Understanding Homelessness in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County
- Throughout the United States there is a severe shortage of housing affordable to low-income earners. “Today, 8 million extremely low-income households pay at least half of their income toward housing, putting them at risk of housing instability and homelessness.”
- Minimum wage is not enough for earners to afford housing at fair market value almost everywhere in America.
- The financial strain of a serious health problem and/or lack of adequate healthcare can lead to homelessness, while homelessness can lead to or exacerbate health conditions, leading to chronic homelessness. This is especially true of low-income or uninsured people.
- According to the 2019 Housing Needs and Vulnerability Survey Results the top 5 self-reported reasons respondents said they become homeless were:
- Inability to pay rent
- Dispute with family or friends
- Plans with family or friends fell through
- According to the 2019 Housing Needs and Vulnerability Survey Results the top 5 self-reported barriers respondents said they faced in obtaining housing were:
- Inability to find affordable housing
- Medical problems
- Inability to find work
- Dental problems
- Race and Housing: “Using demographic data from the last three years, we see that while the percent of Black persons in poverty in the region is 6%, our three-year Point in Time average within the homeless population is 19%. We also noted that Hispanic/Latino groups were less likely to be homeless in contrast to the population.”
- According to the United for ALICE National Overview three-year average, 10% of households in Rockingham County are living at or below the poverty line, while 25% of households in the county are ALICE households.