Licking County Coalition for Housing

Many people have misconceptions about the homeless. The
following myths and facts may help you to better understand the problem. 

MYTH: Most homeless people are middle aged
FACT: The average age of a homeless person is nine years old. The fastest growing homeless group in the U.S. is families with children, making up about 30% of the homeless population nationally.

MYTH: Most homeless people are substance abusers or mentally ill
FACT: About 25% report using a substance like alcohol or drugs often and less than 17% suffer from mental illness. These groups significantly overlap.

MYTH: Homeless children don’t go to school
FACT: About 88% of homeless children are enrolled in school.

MYTH: A person is homeless if they live with friends or family members.
FACT: According to HUD guidelines, a person is only considered to be homeless if he/she resides in a place not meant for human habitation, or resides in a car, an abandoned building, is living on the street or in an emergency shelter, or being evicted within 14 days from their nighttime residence.

MYTH: Homeless people are homeless by choice
FACT: More than 90% of homeless people are homeless because of financial crisis that has occured, such as the loss of a job, divorce, sickness, or any other economic situation that was not intended or planned for. Most people who become homeless are willing to do whatever they can to return to the standard economic requirements of our society.

MYTH: Homelessness is not as big of a problem as it was a few years ago
FACT: Homelessness continues to grow each year. 13,003 people were homeless in the State of Ohio during a statewide one day count in January 2011. At least 39% of them were children.  In the United States, 3.5 million families experience homelessness each year. Approximately 1.35 million are children.

MYTH: Homeless people are just lazy. “Why don’t they just get a job?”
FACT: Many homeless people are among the working poor, a term used to describe people who have worked 27 hours or more and are at or below the official poverty level. In 2009 11.7% of employed individuals were living below the poverty level, compared to 7.6% in 2000. About 7.9% of families were below the poverty level. Most of the working poor make too much to qualify for government assistance and live paycheck to paycheck, leaving no savings for an emergency fund. Homeless people typically work harder for the little they receive. Most homeless folks have at least part time work, and are looking for steady, full time work, but find that it is difficult for one who does not have an address or a daily shower.

MYTH: A person working full-time at minimum wage can easily afford housing.
FACT: According to fair market rent value in 2012, an average one bedroom apartment in Licking County will rent for $625 per month. This means a person would have to work 40 hours a week at a pay rate of $9.76 per hour to afford that apartment. A two bedroom apartment rents for $790 per month. To afford that, a person would have to make $12.34 an hour working 40 hours per week. Three bedrooms rent at $994, and a person would need $15.53 an hour at 40 hours per week. For a four bedroom renting at $1080, the renter needs to make $16.87 per hour, 40 hours per week. Ohio is the 34th most expensive state in the nation for renters.

MYTH: Homelessness is only a big-city problem
FACT: Homelessness in rural Ohio has grown in the last several years. No Ohio county is exempt from homelessness. People who live in rural areas are twice as likely to be poor as people who live in cities. Rural homelessness is often invisible. According to the US Department of Agriculture, most rural people who become homeless are likely to live doubled and tripled up with family in substandard housing. This is a contrast to the more stereotypical picture of homelessness that occurs in urban areas, where, when people lose their housing they are quite visible, living on the streets or in parks.

MYTH: Virtually all homeless people are single men
FACT: Women comprise 65% of homeless adults in Ohio. There were more than 35,000 homeless children in Ohio in 2011. Rural people who become homeless are more likely to be white, employed females than their urban counterparts. They are also more likely to be homeless for the first time.

MYTH: Homelessness is only a problem in winter
FACT: Shelter providers report that demand for temporary shelter remains high all year. In fact, some believe that evictions increase in the warmer months.

Facts about homelessness in Licking County:
An LCCH survey showed that more than 2,400 people were homeless in Licking County during a one-year period ending April 1, 2012. 1682 adults came to LCCH seeking housing assistance.

In 2012 The Salvation Army shelter in Newark served 509 individuals which represented 364 households. 64 of the households served had at least one child in the household.

On January 22, 2013 Licking County conducted a Point-In-Time count and found on that night there were 191 individuals in Licking County that were homeless. This means these individuals were either living in an emergency shelter, in a transitional housing program, on the streets or in their cars.

LCCH maintains over 40 Transitional Housing units in Newark for homeless residents of the county. 47 single adults and 43 families (totaling 161 persons) entered the LCCH Transitional Housing program during the one-year period ending June 30, 2013. The families included 71 children.

The emergency shelters at The Salvation Army, New Beginnings and St. Vincent Haven are the principal sources of referrals for the LCCH. Faith-based agencies also make direct referrals.

About 10 families and 30 individuals are typically on the waiting list for LCCH Transitional Housing units. The typical wait can be 1-4 months. Approximately 50% of the individuals on the list are residing in an emergency shelter with a 90 day time limit.

The average length of stay in LCCH housing is 10.8 months.

The average cost of a home on the market in 2013 in Licking County is $152,600.

The minimum household income necessary to purchase a home that meets the building code in the county is approximately $30,000 per year. Minimum down payments range from $3,000 to $5,000. The 2012 Median household income in Licking County is about $44,124 per year.

Nearly 300 people are homeless in Licking County on any given night.

91% of the homeless in Licking County are homeless for the first time.

The average household is 2 paychecks away from becoming homeless.

40% of the homeless in Licking County are children.

For Addtional Info:
Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO)

National Alliance to End Homelessness

U.S Inter-agency Council on Homelessness

National Coalition for the Homeless

Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness