Posts tagged with "housing"

Kaelen Fenix illustration for homelessness in 360 MAGAZINE

Covid-19 Increasing Homelessness

By Eamonn Burke

A study back in May of this year by a Columbia professor found that the unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic could increase homelessness by 45%, following a peak unemployment rate in April of 14.7%. Using data from previous recessions as well as current unemployment trends, Dr. Brendan O’Flaherty estimated that another 250,000 people would become homeless this year, bringing the total number of homeless in the country to 800,000. Across the nation, evidence of this narrative coming to fruition is clear. In West Virginia, there are 10,000 homeless students. 125 homeless people have died this year in San Francisco. Homelessness is increasing in Ohio and Texas, and Residents of Long Island are petitioning for another homeless shelter. This is just some of data to show the trend of widespread homelessness as a result of the coronavirus.

Besides taking the lives of many through infection, the coronavirus has caused a massive recession, like likes of which have not been seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s. As of last month, 22 millions Americans are receiving unemployment payments, coming after one of the best economic stretches in American history.

In addition to unemployment benefits, many people were also protected by the moratorium under the Federal CARES Act, which has since expired, allowing evictions to resume. An Aspen Institute study estimates 30-40 million people could be evicted by the end of 2020. This means even more people out on the streets and more vulnerable to getting COVID, which creates a vicious cycle and creates more pressure on emergency services. Shelters are available but often overcrowded and unsanitary.

There is also the issue of those who are older and who have preexisting conditions, who have been identified as higher risk for COVID-19 and who also are becoming more prevalent among homeless populations. Over 100,000 people over 45 years old were estimated to be living outside on an average night in 2019. Another study showed that around 85% of unsheltered people had physical health issues in 2019. Lastly, a Harvard study revealed that roughly 11 million households spend at least half of their income on housing, making them vulnerable in a recession.

There is also a racial undertone of the homelessness crisis from Covid-19, as black and Latinx people make up a large portion of the population and 58% of black and Latinx people lack the sufficient liquid assets to survive a recession. This can lead to greater racial disparity in an already tumultuous period for race relations in the country.

The CARES act also provided $4 billion in funding, which the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, along with The National Alliance to End Homelessness used to develop a framework for how to use the money to fight homelessness. It focuses on five major points: services for the unsheltered, housing, shelter, prevention and diversion, and improving future systems.

It is expected that the rising homelessness rate with correlate with the projected rising unemployment rate through 2022. The homelessness rate was already rising with overpopulation, and the pandemic is acting as a catalyst for the issue.

Covid and health illustration

COVID-19 Evictions

By Eamonn Burke

The recession caused by Covid-19 has put millions of people out of work and out of income, making it harder for them to pay for their housing. As a result, a heightened importance has been placed on housing and income security in light of the pandemic by the United States government.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has temporarily halted evictions and closures to help ensure housing for families and individuals. These moratoriums are a part of the CARES Act passed on March 27, including 2 Trillion dollars for economic relief. Most of these exceptions truly are temporary, however, and will be lifted when the pandemic is further under control.

Individual states are undertaking efforts to protect housing as well, and these policies can be viewed for every state in a scorecard compiled by the Eviction Lab and Professor Emily Benfer of Columbia’s Law School.

Click here for information about this housing crisis and to find out whether or not you are protected.

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE, USA, NYC

What are veterans actually entitled to?

Enlisting in the military is a huge decision that isn’t to be taken lightly. Yet millions of the population take that step without hesitation to protect their country and sadly, return home sometimes with life-changing injuries.

VA disability benefits

VA disability pay rates demonstrate how veterans are given a combined disability rating which is also impacted by their number of dependents. It is complex to understand and vets are not always awarded the right compensation they deserve, which is why legal advice is often necessary.

However, financial entitlement is merely one of the many issues facing vets when returning home. What they have to live on is only a small component of the multiple ways they are faced with piecing together a life after serving in the military. 

The adjustment from life on the frontline to life back in the world they have been defending can be difficult. This is not just in the cultural, everyday sense of no longer existing in a disciplined and structured way with danger and high risk at every turn, but also in the practical sense too.

The paperwork that is required to exist back in life as a normal citizen, the health implications that may be a result of service, the overwhelming list of things to organize to have everything you need – it is a whirlwind, to say the least.

Health benefits

Health issues can be extremely broad-ranging. From the hugely debilitating and devastatingly life-altering physically to the equally paralyzing mentally, and often, as a result of the latter, the all-consuming consequence of this being substance abuse.

Therefore, there is a wide range of health benefits vets are deservedly entitled to use, depending on their specific needs. However, it is often hard for them to know exactly which services they might need if they haven’t yet identified their issues, or it might be that they aren’t aware of the services or cannot get access to them.

Education tuition and career counseling

Another avenue for vets to go down is education and tuition to enable them to further their civilian training and find a suitable career route after the military. It could still be that they pursue a career within the military but just not in active duty, or it might be that they want to retire from service and pursue something different entirely in civilian life.

There are many ways they can do this, such as applying for help to cover the costs of school or job training, or it might be that career counseling is needed. This is when vets seek advice and guidance on where their skills might be best suited within other jobs and which programs would help them get on that path. 

Furthermore, it also helps them to recognize where they might be going through some issues which are preventing them from achieving their goals.

Housing

Vets are entitled to home loans and grants to help towards the costs of paying for their homes or any modifications necessary as a result of their injuries. This may be in the form of ramps, wider doorways or much more complex changes, that could potentially even impact the building structurally.

However, in more extreme circumstances, but sadly, increasingly more common these days are the instances of homelessness amongst vets. There is advice available on shelters and storage of personal belongings as well as what other options might be open, such as armed forces retirement homes and housing programs. 

In conclusion…

It is so important to create awareness and support our veterans who have done so much for our country. So, hopefully by sharing this information, people who may have vets in their family, or friendship circles can help them find the advice they need to get a better start after they return home.

There is a lot of confusion out there, just as there can be with any benefits. But, by being aware of the challenges these men and women face on civilian soil after performing their duty, we can all make it a better country by sharing this and helping them as they’ve helped us. 

UK Households Spending More Than They Earn

  • UK cost of living for a four-person family is £60,000 per year – 103 per cent of average household income
  • UK housing and utility costs have risen by 13 per cent1
  • The global study found the most affordable expat country for families is Sweden

Today, new research by leading price comparison website MoneySuperMarket reveals that the UK is the most expensive location to raise a family. The running costs associated with a four-person family in the UK exceeded those of Spain, USA, Germany and Sweden due to the high costs of rent, utility bills and groceries2.

The data is based on the average monthly cost of property, utility bills and grocery shopping for a family with two children in 10 locations. These locations are some of the most popular destinations for the British public to emigrate to. MoneySuperMarket also ranked the costs against the countries’ average full time salary, to reveal the percentage of salary two working adults must put towards household expenses. In the UK, the average cost of a four-person family is more than twice the combined total of two adults’ salaries4.

Popular expat destinations with lower living costs

With lower utility bills (£94.41 per month), heavily subsidised pre-school costs (£230.34) and a standard average monthly rent of £1,149.40, Sweden is the only country analysed where a single parent can comfortably afford to have two children, working out as 87 per cent of the average working salary5. Based on two adults with two children it’s even more affordable, eating into less than half (43 per cent) of the combined salaries.

The full ranking of the affordable global cities to raise a family, including a breakdown of all metrics, can be seen below:

Global cost of raising a four-person family

Changing costs over time

On average, the weekly food shop has lowered in price for families over the last 16 years, from £236 to £232. However, spending on both housing and utilities, and household goods and services, has increased by 11 per cent overall. In 2001, the average monthly cost of housing and utilities per person in the UK was £277.77, but by 2017 this figure had risen by 13 per cent to £314.82. Due to these rises, the cost of raising a family in the UK has become more expensive.

For more information on the most affordable countries to move to, check out the MoneySuperMarket report around the changes in UK household spending over time.