10 November 2018
Very Rough Draft Homelessness
Being homeless means that person does not have a home or a place of permanent residence. The origin of homelessness is traced back to America in the 1640s. In the eighteenth century homeless people were seen as “sturdy beggars”. For example towns like, Baltimore and Philadelphia had a much large number of homeless than any place in America. Then during the American Revolution, homelessness had a large increase. Many people soon after the American Revolution became homeless because they lack the proper necessities. The primary reasons for homelessness during this time include poverty, the lack of of affordable housing, lacking work opportunities, and the lack of assistance from the government. The word homelessness was first used in the United States during the 1870s to describe a beggar that went around the country to get a job. At the time, being homeless was viewed as a moral crisis instead of not having a permanent place to live. Today, homelessness continues to be a problem today. In the 1990s, Kuhn and Culhane created definitions for the different kinds of homeless people. They identified three groups of experiencing periods of homelessness. Transient, (80% of homeless population) those who use the shelter and had a single brief stay. Episodic(10% of the homeless population) those who had spent time and shelters multiples times. Chronic (10 of the homesless population) those who have spent long periods of time at the shelter multiples times. Today, in America, there are about 553,742 people who are experiencing homelessness. Single individuals made up 66.7% of the people experiencing homelessness (369,081 people). About 33.3%were people in families (184,661 adults and children). Approximately 7.2 percent of people counted were veterans (40,056), and 7.4 percent were unaccompanied children and young adults (40,799). Homelessness continues to carry on is because of poverty, the lack of of affordable housing, lacking work opportunities, mental/physical health, substance abuse, the stigma of homelessness, and the lack of assistance from the government.
Lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest reasons for homelessness. During the 1970s, there was a lot of affordable housing. That means that when a family or a person experienced a financial crisis and lost there home, they could easily find another home to move into. However, by the 1980s, there was a sudden shortage of low-cost housing. As a result, in combination with rising rents and stagnant wages for lower-income people the issue has continued and worsened. Today, 11 million extremely low-income households pay at least half of their income-toward housing, putting them at risk of housing instability and homelessness. This is a big issue that affects major cities of America. For example, the city of Los Angeles has among the largest amount of homeless people in the United Sates of America. Los Angeles is one the most expensive cities to live in the United States. There are an estimated 28,000 homeless people currently living in Los Angeles. According to the The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development affordable housing is defined as housing that costs no more than 30%of a family’s gross-income. In Los Angeles, more than 60% people are paying more than 30% of their household income for rent and more than 30% are paying more than half of their income on housing. As housing prices continue to rise, more and more people will continue to be unable to find housing. In fact, there is no state in the US where someone who works a full-time minimum wage job can afford rent. The median household income in America is $56,516 but cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Boston, and Seattle, the cost of living is almost double.
Disability is one of the biggest reasons for homelessness. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about a quarter of the homeless people in the United States of America are struggling with some kind of major mental illness. Also, studies have shown that 15% people with a serious mental illness have been homeless in the past year. To live with a severe mental illnesses in the United States is almost impossible to do so without any help. A sever mental disability will prevent a person from working also it any kind of job. A severe mental disability will also hinder a person ability to take care of themselves. This will lead to them needing assistance to continue living their daily lives. However, not all people with mental disabilities have the money or support to obtain this kind of assistance. This leads to them living in streets with no help or proper treatment for their mental health. Having poor mental health may also affect physical health. A person who is mentally ill might neglect the proper actions to protect themselves from diseases. Most diseases stem from a lack of proper hygiene. It also might cause them to get hurt from self-inflicted injuries or from fighting. Being physically disabled in the United States is also a major issue that is a person has, they may become homeless. If someone has a physical disability this can hinder them from obtaining a job because they are physically unable to do or the stigma alone causes them to be turned away from.
Substance abuse among the biggest reasons for homelessness. About two-thirds of homeless people have reported that substance abuse was a reason for homelessness. Substance abuse is a problem from any gender or age range can be affected by. According to the the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates, 38% of homeless people were dependent on alcohol and 26% abused other substances. In fact, many young homeless people have had a problem with substance abuse. About 71% of of children and young adults who are homeless have reported about having a problem with substance abuse. Also, about 15% of people above the of twelve have use substances in the past year and 8% have used substances within the past month. It is also such a big problem because of its addictive nature. To break an addiction without any kind of counseling or help is nearly impossible. Many homeless people do not have the luxury to get this kind of help. Most of them do not have proper support from family or friends to help them. The reasons why a person may have gotten into drugs is because it is a way for them to cope with their problems. Also, some homeless people may feel pressured into doing drugs so they can fit in because it is such a large part of the homeless community. It is also hard for them to overcome their addiction because it is not a priority. Homeless people mainly focus on surviving rather than self improvement. They have to focus on getting food, shelter, and money for the next day, they don’t have time to find counseling for their mental health and addictions. Even if they manage to overcome their addiction, they may relapse and go back to where they started.
There are other factors as to why a person may be homeless. The stigma from being homeless is reason, itself, why people continue to stay homeless. Some employers are not able to see past a person having been or being homeless. When people first think of being homeless they think of drug addicts and the mentally ill. Despite their being a large number of people who do fit in this stereotype, not all people who are homeless are like that. Poverty is the state of being extremely poor. To live in poverty means that people may not be able to afford food, housing, or other luxuries. According to the US census Bureau, in 2017, about 39.7 million people were living in poverty. Children who grow up in poverty do not have the same opportunities as children who do not. Those who grow up in poverty do not get proper education and often grow up in bad homes. Without proper support from their family children whom grow up in poverty are not able to move up in life. Abuse against women, children, teens, and member of the LGBTQ community is another reason as to why a person might be homeless. They might have runaway to escape the abuse or they might have even been know kicked out of their own home.
In conclusion, the major reasons for homelessness are the lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, mental illness, and substance abuse homelessness remains a problem in the present day. Because of how hard it is to escape poverty many people do not get the help they need to prevent themselves from being homeless. The rising house costs are making it nearly impossible for people to afford homes. Depending on the disability, having a physical disability may cause a person to be unable to get a job. This may be because of the stigma against their physical disability or because it prevents them from physically being able to do the job. Having a mental disability can also prevent people from getting jobs. It can also prevent them from being able to take care of themselves, and without being able to afford proper treatment, they can’t get better. Substance abuse also is a problem abuse of the addiction. The addiction can drive the user to extreme lengths to get their fix of drugs. Solving homelessness is not an easy thing to do and to completely solve is quite unlikely. There will probably always be homeless people in the world, but that does not mean we cannot help prevent more people from becoming homeless. There are ways that homelessness can be reduced. Good education for children, more affordable housing, public and assistance can help prevent more people from being homeless