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February is Black History Month - Breaking the Cycle: The Lack of Pay for Homeless Families Striving for Stability 

Family homelessness is a complex issue that affects hundreds of families in the Coastal Empire area and it disproportionately affects families of color.  Across the nation, research proves that African American workers are likely to earn 30% less than white people and this makes the challenge of finding affordable housing even more difficult.   


Significant efforts are made to provide shelter and support for homeless families, but a lesser-discussed challenge emerges when these families regain stability - the lack of adequate pay. The realities for people of color in the Coastal Empire are especially disturbing, with the median household income for White households twice that of Black households.  75% of families in poverty in Savannah are led by African American single females which is not so surprising when you consider that Black women are paid 62 cents less for every dollar paid to their white counterparts.  In 2019, the median income for Black women was only $26,537.  


This blog delves into the struggles homeless families face as they strive to achieve peace and highlights the importance of fair compensation to break the cycle of homelessness. 


The Struggle for Stability: 

Homeless families who manage to secure shelter and stabilize their lives face many challenges on their journey to self-sufficiency. These families often encounter impossible barriers, from finding stable employment and affordable housing to rebuilding their lives. One critical factor exacerbating their struggle is the lack of fair pay when they do secure work. 


Importance of Fair Compensation: 

Obtaining stable employment is crucial for homeless families on their path to independence. However, even when they find jobs, many are trapped in low-wage positions that barely cover the cost of living. This lack of fair compensation makes it incredibly difficult for them to break free from the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Insufficient wages lead to a perpetual cycle where families struggle to afford necessities, let alone save for a better future. 


The Vicious Cycle: 

The lack of fair pay for homeless families hinders their immediate well-being and perpetuates a vicious cycle. When families cannot earn enough to support themselves adequately, they remain at a higher risk of returning to homelessness. Frequently, they need help saving money, building a safety net, or investing in education and skills development that could lead to higher-paying opportunities. Thus, the absence of fair compensation affects individuals and has a long-lasting impact on their children. 


Breaking the Cycle: 

Breaking the cycle of homelessness requires a multi-faceted approach. One of the critical components of this approach is ensuring that homeless families receive fair pay for their work. With fair compensation, they can afford stable housing, education, healthcare, and other essentials that contribute to long-term stability. Fair wages empower them to plan for the future, invest in education, and build savings - all of which are crucial for preventing the recurrence of homelessness. 


Policy Interventions and Awareness: 

Policymakers need to recognize the importance of fair pay in breaking the cycle of homelessness. Implementing policies that set minimum wage standards, provide job training, and support access to higher-paying employment can significantly impact homeless families' ability to regain stability. Moreover, raising awareness about this problem can prompt businesses, communities, and individuals to take action and support fair compensation for those trying to escape homelessness. 


The lack of fair pay for homeless families striving for stability is an often-overlooked issue perpetuating the cycle of homelessness and during Black History Month we want to focus on the many families of color affected by this cycle. By addressing this challenge, we can provide families with the means to secure stable housing, access education, healthcare, and plan for a better future. Recognizing the importance of fair compensation is a critical step toward breaking the cycle of homelessness and creating a society where all families have the opportunity to thrive. 

Katrina Bostick

Executive Director

Family Promise of the Coastal Empire 


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