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US homelessness may rise 45% by year’s end — these groups are helping

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  • The coronavirus pandemic could cause US homelessness to rise 45% by the end of the year, according to one estimate.
  • Record waves of unemployment and evictions are forcing hundreds of thousands of Americans to the streets.
  • We spoke with homeless families in Oakland and Atlanta, as well as local nonprofits that are helping them land on their feet.
  • View more episodes of Business Insider Weekly on Facebook.

There is a new wave of homelessness growing in the United States.

Amid record waves of unemployment and evictions spurred by the coronavirus, hundreds of thousands of Americans who were already living paycheck to paycheck are being pushed to the streets. 

An estimated 560,000 Americans are homeless on any given night, and experts predict the pandemic could increase homelessness by 45% by the end of the year, according to Columbia University researchers.

Business Insider Today interviewed people in Oakland and Atlanta who recently became homeless, as well as members and beneficiaries of programs providing them relief.

For Oakland residents Tanara Green and her 3-year-old son, a truck is home.

“I wasn’t always living out of my truck, of course,” Green said. “I had a nice, stable job and I was paying money faithfully to the landlord.”

Green left her last home because the shared apartment she was living in felt unsafe. But the landlord refused to give her deposit back, so she couldn’t afford a new house.

BI HOMELESSNESS   V1_CUT 7_FINAL.00_01_54_15.Still008

“Right now I need somebody to look at me as a mom, and not somebody who’s just messed up their credit,” Green said.

Leo Maco for Business Insider Today


To make matters worse, Green also lost her job during the pandemic when she couldn’t find childcare.

“We’ve been motel room to motel room, somebody’s house to somebody’s house,” she said. “I’m filling out these applications. I’m paying these deposits. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do on my half. And I’m getting nothing but ‘Oh, you have bad credit.'”

After six weeks in her truck, Green found the East Oakland Collective, a grassroots volunteer organization that provides services to homeless residents. The group set her up in a motel for a week while helping her find more permanent housing.

Candice Elder, founder of the East Oakland Collective, visits homeless encampments on a regular basis with her team, where they distribute food and also COVID-19 kits, including masks and hand sanitizer.

She said the group’s mission has been made even more difficult because of the pandemic.

“We’re having to provide resources for people who are on the street and who are visibly homeless, but also trying to provide resources for the folks that you don’t see — the people who are living in their cars, their vans, people who are living in their RVs,” Elder said. “And because we’re in this COVID-19 crisis right now, we’re really worried about the rate of homelessness even increasing even more in Oakland.”

east oakland collective

The East Oakland Collective, founded by Candice Elder, provides services like food and COVID-19 kits to homeless residents.

Leo Maco for Business Insider Today


California is home to the biggest homeless population in the United States. And like in the rest of the country, it is a problem disproportionately affecting Black Americans, who make up 13% of the national population but 40% of people who are homeless.

“We’re seeing the explosion of, you know, decades-long and deep racial disparities, health disparities, disparities as far as access to resources and economic means. And we’ve seeing it displayed on the streets,” Elder said.

One East Oakland Collective volunteer is homeless herself. Markaya Sparks was living in a donated tiny house, but had to leave it in mid-March because it wasn’t fitted for electricity or running water. She usually needed about 40 gallons a day, but during the lockdown, it became harder to find.

“I literally had to go across town in order to collect the amount of water I needed in order for me, my dogs, my daughter, you know, everything. It was ridiculous,” Sparks said.

Through a program run by the EOC, Markaya was eventually placed in a motel, where she has continuous access to water and electricity.  

Sparks believes the only way out of homelessness is for housing requirements to change.

“I’m not unhoused because of my own doing,” she said. “I’m unhoused because my landlord lost his property. And I can’t get housing because now another landlord wants me to have three times the rent.”

“It has to be humanity over profit, period. You have to have humanity over profit.”

In Atlanta, one formerly homeless family is trying to hold on to their “miracle” apartment.

homelessness neidigs atlanta

Jennifer and Christopher Neidig were evicted from their extended-stay motel in Atlanta when they could no longer pay.

Carlos Andres Cuervo for Business Insider Today


In Atlanta, a week before lockdown, Jennifer Neidig’s husband Christopher lost his latest temp job, forcing them to move with their two disabled children into an extended-stay motel. They used the money from Christopher’s tax returns and the stimulus for all their living expenses.

But when it ran out, the motel gave them a notice of eviction. 

“It’s the most frightening thing to be faced with, knowing that you don’t know what’s going to happen with your kids. You don’t know what’s going to happen one day to the next,” Jennifer Neidig said.

Many other Americans will likely face the same fate in coming months, with eviction moratoriums expiring across the US. Recent research has estimated that 30 million to 40 million renters are at risk of being evicted by the end of the year.

Once evicted, families face an uphill battle securing a new place to live, said Emily Benfer, a law professor at Wake Forest University and cocreator of the COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard.

“It is a trauma that families and individuals are experiencing that takes an extremely long amount of time to recover from,” Benfer said. “One of the reasons for this is that once an eviction is filed, that is on the tenant’s permanent record. And so future property owners might screen to look for that. And they might be kept out of housing opportunities that would be of equal or positive experience for them.”

“At the same time, it also affects credit scores, the ability to apply for a mortgage, and other areas that one might want to access in order to increase opportunity and participation.”

Luckily, Neidig’s family found help in the form of Crossroads Community Ministries, a nonprofit that provides services to the homeless. The organization arranged for the Neidigs to temporarily stay in a two-bedroom apartment, an act Jennifer Neidig called “a miracle.”

“You would be surprised that the number of individuals experiencing homelessness who have income, they’re working or they have benefits,” Crossroads executive director Tony Johns said. “But it’s that hurdle, that barrier of moving costs, those security deposits, those application fees.”

HOMELESSNESS neidigs crossroads

Atlanta nonprofit Crossroads Community Ministries helped the Neidigs secure a temporary stay in a two-bedroom apartment that the Neidigs hope becomes permanent.

Carlos Andres Cuervo for Business Insider Today


They now rely on food stamps for groceries, and still must decide which bills to prioritize. Their goal is to make enough money to keep the apartment, although so far, Christopher Neidig has been unable to secure a job at a supermarket or call center.

“We’ve made it this far,” Jennifer Neidig said. “We will do anything possible to keep it, you know, and we know that first things first, we pay the rent. That’s a given. So we’re not going to be without a roof over our heads.”

But without  government assistance, there are no guarantees the Neidigs will be able to stay in this apartment. They are among the 30 million Americans who currently rely on unemployment benefits to survive. That’s up from 6.7 million in February this year.

“I really wish that it wasn’t so that the homeless were subjectified to cliches,” Jennifer Neidig said. “And it’s not the kind of demographic that you would expect — it’s normal families just trying to make it.”

Meanwhile, back in Oakland, Tanara Green is hoping people can see beyond her status as a homeless woman.

“Right now I need somebody to look at me as a mom, and not somebody who’s just messed up their credit,” she said.  “This is a time where somebody should open up their heart and understand the fact that I have a kid out here sleeping on a street, that anything can happen to us.”

“What people should know and understand is anybody could become unhoused and anybody unhoused is people,” Markaya Sparks said. “We’re all human beings. We all have a story.”

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Loans Bad Credit Online – Loans Bad Credit Online – Reforming India’s deposit insurance scheme | Fintech Zoom | Fintech Zoom

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Loans Bad Credit Online – Loans Bad Credit Online – Reforming India’s deposit insurance scheme | Fintech Zoom

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Loans Bad Credit Online – Reforming India’s deposit insurance scheme | Fintech Zoom

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The government’s incentive to step in and bail out depositors when banks fail is clear from past experience.

By Anusha Chari & Amiyatosh Purnanandam

The failure of the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (PMC) in September 2019 shone a light on the limitations of India’s deposit insurance system. With over Rs 11,000 crore in deposits, PMC bank was one of the largest co-op banks. That the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) insurance covered depositors, provided little solace when the realisation hit that the insurance amounted to a mere Rs 1 lakh per deposit.

The predicament of PMC depositors is, unfortunately, not an anomaly. Several bank failures over the years have severely strained RBI and central government resources. While co-operative banks account for a predominant share of failures, other prime examples include the Global Trust Bank and Yes Bank failures. These failures entail a direct cost to the taxpayer—the DICGC payment or a government bailout. More importantly, bank failures impose long-term indirect costs. They erode depositor confidence and threaten financial stability, presenting an urgent need for deposit insurance reform in the country.

A sound deposit insurance system requires balancing two opposing forces: maintaining depositor confidence while minimising deposit insurance’s direct and indirect costs. At one extreme, the regulator can insure all the deposits, which will undoubtedly strengthen depositor confidence. But such a system would be very expensive.

A bank with full deposit insurance has minimal incentive to be prudent while making loans. Taxpayers bear the losses in the eventuality that risky loans go bad. Depositors also have little incentive to be careful. They can simply make deposits in the banks offering high interest rates regardless of the risks these banks take on the lending side.

Boosting depositor confidence and reducing direct and indirect costs require careful structuring of both the quantity and pricing of deposit insurance. Some relatively quick and straightforward fixes could help alleviate the public’s mistrust while improving the deposit insurance framework’s efficiency.

India has made some progress on this front over the last couple of years. First, the insurance limit increased to `5 lakh in 2020. Second, the 2021 Union Budget amended the DICGC Act of 1961, allowing the immediate withdrawal of insured deposits without waiting for complete resolution. These are very welcome moves. Several additional steps could bring India’s deposit insurance system in line with best practices around the world. Even with the increased coverage limit, India remains an outlier, as the accompanying graphic shows.

The government’s incentive to step in and bail out depositors when banks fail is clear from past experience. However, these ex-post bailouts are costly. The bailout process also tends to be long, complicated, and uncertain, further eroding depositor confidence in the banking system. A better alternative would be to increase the deposit insurance limit substantially and, at the same time, charge the insured banks a risk-based premium for this insurance. Under the current flat-fee based system, the SBI pays144 the same premium to the DICGC—12 paise per 100 rupees of insured deposits—as does any other bank!

A risk-based approach will achieve two objectives. First, it will ensure that the deposit insurance fund of the DICGC has sufficient funds to make quick and timely repayments to depositors. Second, the risk-based premia will curb excessive risk-taking by banks, given that they will be required to pay a higher cost for taking on risk.

India is not alone in trying to address the issue of improving the efficiency of deposit insurance. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recognizes that the regulatory framework governing deposit insurance is far from perfect and the United States is moving towards risk-based premia. The concept is similar to pricing car insurance premia according to the risk profile of the driver. The FDIC computes deposit insurance premia based on factors such as the bank’s capital position, asset quality, earnings, liquidity positions, and the types of deposits.

In India, too, banks can be placed into buckets or tiers along these different dimensions. The deposit premium can depend on these factors. It is easy to see that a bank with a worsening capital position and a high NPA ratio should pay a higher deposit insurance premium than a well-capitalized bank with a healthy lending portfolio. The idea is not dissimilar to a risky driver paying more for car insurance than a safe driver.

Risk-sensitive pricing can go hand-in-hand with the increase in the insured deposit coverage limits bringing India in line with its emerging market peers. In a credit-hungry country like India, these moves would build depositor confidence, possibly increasing the volume of deposits and achieving the happy result of the banking system channeling more savings to productive use.

Chari is professor of economics and finance, and director of the Modern Indian Studies Initiative, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Purnanandam is the Michael Stark Professor of Finance at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

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5 Signs You’re Not Ready to Own a Home, According to a CFP

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The housing market has boomed over the last year, despite a global pandemic and millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet. 

Many people are spending less on entertainment, clothing, travel, and other discretionary purchases during COVID. Federal student loan borrowers have seen temporary relief from their loan payments. These expenses will most likely rise again after the pandemic, and many people who committed to a new home with a large mortgage will struggle to keep up. 

I often speak with clients and prospective clients who want to buy a home before they have a strong financial foundation. Buying a home is not only one of the largest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, but it’s also a huge commitment that’s extremely hard to undo if you have buyer’s remorse

It’s important to make a thoughtful, informed decision when it comes to a home purchase. Before you take the plunge into homeownership, check for these signs that you’re not quite ready to buy. 

1. You have credit card debt

Credit card debt can be a drain on your monthly budget, and when combined with student loans and a car loan, it can lead to high levels of stress. 

Generally, more debt means higher fixed expenses and little opportunity to save for long-term financial goals. Your financial situation will only get worse with the addition of a mortgage. I always recommend that clients be free of credit card or other high-interest debt before they consider buying a home. 

To rid yourself of credit card debt, take some time to get a good handle on your cash flow. Take an inventory of your spending over the last six to 12 months and see where you can cut back. From there, develop a realistic budget that includes aggressive payments to your credit cards. 

There are several strategies to help you knock out credit card debt fast. Regardless of the method you choose, stick with the plan and track your progress along the way. Once you pay off your credit cards, you can allocate your debt payments to savings, which can help you avoid this situation in the future.  

2. You have bad credit

Bad credit is not only a sign that you may not be ready to take on a mortgage, it can also signal a high risk to

mortgage lenders
. A high-risk status results in higher interest rates and more strict requirements to qualify for a loan. A mortgage is one of the largest loans you’ll take out in your lifetime, and if you get behind on payments, you could lose your home. 

Just as with credit card debt, bad credit could be a result of past financial mistakes. Dedicating the time to repair bad credit and improve your credit score will help you beyond purchasing your dream home. 

Start by pulling a recent credit report from each of the three credit bureaus so you can review it for errors. Dispute any errors, address past-due accounts, and bring your overall debt balances down. It’s helpful to learn what has a negative effect on your credit score so you can avoid these mistakes in the future. 

3. You don’t have an emergency fund (or an inadequate one)

If you’re unable to save for a rainy day, you probably don’t have enough money to buy a house. Owning a home is a big responsibility, and unexpected expenses pop up all the time. In addition, you could lose your job, have a medical emergency, or another unexpected expense unrelated to the home. Maintaining an emergency fund is a good sign that you have discipline and are prepared for the responsibility of homeownership.

Many financial experts recommend saving at least six months of living expenses in an emergency fund. If you have variable income, own a business, or own a house, you should save more. To build an emergency fund, set money aside from each paycheck and automate transfers to make the process easier. Give your emergency fund a boost when you receive lump sums such as bonuses or tax refunds. Start by saving one month of living expenses and build from there. 

4. You don’t have separate savings for your home

I always advise clients to set aside savings for a home in addition to an emergency fund. It’s a bad idea to start homeownership with no savings. Whether you have unexpected expenses related or unrelated to the home, having no emergency fund after a home purchase will lead to unnecessary stress — and possibly more debt. 

When purchasing a home, you’re responsible for a down payment and closing costs. While a 20% down payment is ideal to avoid private mortgage insurance, a down payment of at least 3.5% is typically required. Closing costs can range from 2 to 5% of the home’s value. 

Also, you will have moving costs, costs to spruce up your new place (like new furniture or light cosmetic updates), and any initial maintenance and repairs. Be sure to budget for these items to know how much to save on top of your emergency fund. It doesn’t hurt to boost your emergency fund, too, in preparation for homeownership. 

5. You have a low savings rate

It’s much easier to develop good savings habits before you have a lot of responsibilities. To get on track for financial independence, several studies show that you should save at least 15% of your income. The longer you wait, the more you’ll need to save. 

If your savings rate is low before you purchase a home, it will most likely worsen after becoming a homeowner. Even if your mortgage is similar to your rent, ongoing maintenance and repairs, higher utilities, and homeowners association fees can wreak havoc on your budget. 

Take a look at your current savings rate and see if you’re on track for financial independence. If you’re saving less than 15 to 20% of your income, work to improve your savings rate before you consider buying a home. A strong savings habit can help you build your home savings fund faster and ensure that a home purchase doesn’t impede your long-term financial goals. Finally, understand how much house you can afford so you can avoid being house poor. 

Buying a home can be rewarding, and when done the right way, it’s a way to build wealth. Before you decide to buy a home, it’s important to understand your numbers and ensure that you’re ready for the commitment. Without preparation, your dream home could be detrimental to your long-term financial goals.

Chloe A. Moore, CFP, is the founder of Financial Staples, a virtual, fee-only financial planning firm based in Atlanta, Georgia and serving clients nationwide.

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