The Housing Problem - The Primary Reason For Homelessness, Housing The Poor, Habitat For Humanity, Where The Homeless Live
median people rent nation
A home was at one time defined as a place where a family resided, but as American society changed, so did the definition of home. A home is now considered a place where one or more people live together, a private place to which they have legal right and where strangers may be excluded. It is the place where people keep their belongings and where they feel safe from the outside world. For housing to be considered a home it should be permanent with an address. Furthermore, in the best of circumstances a home should not be substandard but should still be affordable. Many people would agree that a place to call home is a basic human right.
Those people who have no fixed address and no private space of their own are the homeless. The obvious solution to homelessness would be to find a home for everyone who needs one. There is enough housing available in the United States; the problem lies in the affordability of that housing. Most of the housing in the United States costs far more than the very poor can afford to rent or buy. According to Census 2000, the median monthly gross rent for the nation's 35.7 million renter-occupied housing units (one-third of the nation's 105.5 million occupied housing units) was $602, a 5.4% increase over the $571 median for 1990. (See Table 4.1.) Renters in California led the nation in the share of their incomes spent on rent (27.7%). According to the Census Bureau, nine of the nation's ten highest-rent cities are in California, with median gross rents ranging from $985 to $1,272.
Homeownership is well beyond the reach of most low-income families. The National Association of Realtors reported that in January 2005 the median price for all housing types was $189,000, up 10.5% from January 2004, when the median price was $171,000 (Beth Bresnahan, "Existing-Home Sales Hold Steady in January," New York: RISMedia, February 28, 2005).