No one wakes up one day and says, "I'd like to be homeless." There are many factors that can lead to the unfortunate outcome of sleeping in a bed at a shelter, or out on the cold, hard pavement. Below are three very common reasons why a person might find themselves homeless.

1) You're in Foster Care

20% of foster youth become homeless within 4 years of aging out of the foster care system.

Nationwide, 50% of the homeless population spent time in foster care.

This data comes from the National Foster Youth Institute.

A majority of young people in foster care have mental health issues such as depression. A history of trauma, abuse and neglect will do that to a person.

2) You're Living Paycheck to Paycheck

59% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, according to a survey from Charles Schwab.

According to Zillow-sponsored research on homelessness and its root causes, "Communities where people spend more than 32 percent of their income on rent can expect a more rapid increase in homelessness."

Washington has the 14th highest rent in the country, reports Rent Data.

3) You Have Unexpected Medical Bills

If you've ever had to go to the hospital, you know that costs add up fast. And given the choice between life or death, most of us would pay anything to go on living - and we do.

According to Benzinga, the average cost per day of a hospital stay in Washington is $3,945. Without insurance it costs even more.

  • Women having a baby will typically spend 1 to 2 days in the hospital.
  • Cancer patients may spend 3 to 5 days in the hospital.
  • Heart surgery patients will spend a week in the hospital.

You get the idea.

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