shift more resources into programs for addicts while ignoring the much larger number of us who simply don’t make enough to rent somewhere to live.”
Removing barriers to cost-effective housing
The cycle needs to be broken but that requires more affordable rooms and houses for rent. Sadly, as pointed out above, government funding for programs is spotty and allocation is inefficient. The solution must be found elsewhere.
Enter PadSplit. Our shared living marketplace was founded to address the affordable housing crisis with an innovative and ambitious plan: Make it easy for investors to turn existing housing stock into shared living spaces and in turn supply essential workers with affordable rooms to rent in unaffordable areas like Atlanta (where PadSpit is founded), Houston, Dallas, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Miami, and Richmond, among other cities.
The premise is simple and effective – and it’s working. By increasing the housing supply and opting out of renter constraints like down payments and lease agreements, barriers to stable housing are being removed. We must remember the ultimate solution that allows people to move forward is having somewhere in which to move.