What kind of credit rating would a homeless person likely have?
A homeless shelter in my community is closing because the non-profit organization that owns and operates it is going out-of-business due to a lack of donations. The organization was supported through private charitable contributions, although at one time, they may have posibly received some government support through a faith-based kind of initiative. The original homeless shelter was located in an aging, small motel on a highway that the organization had acquired. They moved to a bigger and better location when they were able to purchase an apartment complex, which they did some refurbishing of. All of the housing they provide was temporary and transitional in nature. The residents, which I believe included families with children, lived in their own apartments, not some large open, common area as in some homeless shelters. The organization was big on linking the residents up with whatever services they may need to the extent possible, and on making sure that they applied for jobs or at least found some other more permanent affordable housing, elsewhere. When the non-profit organization lost its financial contributions due to the economy and public apathy, a mental health agency stepped in to advise the organization what to do, and they contacted another more stable non-profit organization which specializes in housing for low-income people. This other organization in the past has worked with HUD and with the state to obtain funding. The plan was for them to obtain a state grant to buy the homeless shelter and convert most of the apartments into permanent low-income housing, leaving 12 of the units as temporary emergency housing for homeless people. The state, not surprisingly, did not come up with the money. The occupants have to be out in two weeks, and the organization only has one employee left to help them find somewhere to move to.
Some of the residents were inteviewed by a newspaper, and they stated that possibly the main reason they can't find a job is that the companies they applied to and where they might be able to work at require a credit check of all job applicants. They are homeless and unemployed, so their credit rating is obviously not good.
A state lawmaker in a different state (Illinois) is trying to introduce a bill to outlaw the use of credit checks by potential employers for screening of job applicants for most occupations. There may be a small number of posiitons, e.g., chief financial officer, credit manager, etc., where one's personal credit rating may have some relevance, but according to this legislator, there is no empirical evidence that one's credit score has anything to do with predicting how well someone will perform on a job. And, he went on to point out, look at all the corporations who have mismanged themselves (persons that they are) into having to file for bankruptcy. So it is completely hypocritical for these corporate bosses to run a credit check on job applicants who in most cases have been impoverished by unemployment or perhaps by having accepted a low-paying job when so many companies have filed for bankruptcy or even gone out of business. Even if someone did spend too much money, that does not prove that they would not make a good employee. If rich executives can be greedy and live the life of luxury, why can't other people have some of their needs and desires met? What about AIG needing probably over a billion in federal bailout money? What say ye corporate exectutives about the demise of Washington Mutual, the largest bank failure in U.S. history, or the failure of Lehman Brothers, the largest bankruptcy (and I think liquidation) in U.S. history? What about the situation at GM and Chrysler? Readers' Digest Association had to file for bankruptcy. Bank of America was fined by the federal government because of their handling of their buyout of Merrill Lynch in which the bank's CEO and other executives didn't tell the board of directors the full story about the brokerage company's financial circumstances. And on it goes.
And employment law is largely a matter of state government, a neglected area of public discourse and action. Hawaii and a few other states prohibit employers from doing credit checks of jobs applicants. I already called my state rep and state senator and told them that I thought our state politicians are in bed with corporate executives and that a lawmaker in Illinois is trying to bring about legal change to prohibit this unfair business practice that is a form of employment discrimination, which is exactly what this country does not need.