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The Epidemic Of Homelessness In America

2819 words - 11 pages

Because of the weak economy and high unemployment rates homelessness is on the rise at an alarming rate. Homelessness is worse in some areas of the United States compared to other areas because of incomes that are drastically falling, jobs that are no longer very secure which offer fewer benefits to the worker and their family members. The United States is experiencing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Necessary wages made by the hour only improved by one-sixth of the rate from 2007 for employees in production work. Workers in the workforce were given a cut in hours and lowered weekly earnings. As the growth of wages goes down and the consumption growth increases it makes the economic recovery farther out of reach. The effects of the recession do not discriminate, everyone residing in the United States is affected by it in some way, and this is including people who are able to maintain working at their jobs. In 1967 year round workers earning minimum wage were paid just enough to raise a family of three above the poverty level. From 1981-1990 the cost of living went up by 48% while the minimum wage stayed $3.35 an hour. In 1996 congress raised minimum wage to $5.15 an hour. For the next eleven years, minimum wage stayed at this rate of $5.15 an hour. Then in 2007 President Bush signed a law that would increase minimum wage to $7.25 over a two year time span. That increase was not keeping up with the loss of footing to inflation in the past 20 years. The actual value of minimum wage is 26% less than in 1979, which in turn is only $4.42 in real dollars. In our current economy a full time worker is working 40 hours a week. There is 52 weeks in a year which is a total of $13,624. That is below the poverty line which is at $18,310. “The Economic Policy Institute” believed that the hike in minimum wage in 2009 would raise workers above the poverty line. Even with the hike of minimum wage to $7.25, workers were still $3,000 under the poverty level. An average family of four would be $6,000 under the poverty line. There is a popular belief that most minimum wage workers are teenagers. The truth is that 79% of minimum wage workers are 20 or older.
All over the homestead, tens of thousands of inactive and jobless young people that have college experience and or work history are having troubles finding affordable housing in the middle of this recession. This has made workers between 18 and 24 the group with the greatest unemployment rate of all adults. The young adults who are able to move back home with their parents are called the “boomerang set,” and considered the lucky ones. For some that is not an option. Their families are also being hit hard by the economy. Without an anchored home address there is a transit group that must resort to couch surfing or are forced to find private locations to sleep and live so they can stay out of the public eye. The homeless young people stay under the radar of the public because...

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