Letters to the Editor: Microloans can prevent homelessness. Government leaders, are you listening?
This letter was in response to a recent editorial by former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who stated there is a “moral imperative” to grant hundreds of thousands of poor people loans to purchase or build houses. I believe it is time for the U.S. to start looking at the problem.
The problem is not lack of housing. The problem is the lack of affordable housing, as I have explained in many published articles and in an essay I recently published in a local newspaper here in Orange County.
In 2010, I published an article in the OC Register titled, “How Many People are Homeless?” It contained the following statistic: “Among the 1.2 million Californians currently homeless, 50 percent are on public assistance and only about 3 percent of homeless people are living in shelters.”
A little more research by myself and others revealed the actual number: 1,400. That’s about 11 percent of the state’s homeless, or 11 percent of the 1.2 million Californians who currently are homeless.
In order to become homeless, someone would have to give up all of their income, savings and assets to go into debt and become homeless. However, the problem is made worse when the “loan” money is not repaid.
With only government-assisted benefits, there is no way that a family can become homeless. What happens is that the family gives up their income to pay the mortgage. Then the family stops paying for essentials such as food, clothing and rent. The family gets on a waiting list to sleep in a hotel. Eventually, the family has to walk to the store, where they are still getting by on the minimum wage, which is often not enough to pay for the essentials that the family needs.
People also use the government assistance programs to get their housing. In fact, when those people turn 55, they lose their housing assistance, just like they did before they were 30. If people want to live in the suburbs, their only option is to move into a home in their own neighborhood,