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One Paycheck from Homeless

This is how it happens. You lose your job. You lose your home. Then you’re homeless. Just like that. And it happens every day — to people who don’t think it could ever happen to them.

Average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Panama City is $1224 per month. Average per capita income for Panama City residents is $25,194. But if you make minimum wage ($8.10 per hour), you earn $16,848 – once taxes are withheld, that may or may not cover rent and nothing else.

The average Panama City resident lives paycheck to paycheck. Most cannot afford to put money back for savings. If you get laid off, you are one month away from broke. You would have to move and break a lease. Breaking a lease will result in difficulty renting again.

You would have to rely on friends and family to have somewhere to go. What if you have no children and your parents have passed on? Where do you go?

It takes, on average, 65 days to find a job. Assuming you have no barriers, such as not being qualified, being over qualified, having any convictions, lack of transportation or childcare, etc., then maybe you can be re-employed within a few months. You may find that you have to have so long at that job before many landlords will rent to you, and most would be hesitant with a recent eviction or lease termination.

If you’re able to overcome all of that, it can take a year or longer to get back on your feet after a lay-off, IF you have people who are willing to help during that time and provide shelter and food.

If you don’t have friends or family to rely on, you go from losing a job and home to homeless. There is nowhere for people who don’t have a support system to go in this scenario.

The average person is one paycheck away from being homeless.

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