Why are people homeless?

Many factors contribute to homelessness, including low wages, lack of affordable rental housing, domestic violence, job loss, substance abuse, and mental health issues.

  • Housing unaffordability: To afford the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Redmond, you need to make $33.77 per hour. Or if you make the minimum wage, you’d have to work 117 hours per week (that's almost 3 full time jobs).

  • Lack of mental health and substance abuse services: States with less support for mental health services are associated with higher rates of homelessness. Washington ranks 48th in the nation in access to mental health services.

  • Youth homelessness: 1 in 4 local youth become homeless within one year of aging out of foster care. 25% of homeless youth are kicked out of the home because of their sexual orientation.

  • Domestic violence: 80% of homeless mothers with children are victims of domestic violence.


Many paths in, many paths out: Emilio's Story

Emilio, like many people, lost everything in 2008. After spending six years as a restaurant manager on a cruise ship, he returned to Seattle and found himself back at square one. For two years, he lived in a tent city. “It kind of breaks your heart to walk through these aisles, to see people living in these conditions that I lived in as well.” Fortunately, Emilio learned about Congregations for the Homeless’ (CFH) Emergency Winter Shelter, where he stayed until he was able to enter the Year-Round Shelter program.

Looking back, Emilio attributes much of his success to his relationship with his case manager: “He helped me face things from the past that are painful, but you have to get those skeletons out of the closet to move forward.” Now, Emilio is a House Manager at one of CFH’s permanent houses. He’s responsible for the entire home and creating a sense of community for the men living there. He also works full-time at Nintendo.