Think You can’t become Homeless?

A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames
5 min readNov 23, 2019
Why Millions of Americans are one Illness away from becoming Homeless
Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

I thought the same thing also.

Then I spent the next two years living under a bridge. This was after spending a year in Iraq in the military.

Could you survive being homeless?

What a question to ask someone.

But the reality is, anyone can become homeless in today’s society. Even I was homeless after I returned from my deployment to the middle-east; just like a Hollywood movie.

Americans are feeling better about their job security and the economy, which is a good thing but most are theoretically only one pay check away from becoming homeless. Why? They have no savings to tide them over nor can they afford health insurance, even Obamacare.

According to personal finance website, “approximately 62% of Americans have no emergency savings for things such as a $1,000 emergency room visit or a $500 car repair.”

Also, a full one third of Americans were living pay check to pay check, and if they lost their job, they would not be able to make their next rent or mortgage payment.


People aren’t homeless because they’re lazy, albeit there are always a few who try to beat the system. They aren’t homeless because they don’t have a job, because they do. They’re homeless because wages are low and housing prices are forever rising.

Let’s not talk about underpaid or unemployed college grads, that’s another story itself.

It’s estimated around 25 percent of the homeless population’s employed, and between 40 and 60 percent of them floats in and out of full-time and part-time work.

But wait! We live in a capitalist society. They aren’t supposed to be any homelessness.

A 2017 report by the Washington Council of Governments says 22 percent of the homeless are single adults and 25 percent of adults in homeless families are employed. Working a low wage job just doesn’t cut it anymore; a person needs two jobs and a roommate to live decently.

“The big economic trends of the last 20, 30 years are stagnating wages. Other costs are rising substantially — income and wealth are concentrated at the top of the ladder,” proclaims Justin King…

A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames

ElbyJames is an American disabled combat vet exiled in the UK & a free speech absolutist. He’s an occasional Top Writer .