Discussion on Homeless America
Homelessness refers to living in a place that is not favorable forhuman inhabitation. Homelessness is a common trend in our communityfor the past few years. The number of homeless people has beenrecorded to increase in various regions. The number is high, and therate of reducing this number is low. Several contributing factorscontribute to homelessness. The paper will discuss causes of theincrease of homelessness in America.
Initially, people who were prevalently homelessness were disabled,veterans and single parented families. However, the trend is changingwith young adults and prisoners are also facing the risk ofhomelessness. People who are referred as chronically homeless arethose who are disabled and have lived homeless for three yearscontinuously. Another group of homeless people is referred asdoubled-up mean who are those people living with their families,friends or nonrelatives due to financial crisis.
Causes of Homelessness
Between the year 2008 and 2009, there was 32% increase in theforeclosure that resulted in a loss of six million jobs. It was alsoreported that 40% who lost their jobs due to foreclosure were renterswhile there were more than seven million living in low income. Hence,there is a direct relationship between foreclosure and homelessness.
Poverty is the major cause of homelessness in America. Poorindividuals cannot pay for food, housing, childcare, and education.Hence, they are forced to make difficult choices of living withoutthe basic amenities. It is clear that housing rent takes the highestportion of income. Reports indicated that in the year 2007, therewere 37, 300,000 million people living in poverty. Children arehighly affected by the level of poverty, where they make 36% of thepoor people (Austen,Tyrone, and Bernie, 19). Two factors can be used toexplain the high level of poverty in America, eroding work chancesand lack of public assistance.
Eroding Job opportunities
Most people in America engage in insecure jobs that offer fewbenefits. In addition, most workers are in jobs that are offering lowwages, which has increased the disparity between the wealthy and thepoor. Some of the factors that result in low wages are weakbargaining power of unionized workers, loss of value to minimum wage,minimal jobs in manufacturing industries, and increased low qualitywork. However, the Congress has proposed an increment to the minimumwage, which was passed in 2011. The low wages have incapacitatedpeople from been in a position to secure standard houses.
Decline in Public Assistance
There is reduced availability of public assistance. Years ago, peopleused to help the needy families. Several organizations were formedthat worked towards helping the needy families. They helped thefamily reach above 50% of the poverty line. Such organization isTemporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). In addition, povertyis linked to families that are headed by females (Vissing,221). Females are usually in capacity to take everykind of job. They are limited to gender difference. Some jobs areconsidered more of males while other requires working for an extendedperiod. It limits females, as they cannot meet these conditions. As aresult, most of the meager income they get is directed to buying foodand clothes at the expense of paying rent. Disabled people also facesimilar challenges of having few job opportunities. Despite theeffort of the government to provide Supplementary Security Income topeople with special needs and those without employments, it cannotmeet the high financial demand. In 2006, the rent for a standardhouse, rise with 113% that amount to $715. The amount was much abovewhat the government provided the supplementary income (Howard,71).
Close to 200,000 houses are damaged every year. Hence, rentingremains one of the biggest challenges to people with low income. Rentkeeps rising while the people’s wages are decreasing. The issues ofovercrowding and lack of standard houses have escalated the rate ofhomelessness. The government provides housing assistance. However,due to the high population, there is high demand for housingassistance than the supply. The limited housing assistance means onlythose with high-income get first priorities while the poor are keptin long waiting lists. The law permits individuals to be kept on thewaiting list for a period of 35 months (Austen,Tyrone, and Bernie, 19)
Poor Health Care
Both homelessness and healthcare are linked. People with poor healthcare means they do not have health insurance due to the low level ofincome and they are not capable of paying rent. However, homelessnessexposes homeless people to attacking infections, yet they cannotsource funds for proper treatment. In addition, people with healthissues face the challenge of choosing between paying rent and payinghospital bills. Since health has a higher priority than rent, theysettle their hospital bills at the expense of paying rent resultingto homelessness. Lack of housing as indicated earlier lead toindividuals facing poor personal hygiene, poor nutrition and poortreatment adding to complex needs of these people (Fazel,Seena, John, and Margot, 1531). Acute conditions liketuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are hard to treat among homeless people.Similarly, these people are prone to infectious diseases like theskin infection, cancer, kidney infections and heart diseases. Thosepeople spending all their time on the streets also face the challengeof suffering from hypothermia, frostbite and immersion foot mostlyduring winter.
The homeless people lack adequate knowledge on where to get treated,poor transport and lack of identification. They also facepsychological trauma where they are nervous, feel embarrassed, havelow self-esteem and are afraid of answering questions. As a result,most of the homeless people utilize emergency health care(Mackelpranget al., 291). The health care lacks continuity, and itis usually expensive. Therefore, lack of social amenities amonghomeless people lead to a reduction in lifespan, and they succumb toimmature deaths (Baggettet al., 191).
Women who are regularly battered are made to choose betweenmaintaining the relationship or homelessness. Domestic violence hasbeen identified as a big cause of homelessness. A study carried inthe United States showed that 63% of homeless women have a history ofdomestic violence (Dehavenon,45).
A majority of homeless people are reported to have some form ofmental illness. The mentally challenged people cannot afford to workfor salaries and lack knowledge of their basic amenities. Most ofthem are hostile and cannot be tamed to stay indoors. Hence, a bignumber of these groups of people end up suffering from homelessness.However, mental diseases cannot be argued as the main cause ofhomelessness. In 1950-1960, several patients who were released frommental hospitals but there was negligible change in the number ofhomelessness. Most of the people with mental challenges are wellcared by the community. The community provides housing options topeople with mental challenges. Besides, a group of mentallychallenged people cannot access supportive housing or better healthcare (Meadows-Oliver,45). It is essential that these people are providedwith efficient housing, health care, and right management.
It has been observed that most homeless people are addicted to drugabuse. Poor people who are addicted to drug abuse are at risk ofhomelessness. They spend the little money they get on drugs otherthan settling their rents. In addition, drug addicts run away fromfamily responsibilities, so they vacate from their houses. Inaddition, drug addicts end up being desperate, and they lack soundreasoning of what is right or wrong. Once in the streets, drugabusers lack better health care like addictive disorder treatmentservices. Hence, most of them end up dying at an early age.
There is a relatively high level of racial discrimination. TheAfrican Americans are discriminated against their color. As a result,they lack well-paying jobs and have poor access to educationfacilities. Due to insufficient knowledge, they are forced to work inplaces where they are paid low wages. The low wages cannot sustainthe demand for paying rents and provide other basic requirements. Inaddition, they have poor access to health facilities. A large numberof homeless people have been reported to be African American.
The government has developed companies that play the role of takingcare of the homelessness. One of this organization is Health Care forthe Homelessness (HCH), which provide health care to homelessindividuals. They are also assigned to the role of offering emergencycare, substance abuse services, and providing assistance toqualifying for housing. In addition, they offer dental care servicesand mental illness treatment. However, the organization is facing thechallenge of the high demand for these services. In addition, thereare no affordable houses to secure for people with low income. Sickpeople cannot be helped without ensuring they have proper housing,otherwise, they will worsen.
Some areas experience poor means of transport. Hence, it is achallenge for their inhabitants to travel to their areas of residenceespecially among the alcoholics and drug abusers. Other means oftransport are expensive to be afforded by people living under lowwages. Hence, those who are unable to travel to their places ofresidence end up being homeless.
In conclusion, homelessness is a problem facing a large number ofpeople in America and other parts of the world. Some of the commoncauses of homelessness are poverty, foreclosure, drug addiction andfamily disputes. The government should work in hand with localgovernments to improve the welfare of the homeless. They shoulddevelop policies that will enable to secure affordable health care,affordable houses and offer financial support to people with extremeneeds.
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