Tedford Housing provides emergency homeless shelters, supported housing for previously homeless families and individuals as well as help for people facing the possibility of losing their homes.
General information on homelessness
Individuals or families may be homeless for a variety of reasons. There is no one, simple answer to this question. A number of complex conditions may exist that pose barriers to permanent housing:
Insufficient affordable housing
Many families and individuals simply cannot afford market rents and the supply of subsidized and below market rate housing does not meet the demand. In many areas of Maine, there is no public transportation available, making these areas inaccessible to people without their own transportation.
Low monthly income
Adults with minimum wage or low hourly wage simply do not earn enough to cover necessities. In addition, those many of those receiving one or more types of public assistance still do not receive enough to cover housing, food and health care.
Job Or Income Loss
Statistics tells us that many individuals and families are “one paycheck away from homelessness.” Although the poor are most at risk of homelessness, middle class families who lose the wage-earner’s income – whether due to job loss, disability, death or for other reasons – may not be able to continue monthly housing payments leading to evictions from their homes due to mortgage or rental defaults.
A large number of homeless individuals grapple with various forms of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, bipolar personality disorder, and schizophrenia are among the most common. Though not a direct cause of homelessness, poor mentally ill individuals have a lack of access to support services to secure appropriate housing or treatment.
Alcohol or drug addiction is a disease that crosses socioeconomic boundaries. However, individuals living on the edge of poverty lack the social or financial supports to address the addiction and are at a higher risk of homelessness. Addicts who are homeless often lack adequate health care, access to addiction treatment, or supportive housing, which is compounded by the stigma of addiction.
When a victim of domestic violence decides to leave an abuser, s/he is usually making the choice between personal safety and housing and financial stability. Massachusetts allows domestic violence survivors to reside in a domestic violence shelter for a maximum of 90 days. Too often, the survivor – who, more often than not, has been isolated from friends and family – is often faced by a choice of returning to the batterer or homelessness.
Poor history – Many people are homeless because a past event, such as an eviction or incarceration, makes these individuals unattractive to many potential landlords.
Homelessness prevention initiatives, such as rental assistance or support services, provide families the help they need to remain in their homes. Programs such as rental assistance provide a limited monetary assistance to cover the shortfall in rent payments, at a lower cost to taxpayers than emergency shelters. Non-financial support services for vulnerable tenants provide appropriate interventions to prevent homelessness.
Individuals and families also need access to affordable health care, including substance abuse treatment and mental health recovery services, as well as access to job training and employment assistance, designed to assist individuals and families in overcoming barriers to their homelessness.
Additional Statistics on Homelessness Maine Housing works with homeless services providers each year in an attempt to count the number of homeless people in the state each year. The “Point in Time” (PIT) survey is published each year to give an overview of the numbers of homeless people and causes of homeless www.mainehousing.org/data/housing-reports-info.