Homeless population continues to face financial struggle

Homeless continue to face financial burden

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - There may be several organizations helping the homeless, but the cost to do that work can have a hefty price tag and for those living on the street it’s an unbearable burden. Jericho Way, an organization in Little Rock, is working towards a big event to expand their goal of ending homelessness.

Staff there are helping homeless regain independence and they are also working to change the stigma of being homeless. Jimmy Lawson has lived in Little Rock for 16 years. He grew on a farm with his grandfather and later became a truck driver.

"I went from making $85,000 a year to making less than $19,000 now,” Lawson said.

After run-ins with the law, he was locked up. Now that Lawson's out of prison he's finding it hard to survive. So, he's living homeless.

"It's hard to get a good paying job. Now, I am having to work out of a temp service," Lawson said.

Which for Lawson isn't enough. Mandy Davis, a social worker for Jericho Way said Lawson isn't the only one having difficulties. A lot of the guests who come in find it hard to sustain and save money.

"It's $6 or $5 a night," Davis explained. "We've estimated on a monthly basis, if you stayed in a shelter it would be $180."

The costs, however, don't stop there. There’s also the cost of items like identification and birth certificate's, all things needed in order to stay at a shelter and if you factor in the cost of food, you open up a whole new can of beans.

"If I work at a temp service I would average around $64 to $68 a day," Lawson explained. 

He also said that his daily expenses are roughly $25. That amount would be spent on things like bus fair, shelter, food, and daily living. And that’s if he's fortunate enough to have a steady job from the temp agencies. Lawson said it's a struggle to save money when income isn't guaranteed.

That's where you can help. Lawson encouraged people to get out and get involved by offering your time. Jericho Way will hold their first Sleep Out in the Rock next Friday. A fundraiser that also gives you a glimpse at what it's like to live homeless.


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